Seeing Friends and Family for the First Time Since Surgery

breast surgery visitorsThere is nothing like a support system to help you get through cancer diagnosis and
treatment. After you have surgery, your family members and friends will probably want
to stop by and visit. They may also want to cook for you, clean your home or just keep
you company as you recuperate.
While seeing friends and family can be a positive part of your recuperation, it can also
be overwhelming. You might not feel up to having company or you might feel self-
conscious about how you look. Here are some tips on how you should handle seeing
friends and family for the first time since surgery:
1. Talk About it Ahead of Time
If friends and family know when you are having surgery and want updates, use that time
to tell them what you expect about having visitors. For example, you—or the person
updating everyone for you—can say, “Mary is out of surgery and recuperating. If you’d
like to stop by and visit, please text or call us ahead of time so Mary can pick a time
when she’ll be up to enjoying your visit.”
2. Limit Time
Once you know when someone is going to stop by, it’s okay to limit how long they
spend with you. Visits can be fun, but they can be tiring. Let your friend or family
member know how much time you have to spend with them before you have to lay
down, change a dressing, etc. This is especially important for those who just drop by
without calling ahead of time. Feel free to say something like, “Thanks so much for
stopping by to see me. We can chat for a bit and then I’m going to lay down for a nap.”
3. Keep the Sick Away
You just had surgery and should be doing what you can to avoid getting sick. Let your
guests know that if they are germy or feeling under the weather in any capacity, they
should change their visit to another time. If they show up sick, it’s okay to tell them
you’re not feeling up to their visit and plan it for another time. For example, you can say,
“I’m excited to see you now that surgery is over, but it sounds like you’re getting a cold.
Can we reschedule your visit until you’re feeling better so I don’t catch it?”
4. Say No When You Need To
It’s okay to say no if you’re not up to having visitors on any particular day or only want
certain family members or friends to visit. This is your surgery recuperation and,
honestly, you have the right to handle it however you want. Simply say, “Thank you so
much for caring enough to visit, but I’m really not feeling up to guests right now. Can we
get together at another time?”
5. Don’t Let Feeling Self-conscious Get in the Way of Enjoying Visitors
Some women are self-conscious about having visitors, especially after surgery. While it
is normal to feel this way for a little while, think about who is visiting you and whether
they are worried more about how you look or how you feel. In most cases, your friend or
relative is there to see you and do what they can to help. They probably don’t care
about how you look, so it’s best to remind yourself why they are really there.
To learn more about natural breast reconstruction and find out if it might be the right
choice for you, contact The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction at
NaturalBreastReconstruction.com or toll-free at 866-374-2627.

Opening up the Conversation on Family Cancer History

natural breast reconstructionAt the doctor’s office, you are given pages upon pages of paperwork to fill out about
insurance information, medications and past illnesses and surgeries. When you get to
the family history page it can be a bit overwhelming or you might even draw a complete
blank. Did your Aunt Mabel have breast cancer? You vaguely remember your father
telling you something about your second cousin’s diagnosis, but you can’t remember,
and now some family members aren’t talking, so the facts are elusive.
It’s important to open up the conversation on family medical history with your family
regardless of how difficult it may be. Why? Whether Aunt Mabel or your second cousin
had breast cancer is important to determining your own risk and your children’s risks.
With this information, you can make decisions about your own health, breast cancer
prevention and potential treatment, if you are diagnosed.

Unfortunately, starting a conversation with family about medical history, and especially
one about cancer, can often be difficult. While some family members may open up,
others may consider this private information, or they might get upset talking about
cancer. Others might not even know their own history.
So how do you find out what you need to know?
1. Make a List
Your medical history should include information from at least three generations of family
members — grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts, siblings, cousins, children, nieces,
nephews and grandchildren. Make a list of who you need to approach.
2. Explain What You’re Doing
Contact each family member – whether in writing, by email or by phone – and explain
that you are trying to obtain family medical history. If they are still reluctant to talk about
everything, try to ask specific questions about breast cancer. Some information is better
than none.
3. Ask Pertinent Questions
You should have a list of questions that you need answered. A complete family medical
history includes the age of the relative and any diagnosis or, if you are asking about a
deceased relative, the age and cause of death.
4. Keep it Confidential
Assure your relatives that the information you are compiling will be kept confidential —
and then keep it confidential.
5. Use Additional Resources
If your relatives are deceased or difficult to talk to, there may be other resources you
can use, such as public records – marriage licenses or death certificates.

Once you have all the information compiled, make sure you give a copy to your doctors
and update it regularly. They are bound by law to keep the information confidential.
To learn more about natural breast reconstruction and find out if it might be the right
choice for you, contact The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction at
NaturalBreastReconstruction.com or toll-free at 866-374-2627.

