Story from W.L. Vic

     Some time ago now I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and underwent a radical mastectomy, followed by radiotherapy.  Although I did not have any problems coping with life after cancer, it was still a trying time.
     Life went on and I became a Cancer Connect Volunteer with the Anti Cancer Council (Vic) and lately with the same group in South Australia. Then I formed another Support Group, this one called CCAPS - Cancer Carers and Patient Support.
     Whilst researching some information on Breast Cancer Reconstruction for a patient, I came across a new type of surgery and "voila" I now had a GOAL. And nothing, and I mean nothing, was going to stop me from finding a surgeon in Australia who could perform this surgery.  I then had to convince him he could do this as I was 10 years over the recommended age for this type of surgery. Well, it is a long story, but I did find him and it did happen.  I had a TRAM FLAP RECONSTRUCTION in Adelaide and my life has changed forever.  I am doing things I would never have attempted while wearing a prosthesis (yoga, tai chi).  I feel normal again.  Life is wonderful.  A few weeks ago I had my 10th annual check up in Adelaide and came away with a clean sheet.

Following is a summary of my TRAM FLAP RECONSTRUCTION:

*  Counselling is required by the Surgeon prior to surgery.  It is not always successful.  I was well prepared and did not need this.  The surgery is major and extremely painful.

*  A piece of skin is taken from the tummy area and used to form a breast.  The fat or muscle is then tunnelled internally from the tummy area to the new breast (without leaving the body).

*  Stainless steel mesh is then inserted between the tummy muscles to eliminate future hernias.

* Operating time - 5 hours

* Intensive care - 3 days

* Hospital recovery time - 2 weeks

* No work - 3 months

* I left hospital after 8 days and returned to Mildura on the 11th day.

* Required strong painkillers but I did not take any.

* Used my Peaceful Place and Meditation I had learnt after attending your seminar.

* Also, breathing exercised learnt at Tai Chi, and sessions of Reiki (I have since done a course in this).

* I returned 3 months later and had a small piece removed from my other breast to form the areole and nipple.

* And finally, 2 months ago, I had this last area tattooed to match the other side.

My Doctor was delighted with the result and the way I was able to handle the whole procedure.  The job is now complete and I have never felt better!

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