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Breast Reconstruction Testimonial

My name is Isabel and I am a cancer survivor.   I live in Florida and I work as a clerical support for the Gastroenterology Group.

On December 1, 2010, at the age of 39, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.   My life was turned upside down.   After the diagnosis I had mixed feelings about having a bilateral mastectomy as I was aware this was a life saving surgery, but on the other hand this surgery would change my life and my appearance completely.   In the end, the fear of altering my appearance so drastically paled in comparison to the thought that a successful surgery means I get to live and continue to be with my family.   I thought “I just want to be cancer free” that was most important to me.   In January, 2011 I had a bilateral mastectomy and unfortunately at the time I did not have health insurance that would cover the cost of reconstruction.   I went to see many plastic surgeons but all of them charged a large amount for the procedure which I   couldn’t afford and I thought there would be no way that I would ever be able to have reconstruction.

 

My friend Barbara who is a Practice Representative where I work has been a breast cancer survivor for 12 years.  Barbara has been very supportive and helped me so much throughout this ordeal.   Together we searched the internet for information on a foundation that would help me with the cost of my surgery.

 

One day Barbara visited the Regional Cancer Center in Lee County, where Dara, the Patient Navigator told her about the services at the United Breast Cancer Foundation.   She gave her the Breast Reconstruction Application form and I filled it out with my sister’s help.   My sister lives in Australia, and has been very supportive of me, she loves me so much that she came out for 3 weeks to take care of me after my mastectomy and helped me look after my household and especially my son Andres who is only 9 years old.

 

After waiting patiently I received a call from Jennifer Spina at United Breast Cancer Foundation who advised me that I was approved to receive a grant that will help me with my reconstruction.   I had successful surgery in July 2011 and have fully recovered.

 

I want to take a moment today to say thank you for the grant I have received.   My experience with the United Breast Cancer Foundation has been a blessing to me and my family.   While there have been hard times, it is wonderful to know that along the way there are kind and supportive organizations who work hard to ease the pain and restore the lives of those who are suffering.   It’s foundations like United Breast Cancer Foundation and people like Jennifer Spina that can change lives forever and make their future brighter.   I have so much living left to do, so many things to achieve and enjoy.   I look forward to see my son grow and to be with my loved ones for many more years to come.   Thank you United Breast cancer Foundation for all your support and assistance.