I’m Still Standing
The blows of life can leave you shocked, hurt, and emotionally drained, but when that blow comes in the form of the diagnosis of breast cancer it can leave you with so much more. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and, surprisingly, 80% of cases of breast cancer are sporadic. With statistics like this, everyone – including you – will eventually be faced with the devastating reality of being personally impacted or knowing someone who has been impacted by breast cancer.
The fear associated with the diagnosis is enough to leave one paralyzed. No matter how strong, prepared, or informed one is about the disease, nothing can prepare anyone for those four devastating words, “You have breast cancer.”
Women have described feeling numb, angry, or in a daze after their diagnosis. It’s not uncommon for women to describe feeling like zombies as they go through their day-to-day routine or run frantically around from one specialist to another toting their new diagnosis. Understanding what the breast surgeon, oncologist, and reconstructive surgeon recommend become a big blur – all while trying to remind yourself to breathe.
Looking like a True Survivor
The thought of losing one or even both breasts is not an easy pill to swallow, not to mention the the loss of your hair, change in your taste buds (after chemo), or the constant new pain that is now your norm. And then there is the scar, as well as the constant reminder that this was not a dream. You really were diagnosed with breast cancer and are now one of the one in eight. The scar on your chest is proof that you have survived a disease while always fearing it may rear its ugly head again. The scar that screams, “I’m a survivor,” while whispering, “I’m still so very afraid.” The fear of having the diagnosis of breast cancer lingers after the mastectomy, after the chemo and radiation and even after the DIEP flap. But everyday, you get up, get dressed, and do your best to look like a true survivor, even though you are feeling as scared, as a little kid.
About Sybile Val, M.D.
Dr. Sybile Val is a fully trained plastic and reconstructive surgeon dedicated to providing her patients with compassionate care in a private, warm, and safe environment. She attended medical school at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Her clinical interests include liposculpting and body contouring, fat grafting, breast rejuvenation, breast reconstruction, and injectables.