Posted in: Breast Cancer Blog , Wednesday September 27, 2023

Although having a bilateral mastectomy, hysterectomy, and breast reconstruction were medical necessities, the impact was so much greater. This forever changed my life, my self-image, and my perspective on life. The physical transformation was obvious. The constant reminders every time I looked in a mirror was undeniable, but through this physical transformation I discovered resilience I never knew I had. I feel like I have been on a rollercoaster with mixed emotions, but I know I am one of the lucky ones. I got a chance to be proactive and accept and embrace this new version of myself. I chose to be the best “ME” I could. Taking walks, eating healthier, and now exercising with my husband allowed me to reshape MY BODY the way I wanted to. My mastectomy kind of “kick-started” my mindset. I didn’t realize how strong I was until now.

Changing my lifestyle wasn’t the easiest thing to do. My husband, my children, my family, and my best friends were the pillars of my emotional and physical support system. They encouraged me and supported me every step of the way. Whether they were lending a sympathetic ear (which was a lot) or just letting me lean on them when I needed it most is something I will always take with me. Believe it or not, I feel like this journey strengthened our relationships and allowed me to grow as a person. I know that my health and well-being is my responsibility, but I didn’t have to do it alone. My family and friends made ALL the difference. With that said, I could never leave out the importance of my doctors and the medical professionals that have been there every step of the way. I will always be forever grateful for Dr. Green being as adamant as she was and for Dr, Deitch, Dr. Veeramachaneni, and Kristy Summus, P.A. for all they have done.

Being a teacher of 9th grade children, I hear so many stories of the pressures that they go through about being accepted and being a part of a friend group that accepts them for who they are. We live in a world where virtual validation holds more weight than real life connections. Many people, both young and old, define themselves based on the number of likes, comments, and shares that their posts receive. Going through my life- altering journey over the last couple of years, I know that my life IS MEASURED by the moments I have shared, and will continue to share, with my family and my best friends.

Riding on this rollercoaster has taught me that strength and beauty CAN coexist in my scars and that sharing my story will hopefully uplift the spirits of others. Take charge of your life, take charge of your health, and cherish the ones that cherish you. Being proactive AND loving yourself is the best advice I can give anyone.

About Amy:

I am a 51-year-old mother of 2 boys (22 and 18). I have been married for 29 years (this year) to a wonderful man. I am a high school Biology teacher at a Long Island school. However, this is my 2nd career. For over 16 years I worked in the medical field as an andrologist for a reproductive endocrinology practice. In 2020, Dr. Anne Green, a radiologist from St. Catherine of Siena, was concerned about a suspicious area seen on my mammography. I was rechecked 6 months later, and she HIGHLY encouraged me to see Dr. Jana Deitch for a consultation and genetic testing because of a family history of breast cancer. I thought this was ridiculous, but I went. In August of 2020, Dr. Deitch called me after the consultation and informed me I was BRCA 1 positive, and that a bilateral mastectomy was highly recommended. In September of 2020, Dr. Veeramachaneni performed the surgery. Since then, I have had my breast reconstruction and a total hysterectomy. I feel like one of the lucky ones. Not only because I was able to be proactive and get ahead of a diagnosis, but also because I had an amazing support group. My husband was more than just there, he was my crutch. My 3 girlfriends were my glue. Without my family, children, and friends, this would have been a lot harder. After feeling sorry for myself, I started putting “ME” first more than I used to. Exercising, eating healthier, and taking care of myself was a result of this life-changing event.