Meet Tracy, one of the thousands of central Ohio women who has experienced firsthand the benefits of working with a team of experts at Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.
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In September 2008, Tracy, 46, of Columbus, had just turned a new page in her life, starting a new job at a local hospital. At the end of a great first week at work, life took Tracy on a different course when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and was referred to The James after finding a lump during a routine breast self-exam.
As she began treatment with a mastectomy in December 2008, Tracy’s family, especially her two teenage daughters, rallied fiercely behind her. In February 2009, her treatment continued with a chemotherapy clinical trial. Through trials like Tracy's, patients at The James have access to some of the most advanced cancer treatments available - many of which are offered nowhere else in the world.
Tracy recently completed her last round of chemotherapy and is considering reconstructive surgery.
I completed my last round of chemotherapy in April 09. Now I am on a 5 yr regime of hormone therapy. My tumor was hormone positive, meaning that hormones (namely estrogen) would make the type of cancer I had grow faster. As a preventative I am taking medicine to block hormone production.
I am also currently in the midst of the reconstruction process. My surgeon, Dr. Michael Miller said I was a good candidate for a DIEP flap. DIEP (deep inferior epigastric artery) flap is when the surgeon takes skin & tissue (fat, yea!) from the abdomen (even better) and uses it to create the new breast. The skin/tissue is connected with microvascular surgery and it is amazing!
I was blessed to have this procedure available to me. There are not many places where you can have this done. I chose this procedure because I didn’t want to have to anything foreign (implant) in my body, so this was the best option for me.
I had my initial reconstruction surgery in Dec 09. I have had a couple “revisions” (small outpatient surgeries/procedures) and will be scheduling my last one soon. Reconstruction is a process not a one-time event.
Everything has gone wonderfully! I was surprised by the results and felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. My doctor said that sometimes a woman will unconsciously carry a burden of being disfigured after their mastectomy. I am so glad I chose to have breast reconstruction.
I am thankful that The James has an awesome plastic surgery team. I love their mission statement “To restore and make whole” …how true.
I am also participating in several clinical trials, the most recent studying the benefits of Yoga and breast cancer treatment side-effects.
One thing I have learned through my cancer experience, Life is a journey…stop and smell the roses…enjoy every moment.
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