Seeing Breast Cancer Issues Clearly

“My 1st breast cancer surgery was a lumpectomy. The 2nd surgery, 3 years later was a mastectomy.” This post is about my lack of understanding about what to do after the tram flap reconstruction operation failed, what you are not told and what you can do. Oh, a tram flap is when part of the abdominal muscle group (skin, tissue, fat) is moved onto the breast area. “TMI?” Now, along the way, there is a muscle cut, a ‘new’ belly button, and some other things happen. To make a longer story short, my breast mound did not grow and there were complications. Read More

Breast Cancer and A Sexy Body Image

Today’s blog is an example of how a change in your perception can affect your attitude. As we move toward talking more about my research on Body Image and Breast Cancer, let’s begin talking about my latest view of clothing.

A few years ago, I started this process of cleaning out my closet. Yep, emptying everything out of it and trying things on to see how the items looked on me, what needed mending, or what was too big (yeah, right). I only kept those items I loved to wear. That alone cut out half of my wardrobe and cut down on what I bought when I shopped.

Now, I do have a few sentimental pieces, like the dress one of my BFF’s mother made and gave me. Her mom made this dress over 20 years ago. I’m not sure I can even fit into it anymore. But, I just cannot part with it. I guess I could just take a picture of it. “Nah, that won’t work, in this case.” Or I could be kind and give it back to Derise, since she said that particular dress was to be hers. (Wow, the things we remember!)


Look Good, Feel Better
One of the first steps in healing and improving your body image is to feel like you look good in whatever you put on.  This confidence unconsciously improves your attitude. Have you ever tried on something you didn’t like or were unsure about?  Well, how did that work out for you?

My experiences with breast cancer, subsequent surgeries and research studies uncovered a number of things breast cancer patients were not told. This week’s New York Times Article highlighted one of those issues. Breast numbness often isn’t discussed with Breast Cancer patients. The article further disconcertedly revealed the phrase “it feels natural” was NOT from the perspective of the women who had the mastectomy. “Would you expect anyone to not talk about the patient’s perspective, when it came to knee or hip replacement?”  Breast cancer patients are often NOT advised or informed about a “new” belly button after a tramflap, keloid formation after the scars or PTSD symptoms, such as depression (highlighted here in a previous post).


In dealing with all of these and other possible occurrences, how do we move forward? Take a look at this week’s highlighted blogger and author. Barbara Musser elevates this conversation with her book, webinars and blog entitled Sexy After Cancer.

Please check it out her book – Sexy After Cancer – Meeting Your Inner Aphrodite on the Breast Cancer Journey. It couldn’t hurt.

Remember your perception is your reality. Let’s work this out to our advantage. What counts? It’s what you THINK that counts!


Dr. Harriette

P.S. I really wanted to have I’m Looking for a Miracle by The Clark Sisters playing in this blog. Check out their Youtube version by clicking the song.

What’s It All About, Alfie? This moment or more!

“What do you see when you look in the mirror?” A few days after surgery, most women answer, “Scars!” However, two years later, the responses are “A pretty lady,” “A woman who know what she wants.”

A Positive Body Image
How can you continue to maintain a positive body image after you’ve had a lumpectomy/mastectomy and/or reconstructive surgery?
The women in my research study talked about it beginning with persistence through: surgeries, medical interventions, depression, and neuropathy. This movement toward a positive body image after breast cancer includes cognitive and emotional aspects, as well, such as, how your family and friends treat you, your faith, and how you feel about yourself.
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