I Tested BRCA Positive, Now What? 7 Things You Should Know

brca positive

If you have a family history of breast cancer and want to know if you’re at risk of getting it, too, a genetic test might provide the answers. A simple BRCA blood test can determine if there are changes in your genes, known as BRCA1 and BRCA2, which show you are at a higher risk of getting breast cancer. But what happens if your test results come back positive?

  1. A Positive Test Does Not Mean You Have Cancer: First, understand that a positive BRCA test result does not mean you already have breast cancer. Not everyone who is “BRCA positive” will get breast cancer down the road. There are many other factors that determine your ultimate breast cancer risk, including alcohol consumption, body weight, breast density, physical activity levels, age, and reproductive history, and this test result is just one. It is normal to worry about any positive test result, so the best thing to do is to inform yourself about what a positive BRCA test result means and what the next steps are if you test positive.
  2. A Positive Test Indicates You May Be at Risk: Statistics show a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation diagnosis means you have a 45 to 65 percent chance of getting with breast cancer by the time you turn 70. Remember, this doesn’t mean you will get cancer. It means you have a higher chance than someone else.
  3. A Positive Test May Alter Your Treatment: If you already have breast cancer, knowing you have a BRCA mutation may change your course of treatment as many breast cancers in women that are BRCA positive result in more aggressive tumors. Armed with this information, you should talk to your doctor about your current cancer treatment plan and determine what, if any, changes, should be made.
  4. You May Need Further Screening: If you have not been diagnosed, a BRCA positive test result should prompt you to create a screening plan with your doctor. You will probably have more breast screenings including mammograms, ultrasounds, and MRIs, starting at a younger age.
  5. Better Overall Health Improves Your Odds: Whether your test was positive or negative, taking steps to improve your health will reduce your risk of cancer. Eating right, not smoking, and avoiding the sun and other things that cause cancer help to improve your odds.
  6. You May Opt for Preventative Surgery: Depending on the genetic test results, your own health history and your current health, some women who are BRCA positive have undergone a preventative double mastectomy, which is the surgical removal of both breasts. It’s important to note that this reduces, but does not eliminate, your risk of developing breast cancer.
  7. You Need to Alert Your Family: Getting a positive BRCA test result naturally leads to concern about the breast cancer risk for children and other family members. Notify them of your positive results and talk to the genetic counselor about getting other family members tested.

To learn more about natural breast reconstruction and find out if it might be the right choice for you, contact The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction at NaturalBreastReconstruction.com or toll-free at 866-374-2627.

The Many Choices in Breast Reconstruction Surgery

natural breast reconstruction

One aspect of a breast cancer diagnosis that requires careful consideration is choosing your reconstruction plan. Decisions about breast reconstruction can be emotional and confusing. Fortunately, you have several options from which to choose, but it’s important to know all the facts about each before you make a final decision that’s right for your body and your desired outcome.

If you choose to undergo breast reconstruction, you have the option to either have your breasts made from implants – saline or silicone – or from natural tissue flaps, which means they are made using your own skin, fat and muscle. There are pros and cons to each of these procedures.

Tissue Flap Reconstruction

Most women want to match the look and feel of their natural breasts, and there is a greater chance of successfully creating natural looking breasts by using tissue flap reconstruction. Using flaps to reconstruct your breasts will actually make them look and feel more natural compared to using silicone or saline implants. This is especially important as you age and your natural breast changes shape.

There are several types of flap procedures:

DIEP Flap: The most commonly used, DIEP flap procedure provides breast reconstruction and a tummy tuck all in one. That’s because this procedure uses your abdominal skin and tissue, but not your abdominal muscles.

PAP Flap: This flap procedure utilizes the tissues of your upper thigh to reconstruct the breast following your mastectomy.

GAP Flap: The tissue is taken from your buttock area, while the skin, fat and tiny blood vessels are removed through an incision that is hidden under your panty line.

SIEA Flap: This flap procedure is an option for the minority of women whose abdominal blood supply comes from the Superficial Inferior Epigastric Artery, which runs just below the surface of the skin.

Keep in mind that flap reconstructive surgery is a longer, more invasive procedure than having breast implant surgery. The good news is that flap reconstruction surgery hides the scars well from where your donor tissue was taken. It is also a procedure that does not need to be repeated in your lifetime, whereas silicone or saline implants may need to be replaced down the road.

Implant Reconstruction

When it comes to implant reconstructive surgery, you can choose to have the surgery at the same time as your mastectomy or at a later time. You can also choose saline or silicone implants. Saline are filled with a salt water solution. Saline implants start out deflated and are filled during surgery to the desired size. Silicone implants are pre-filled with a silicone gel.

Implant reconstructive surgery is less invasive than any of the flap surgical procedures, however they don’t provide as natural of a look as tissue flap reconstruction options.

