I have Time Bombs on my Chest!!!

After I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in October 2015, the first doctor I saw was a surgeon.  I told him I was interested in having a double mastectomy.  He told me it was “not medically necessary.”  He gave me the impression that a mastectomy would not be covered by insurance.  He recommended that I have a lumpectomy.  I relied on his expertise and agreed to the less invasive surgery.  Chemotherapy and radiation treatment followed.  

As I journeyed through the treatment process, I became a much stronger person and a better advocate for myself.  While talking with a friend and fellow Breast Cancer survivor at a class reunion last August, she told me that every woman diagnosed with Breast Cancer has the right to receive a prophylactic mastectomy.  I was shocked.  I now feel that I was intentionally mislead by my surgeon.  I believe that he purposefully ignored my stated desire and directed me to the surgery HE felt I should have.  He never mentioned or suggested that I could have a double mastectomy, but made me believe that a lumpectomy was my only surgical option.  

As a result of the lumpectomy, I also had radiation treatment in June 2016.  I found radiation even more difficult than chemotherapy.  I suffered severe fatigue which resulted in an emotional breakdown in August 2016, causing me to leave my job.  In addition, I found the changes to the breast tissue as a result of radiation very disturbing.  The affected breast is shrunken and sits higher on my chest than the non-affected breast.  The tissue is so compressed and hard, it physically hurts when people hug me.

I cannot describe how angry and betrayed I feel that I could have avoided radiation altogether had my surgeon properly informed me that mastectomy was an option for me.  I am also very disappointed in myself that I did not seek a second opinion or do more research.

In addition, my family has a strong history of Breast Cancer.  My mother and her mother both died of Breast Cancer.  My only sister was also treated for Breast Cancer in 2012.  I want to have a double mastectomy because I fear a recurrance.  At this point in my life, these breasts are just time bombs sitting on my chest. They may never go off, but, I want to remove the risk, nonetheless. 

As a result, I have consulted with another surgeon (a woman this time), and am scheduled to have a double mastectomy on September 7, 2017.  I have delayed this surgery for several months, hoping to save enough money to cover my household expenses during the anticipated 8 week recovery period.   However, I have been unable to save enough.  In fact, I have no short term or retirement savings.  I live hand-to-mouth.  

I have considered putting off the surgery again in order to save enough money to cover 2 months of living expenses.  But, I am currently covered by Medicaid, and in the current political climate, I fear losing this insurance.  I doubt I could afford health insurance on the "open market" based on my age (55) and pre-existing conditions, which include, chronic depression and hypothyroidism, in addition to cancer.

As a last ditch effort to obtain funds so I can go through with the scheduled surgery, I am asking for your assistance.  I would be incredibly grateful for any contribution you can make.  

Thank you for your support!
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Mary C. Tucker 
Spencer, NY

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