Shawn’s Breast Cancer Journey

Shawn’s Breast Cancer Journey

My journey began at the age of 50 years old.

I have a history of breast cancer in my family. My mother and maternal aunt were both diagnosed at age 52 with Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) stage 1, so I began having mammograms and MRIs when I was 40 years old. My mother had surgery to remove the lymph nodes and opted to save her breasts. She went through 30 radiation treatments as advised by her doctor. Ten years later, my mother went for a routine mammogram, and it was discovered that the cancer was back in the same breast. This time, she decided to have a double mastectomy.

I will never forget the day I went for my routine mammogram. I always dreaded these appointments because I was usually in the office for an entire day, starting with the mammogram and then to ultrasound, radiology, and speaking with the doctor. I almost cancelled this appointment because we had just returned from vacation, and I had a lot to catch up on. But I went, and I am so thankful I did. I soon realized I was the last patient remaining in the office, and I got a really sick feeling. My doctor said there was a small spot detected on the mammogram in my left breast, and they scheduled me for a biopsy. After the biopsy, I had to wait four days for the results. I got the call that it was cancer. The good news was that it was DCIS and stage 0. Obviously, I was blown away by the diagnosis, and we met with the doctor the next day to discuss it further. After my mother’s journey, it didn’t take long for me to make the decision to have a double mastectomy. I had a double mastectomy with lymph node removal and a TRAM flap surgery on May 23, 2017. Unfortunately for me, my left breast (where the cancer was found) never took to the surgery as expected. For the next five years, I had 13 reconstructive surgeries to try and “fix” the breast. I contracted MRSA in 2022 and had to have my implant removed. I tried desperately to find another surgeon in Atlanta who would take my case and help me, but most did not do revisions.

In 2023, I decided that I was tired of wearing a prosthesis and looking deformed, so I started doing my own research for a doctor who specialized in reconstruction after mastectomy and NOT a plastic surgeon. I found The Center for Restorative Breast Surgery in New Orleans, LA, and started reading their website. The testimonials blew me away!! Almost every patient had been on a journey like mine, and once they found CRBS their lives were forever changed. In March 2023, my husband and I flew to New Orleans and met with Dr. Trahan. He spent over an hour with us, explaining what type of surgery he would do, what to expect, recovery, etc. But his compassion, understanding, empathy, and patience won us over. Dr. Trahan truly cares about his patients and empathizes with what a hard road we have been on.

I scheduled my surgery for September 2023 but had to reschedule due to some conflicts. On January 3, 2024, I had TDAP breast reconstruction. From the pre-op to surgery to post-op healing, I was treated with exceptional care. The only thing I wanted was to look symmetrical and “normal,” and Dr. Trahan made that happen! I have never been happier with my results, and now I finally feel like I am back to the woman I was before I had cancer. I have told all my friends and family what a wonderful place The Center for Restorative Breast Surgery is and how it changed my life forever!