There are other factors to consider when choosing a reconstruction option, including your current health status and whether or not you still need additional cancer treatment, such as radiation. Radiation can cause additional problems such as scarring that can cause delays in your surgery.

Discuss all of these options and their pros and cons with your surgeon to decide what’s right for you.

To learn more about natural breast reconstruction and find out if it might be the right choice for you, contact The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction at NaturalBreastReconstruction.com or toll-free at 866-374-2627.

The Pros and Cons of Primary Reconstruction Following Mastectomy

When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, she faces many decisions about her health and her treatment. If treatment includes a mastectomy – the surgical removal of one or both breasts to either treat breast cancer or reduce her risk of getting it – one of those decisions will be whether to follow it up with reconstructive surgery.

Reconstructive surgery is rebuilding the shape and the look of the breast. This can be done at the same time as the mastectomy, or at a later time. Whether or not to have reconstruction immediately following mastectomy (also known as primary reconstruction), is a big decision that depends on a variety of factors:

  1. Body Image

Many breast cancer patients choose reconstruction for both cosmetic and personal reasons. Reconstruction can make the chest look more balanced and enable women to feel more comfortable and confident in their clothing. Some women feel more confident looking at breasts they can call their own rather than the lack of a breast due to a mastectomy without reconstruction. Some women also feel that having breasts that look and feel like their own enhances their sexual relationship with their partner. After going through diagnosis, treatment, and mastectomy, breast reconstruction can help improve a woman’s confidence and help her feel like her normal self again.

With primary reconstruction, an additional procedure to correct any defects or improve symmetry is often necessary. Remember to communicate with your surgeon, and if your breasts don’t look and feel exactly the way you envisioned, your surgeon will be happy to work with you to help you achieve the results you desire and deserve.

  1. Avoiding Additional Surgery

Natural breast reconstruction uses tissue harvested from other parts of the body, such as the stomach, thighs or buttocks, and uses it to reconstruct the breasts (also known as autologous or flap reconstruction). Having primary reconstruction, breast reconstruction done at the same time as the mastectomy, eliminates the patient’s need for an additional major surgery and allows a woman to come out of surgery with a breast present.

However, after undergoing a mastectomy, many women opt out of reconstruction – either delayed or immediate – because they do not desire to undergo another operation or simply do not want implants. Women should know that choosing to not undergo reconstruction is always an option as well.

Reconstructive surgery that is done using the patient’s own tissue – such as the DIEP (deep inferior epigastric perforator) flap and the GAP (gluteal artery perforator) flap – typically involves a longer recovery than with implant reconstruction, and scars on both the breasts and donor site are to be expected. Be sure to consider your schedule for the two months or so following your reconstruction, as recovery following DIEP/GAP procedures is typically 6-8 weeks. If your schedule requires that you are able to resume normal activities quickly, take this into consideration before proceeding with mastectomy with primary reconstruction using the DIEP/GAP flap. 

  1. Eligibility

In addition, not all mastectomy patients are eligible for reconstructive surgery due to age, prognosis, medical history, etc.

To make the best decision for you about mastectomy and reconstruction, be sure to create a personalized plan with your doctor to ensure that the outcome you desire aligns with the best choices for your overall health. It’s also a good idea to speak with other patients who have undergone the same surgery to better understand the experience from another’s perspective.

Remember – your doctor may recommend that you do both procedures immediately (primary reconstruction), wait until later for reconstruction (secondary reconstruction), or do part of it at the time of the mastectomy and part of it after you complete chemotherapy/radiation. Do your research, weigh all your options, and then make the right decision for you.

To learn more about natural breast reconstruction and find out if it might be the right choice for you, contact The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction at NaturalBreastReconstruction.com or toll-free at 866-374-2627.

New Technology Can Help Restore Sensation After Mastectomy

According to the most recent statistics from American Cancer Society, 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime. For many of these women, a mastectomy – which is the removal of most or all of the breast tissue – will be one of their primary, life-saving methods of treatment. A mastectomy, however, comes with various side effects, including loss of sensation to the breasts.

Tingling, numbness and loss of sensation to the breast area, and under the arm from the removal of lymph nodes, is one of the most unwanted side effects. This happens because the procedure severs nerves that provide sensation to the breasts, and the numbness often remains even after breast reconstruction is complete.

Regenerating Nerve Tissue
One Florida-based company dedicated to peripheral nerve repair is changing this life-altering outcome. AxoGen has taken steps to address this numbness, once thought to be a permanent side effect, with a new technology called ReSensation. They use allograft nerve tissue, or donated human peripheral nerve tissue, to regenerate feeling to the breasts.

The Way It Works
ReSensation sounds complex, but it isn’t. The breast surgeon takes donated nerve tissue and attaches it to a patient’s remaining nerve tissue in the affected area. Over time, that donated nerve becomes part of the patient’s body and helps to regenerate nerve-endings in that area. 

