Breast Cancer Survivor Deidra’s Journey with Cancer

Breast Cancer Survivor Deidra’s Journey with Cancer – Center for Restorative Breast Surgery


Deidra: If someone’s feeling bad and I get word of it, or they’re in the hospital, or a family member is, if there’s something about cancer that comes up, I send them a card of compassion of some sort or get well.

Just as chatty as I am, I write the same way. Every time you have to go back and get reexamined for whatever cancer it is, it brings everything back emotionally. You know, the fear, the surgery, the recovery. The fear of just not being around. I was the first one in my family to ever have any kind of cancer. So, it was a lot of, almost like, I don’t want to say it’s kind of like a southern thing, you don’t talk about it. So, you don’t talk about it doesn’t exist. And so, it just got buried. A lot of things get buried. And things come up, you know, kind of boil up later on in life.

Pierce wasn’t two yet. He was going to be two in nine days. And we were planning his birthday party. I’ll never forget it. Getting that phone call. It and being told you have, uh, malignant melanoma. I’d asked the doctor, what does that mean? And he said, “You have cancer, and you have to see a surgeon today.” Pierce was a senior in 07, and I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in October of that year. Emotionally, I buried it. I wanted it to be as normal as possible for him. So, I got up every day that I could and got dressed and got him off to school, and I got up and went to work as much as I could. I went through six big rounds of chemo.

So, I thought, okay, I’m good. I’m not going to have to endure anything else. God’s got me; I’m good. But Roy and I were sitting on the couch watching TV and got the phone call, and I hung up, and I look at him. I said babe, “I got breast cancer.” He goes, “What!?” This was three days before Christmas.

We were 12 weeks from my son’s wedding. This third time, this third type of cancer, I just wanted it gone. As fast as possible, because I had a wedding that I wanted to get to. I was putting on the good front of being positive and doing my best to hold up for everyone else. I had eventually hit a wall of anger, of just being that mad at the world. Of why me? Why did my family have to go through this?

Helped work through the anger, and after working through the anger, you realize the blessings. Pierce would come over to visit, and we would talk about the wedding reception and plans because, you know, when your daughter gets married, Dad walks her down the aisle, and Dad dances with her. Mom doesn’t get to do anything. But when your son gets married, that’s the only time that Mom really gets to shine. I told him the only condition I would dance to country-western is if he two-stepped. That I wasn’t going to just do a little, you know, hang on to your Mom, go around in a circle. How boring? He told me he didn’t know how to; I said, “Well, I can teach you.” So, he would come over, and we would two-step. Put some country-western music on, and we would two-step. And it was a lot of fun. From what I’m told, we dance pretty well around a larger part of the full.

Okay, you ready? Very good.

It’s amazing what the physicians are able to do. If someone were to see myself or another lady who’s never had a mastectomy, you would not know the difference. Now it’s made me whole again.

The Center for Restorative Breast Surgery takes a closer look into the life of former patient and breast cancer survivor, Deidra. When diagnosed with breast cancer, Deidra, 57, had already been treated for melanoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After everything she’d been through, Deidra immediately knew that she wanted to do everything possible to reduce the risk of the breast cancer returning. She decided to undergo a double mastectomy with DIEP flap reconstruction, nipple reconstruction, and 3D tattooing. In this video, Deidra talks about processing her feelings about cancer—and healing in time to dance at her son’s wedding. To learn more, contact the Breast Center located at 1717 Saint Charles Ave., New Orleans, LA 70130 by calling 504-899-2800.