Following a lumpectomy last October, I had a prophylactic double mastectomy with immediate reconstructive surgery in March. One of my implants was encapsulated (more than half of it was underneath my arm), and I underwent three-and-a-half months of physical therapy at Innovative Physical Therapy in Watertown.
Im writing this for a couple of reasons. Its Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk is coming up on Oct. 26, highlighting public awareness. Having become a member of the BreastCancer.Org, which is an online support group, I have learned that a lot of women have issues after breast reconstruction as I did.
It seemed that many women accepted their new normal. I didnt.
I did research, and I was fortunate to have a nurse case manager provided by my insurance company, POMCO, who was my advocate following my surgery. With her help, I was prescribed muscle relaxers and physical therapy. Without a doubt, my physical therapist, Johnna Covey, changed my outcome. When I met her, I couldnt put my arm down at my side because of my encapsulated breast implant. Today, I am able to put my arm at my side and I feel almost the same as I did pre-surgery.
Since breast cancer awareness is so prevalent during this month, I was prompted to share my story so that other women who have had this surgery know options are available following reconstructive surgery when theyre experiencing difficulties. According to my physical therapist, I am only the third woman she has worked with post-mastectomy. I would like other post-mastectomy women to know there is more that can be done to alleviate some of the pain and discomfort they are experiencing. Please feel free to contact me at 315-771-0581.
Patricia A. Isham