Breast Cancer Survivor Peggy’s Reconstruction Revision Surgery
Peggy: Hi, sweetheart. What are you doing? Would you like Grandma to read? It’s called The Little Engine That Could. Chug, chug, chug, puff, puff, puff, ding-dong, ding-dong, the little train. We have two wonderful little grandchildren. I enjoy reading to both of those little guys. Being a grandparent is not overrated. It is the best thing in the world. Then she said, “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.” I feel empowered. I feel strong. I feel like I feel much better than I did. Gregg and I have known each other for a very long time. Grew up in Eastern Montana. When I was a sophomore in high school started working at his parent’s restaurant. So, we served ice cream, and you could work in the front or the back, and he always worked in the back. So, I always volunteered for that spot to work in the back too. So I could be close to him. In November of 2009, my life changed dramatically.
They closed the door, and they handed me tissue. November 13, 2009 I found out today I have breast cancer. I have many questions. I know the Lord performs miracles, and I knew miracle. I really want to know how bad this is, and I need to know what’s gonna happen. I worry about the kids and Greg. This is hard to see them worried. I feel strong, and I’m scared.
I have been referred to an oncologist. I will start chemo. I hate the thought of losing my hair. I would really like to keep working, and I hope that I can. Gregg is having a hard time with this; he hasn’t said much of anything. I am frightened. I just want some answers. I have been contacted by the oncologist. I have been a mess lately. I guess reality is setting in, and with the holidays just around the corner, I’m stressed. I talked about working, working, working. It has made Gregg upset with me; I just want to keep busy and not deal with the beast. Not right now, but I’m a strong woman.
When I took the bandages off and I saw my breast for the first time, it didn’t look like me. There were no nipples. There was no areola. It just was skin and scars. I wrote in my journal at one point, “Is this me? What has happened to me? Cancer has taken away my womanhood.”
Gregg would see me get out of the shower and put that towel on right away. The first time I let him see me, it’s like, okay, you can look for half a second. And he’s like, “No, let me just look at you. It’s all right; it’s all right. You’re alive; you’re here. And it’s all right the way you look to me is beautiful.” So. The implant, for me, it just never felt right. On the one side where I’d had the radiation, always had hurt. So, it’s something I thought I’ll just live with for the rest of my life.
Now this feels very natural. It looks natural to me. It feels natural. I’ve got my tissue. It was the best choice for me.
The Center for Restorative Breast Surgery gives a closer look into the life of breast cancer survivor Peggy, who is 62 and married to her high school sweetheart, Greg. They have a large family and grandchildren. In 2011, Peggy was diagnosed with breast cancer and started chemotherapy right away so doctors could shrink the large tumor before surgery. In a journal, she wrote about the shock and fear she was feeling. She underwent a double mastectomy with implant reconstruction but wasn’t happy with the outcome and struggled to accept her new body. Five years later, one of the implants ruptured. Knowing she would need to have the implants removed, she decided to undergo a total revision with DIEP flap reconstruction, nipple reconstruction, and tattooing. In this video, Peggy shares journal entries that reveal how her body confidence has improved from diagnosis through revision surgery. To learn more, contact the Breast Center located at 1717 Saint Charles Ave., New Orleans, LA 70130 by calling 504-899-2800.