Pre-op Marathon

Oct 5, 2011 | On Being Positive

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Lynne Tapper

I am a lifelong endurance athlete with the dual goal of training and racing until my bones turn to dust and sharing that passion with as many people as possible.

Yesterday was a blur.

I went to NY for my pre-op meetings with both doctors (and squeezed in a tasty lunch at a Greek restuaruant we found in Tarrytown, NY). Everything went really well. We had lots of minutia to go over and many questions to get answered.  I was very prepared with my list of questions.  We were very comfortable with all the answers we received from both doctors and their staff.

One big (no pun intended) issue was the sizing of my new breasts.  I was very clear at our first meeting in January that I don’t want to be bigger.  I want to stay as close to my current size as possible.  After talking with Dr. Salzberg and his PA, Courtney, I feel comfortable that they have my best intersests and desires at heart.  Because they need to “fill the skin” the new breasts will be a bit different and possibly a bit bigger.  The implants are sized in cc (cubic centimeters) and it’s easy to get hung up on the implant size, but they were able to explain how the implant size is really secondary (in my case) to filling the void left by the removed breast tissue.  Once we stopped debating the number and understood that, I got the sense that it’s all going to be ok. I have to trust the professionals.  I do trust the professionals.

Speaking of professionals, I found out that there will be 2 breast surgeons (Dr. Andrew Ashikari and Dr. Roy Ashikari), 1 plastic surgeon (Dr. Andrew Salzberg) and 1 PA (Courtney Dunavant) in my operating room.  I very excited. Lots of talent and expertise working on me.

After we got home, we went to the UCONN Health Center to see a free screening of In the Family, a documentary by Joanna Rudnik, a BRCA positive filmmaker.  In the Family chronicles the stories of families undergoing genetic testing, the decisions they make as a result, and the impact those decisions have on their lives.  There was a short panel discussion following the film.

It was a fascinating film and very relevant to my life situation.  As I sat there, I found myself being so grateful that I was viewing this film at the age of 45; married with children.  While my decisions over the past eight years have not been easy, I do realize that it could have been a lot harder.

The event was sponsored by FORCE, Connecticut.  FORCE stands for Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered. FORCE is the only national nonprofit organization devoted to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Its mission includes support, education, advocacy, awareness, and research specific to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Their programs serve anyone with a BRCA mutation or a family history of cancer.

I found that with 4 weeks to go, right now I’m at peace.  I’m ready for this and dare I say, a little bit excited.

Finally at 11:30 p.m., my head hit the pillow and I drifted off to sleep.


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