After six weeks of internal struggle, 2nd opinions, and consultations – this is the plan:
On December 11th my left breast will be removed in a single-breast mastectomy. I am not opting for a breast implant – instead I will be flat on one side.
So far we’ve met my breast surgeon and medical oncologist. We met with others who had a VERY different approach to treatment. I like the two doctors we have chosen a lot.
The surgeon, VLT, is grounded, decisive, and calm. She understands my surgical goals: a flat chest with a smooth, pretty scar. I have read reports of surgeons paternalistically questioning people’s decision to go flat and leaving them with flaps of skin for later breast implants “in case they change their minds”. I do not fear this with VLT – I trust her and I feel we’re on the same page.
The medical oncologist, NM, wanted to talk about nutrition, sleep, and exercise right out the gate, and strongly discouraged me from doing fertility preservation or hormone blockers (which put you through early menopause) until we determine it’s necessary, and not before. She describes her approach as “de-escalating” which is a philosophy of not over-treating patients, but relying on data to use only the treatments that are proven to be necessary and effective, since the treatment side effects can have such a terrible impact on quality of life. Music to my ears. NM is caring, thorough, bossy, quick-minded, and really listens.
Getting a 2nd opinion confirmed my trust in these two women.