‘If I Were You…’

‘If I Were You…’
“If it were me, I’d just have them removed,” a friend told me. She was talking about my breasts. I had a cancerous lump in my right breast and was doing research on mastectomy versus lumpectomy. “It would bother me so much,” she went on. “Knowing that the cancer could come back. I really think you should have a mastectomy.” My friend is in healthcare, and she loves me. She wants what’s best for me, but she is one among many who simply don’t believe that anything other than a mastectomy is an acceptable solution in breast cancer treatment. Some well-meaning friends even implied that any other option is the coward’s way out. When I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, my oncologist told me that a mastectomy isn’t always the best choice. What many people don’t realize is that mastectomy is a serious procedure. We read about famous people who opt for it even when they don’t have cancer, and it dulls us to reality. Personally, I’m surprised that a doctor would amputate any perfectly healthy body part on the chance that one day it might become problematic. But what other people chose to do is their business. For me, I’m not going to volunteer for a complicated surgery if I don’t need it. In mastectomy, besides the obvious — that breasts have to be removed — skin and fat often have to be harvested from other parts of the body for healing and reconstruction. Of course, like many women, I indulged in the fantasy. My friends and I even joked about it. Harvesting fat from my thighs to build bigger breasts seems like a dream come true. If I had to go through cancer treatment, I thought, surely this was the silver lining. But the reality is that when I actually got diagnosed with cancer, I just wanted the fast
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