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    The (re)Issue

    Three years ago, at roughly this time of year, I was at Race Street Cafe, a gastropub in Philly’s Old City neighborhood. I was simultaneously riding the high of what had just begun and stressing the next few months and what the future would hold.

     

    When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was immediately faced with some serious decisions to make. Decisions about my body, how to deal with removing the cancer and what type of reconstruction were incredibly difficult. These decisions would literally affect how I look and feel for the remainder of my life.

    While undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, I gave little to no thought about reconstruction. Being subjected to more surgeries and spending more time in doctor’s offices held little appeal and I had grown accustomed to my mastectomy scar.

    Communicating your needs as a cancer patient with your friends and family can be a daunting task. Sometimes we really need help and sometimes all we need is a sounding board. As a caregiver, I’ve worked with a great deal of cancer patients over the years. When facing challenges, good communication is as important as ever. Here I’ve compiled seven tips that I’ve seen have really helped.

    Does anyone want to talk about foobs?

    Sure, everyone wants to talk a lot about boobs. When am I going to get them? How big are they going to be? Some want bigger, some smaller, some have Instagram accounts full of selfies in body-con dresses with puckered lips and padded bras because hers are just right.

    "Every year approximately 1/3 of the women diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States have implant or FLAP reconstruction surgery. Reconstruction surgery is on the rise, as is prophylactic mastectomy surgery with reconstruction, however until 2014, there was not a single company devoted to creating lingerie that fit the specific needs of women with breast reconstruction. AnaOno, my company, was the first." - Dana Donofree
    On this Mother’s Day we honor Megan Do Nascimento and her mother Mary Small Gershman, both young breast cancer survivors. Surprisingly with four women in her family having breast cancer, Megan's illness was not genetic. In her own words, Megan talks about their journeys and answers a few questions about what her experience was like and how her mother helped her through the disease she’d had herself nearly 35 years before her daughter.
    Whenever you hear, “You have breast cancer,” it’s a huge shock! The first time I heard those words, in 1995, I was 41 years old, married for eleven years and raising a young son. I saw my life pass before my eyes and thought I was going to die.
    You know that girl, that woman, the one who radiates love and joy, filling the room immediately as she enters it? She’s the one we all want to know and win over to be in her circle of friends, if just for a moment.

    Because of you. 

    As 2015 comes to a close, I wanted to thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart. What an amazing year it has been, not only for myself, personally, but for AnaOno and our entire community! 

    In September of 2014 (soon after my 40th birthday), I felt a small lump in my breast. I made the proper calls and arrangements for testing, but kept convincing myself it was “just a cyst.” 

     

    You could say I was predestined to be warrior. After all, my name, Marcy, means “war-like.”

    However, my journey through breast cancer was not necessarily one of survival, but rather one of reconnecting with myself.