Meet Shana, a DLP team member who, in January of 2018, at 44 years old, was diagnosed with Triple Positive Stage 3 Invasive Ductal Breast Cancer that had spread to her lymph nodes.
After missing 4 years of routine mammograms, on Christmas Eve Shana performed a self-exam only to find a lump. Discovering she was a genetic carrier of the cancer gene, BRCA 2 positive, inevitably she underwent a double mastectomy removing 28 lymph nodes and a hysterectomy procedure. After multiple rounds of chemotherapy, which only slightly shrank the tumor, she was left with permanent side effects including hair loss, nausea, extreme fatigue, and more. During these operations Shana had plastic surgeons place tissue expanders to prepare for implants, thinking this option was the least invasive route. Twenty-five rounds of radiation later, the severe burns from treatments made implants no longer an option. Her last option for reconstruction was a flap procedure, (the removal of skin and tissue from the abdomen to create mounds that would now serve as breasts); so doctors left the tissue expanders in place. This is an invasive surgery with a high risk of infection and a 3-month recovery.
On October 4, 2018, Shana was officially declared cancer free, and the next step in her journey was a hysterectomy with an 8-week recovery. She developed an infection called Sepsis and was unable to have the flap reconstruction due to the radiated side developing stage 4 capsular contracture. Many side effects accompanied this including, chronic fatigue, severe joint pain, pain in her chest due to the expanders, and more. She developed BII (Breast Implant Illness), and while she did not technically have breast implants, the tissue expanders were made of the same exact material and her body was rejecting them. Due to the rejection, Shana opted for no reconstruction, went “flat,” and had her tissue expanders removed in July of 2019. Her “flat closure” was anything but flat, so in September of 2020 two breast surgeons took her case and she had revision surgery.
Shana now serves on the board of directors for her non-profit, Not Putting on a Shirt, providing women with awareness and information about going flat after a mastectomy, while demanding accountability from medical professionals.
This is CANCER! It’s not pink and it’s not pretty (don’t get me wrong, I am ok with pink because it spreads awareness). Tell your mother, wife, cousin, sister, etc. to get their mammogram PLEASE. IF YOU ARE 40 you should go every year. If cancer runs in your family, ask your doctor for an early mammogram. If you are considering implants, research BII, Breast Implant Illness. There is so much information available to us all and in a lot of cases it is not provided by the doctors.Shana
To learn more about Not Putting on a Shirt, please visit https://notputtingonashirt.org