“With this new surgical method, we are not only able to provide patients with a more natural-looking breast, but the possibility that the breast will feel more natural to them as well,” says James E. Craigie, M.D., with The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction. “ReSensation is an exciting development in care that we hope will help bring our patients that much closer to feeling like themselves during and after treatment.” 

Patients interested in ReSensation face few limitations, and the procedure is performed during breast reconstruction. Breast implants pose one limitation in that they are artificial and do not contain nerves, therefore this procedure does not pertain to patients undergoing breast reconstruction via implants. ReSensation is best used for patient’s who choose to reconstruct the breasts using their own tissue.

Once the ReSensation procedure and breast reconstruction is complete, patients can feel confident that they took all steps possible to hopefully restore their breast sensation and therefore achieve an even more natural result. 

What Should You Do Next?
If you are a breast cancer or mastectomy patient, the next step should be to talk to your breast and plastic surgeon about reconstruction options. If you haven’t had a mastectomy yet, your breast surgeon can tell you what you should expect with surgery and recovery from the mastectomy. Your plastic surgeon can also determine if the ReSensation technology is right for you. Keep in mind that the answer is different for everyone. Your current medical conditions and breast cancer treatment plan help determine the final decision.

“We’re excited to offer this cutting-edge procedure to our patients and are committed to offering the women the best care possible,” continued Dr. Craigie. “It is our goal to make sure every patient understands her options for reconstruction and provide access to pioneering surgical treatments that could help improve her quality of life.” 

Is ReSensation right for you? Visit NaturalBreastReconstruction.com to learn more, or call toll-free at (866) 374-2627.

Flap Procedures for Natural Breast Reconstruction: Understanding Your Options

gap flapWhen a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, she will be faced with many decisions including “Do I want breast reconstruction?” and if so, “What kind of reconstruction is best for me?” With numerous options available, it is important to evaluate each choice and decide which is best for each woman individually.

Breast reconstruction using the patient’s own tissue, also known as autologous tissue reconstruction, is becoming more and more popular for many reasons. Here, we’ll discuss two options in more detail – the deep inferior epigastric (DIEP) flap and the (gluteal artery perforator) GAP flap.

What is the DIEP Flap?

The DIEP flap procedure reconstructs the breasts using tissue from the patient’s abdomen. The tissue consists of mostly skin and fat and never includes the muscle.

What Is the GAP Flap?

The GAP flap reconstructs the breasts using tissue from the patient’s buttocks. The tissue consists of mostly skin and fat as well and never includes the muscle.

What Are the Benefits of Each One?

Women who are considering natural reconstruction often choose one of these two flap procedures according to what benefits her individual needs. The DIEP flap is popular with many patients because of its potential to provide “tummy tuck” results – a flatter appearance to the lower belly. Meanwhile, patients who elect the GAP flap might prefer the benefit of removing tissue from the buttock area instead. In either case, muscles are spared, reducing recovery time. It is important to note that both procedures can be used for unilateral cases (only one breast needing reconstruction) or bilateral cases (both breasts needing reconstruction).

What Results Should a Patient Expect?

With both the DIEP and GAP flap procedures, the result is a breast reconstructed from the patient’s own bodily tissue. For this reason, patients are often more satisfied with a natural reconstruction than with implant reconstruction. However, the recovery time can be longer than with implant reconstruction and scars on both the breast and donor site are to be expected.

How Should a Patient Choose One Procedure or the Other?

A patient should first decide if natural reconstruction surgery is a viable option for her. Some women are not ideal candidates due to vascular (blood vessel) issues, as healthy blood vessels are necessary for the flap procedure to succeed. Once the patient decides on natural reconstruction, choosing reconstruction via the DIEP or GAP procedure depends on the health of the “donor site” from where the tissue is removed.

No woman should have to choose the best procedure for her alone – it should be an ongoing discussion with her medical professionals. At the Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, these and other issues are addressed in person within a compassionate and professional environment.

Want to know more? Call toll-free at (866) 374-2627 or visit NaturalBreastReconstruction.com.

Considering Nipple Tattoos? 4 Things Patients Should Know

nipple tattoo

When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer and begins the journey of considering which reconstruction option is best for her, the hope for a natural looking and feeling breast is normally at the top of her list. A mastectomy may involve removing all of the breast tissue, including the nipples. Thankfully there are now many ways to restore the natural appearance of the breasts following mastectomy and reconstruction. If the original nipples must be removed, many patients with breast cancer opt to have their nipples reconstructed using their own tissue and, as part of the reconstruction, decide to get nipple tattoos.
Curious about how a nipple tattoo works and whether it might be a good option for you? Here are five important things to know.
1. A Nipple Tattoo is the Final Stage of Breast Reconstruction
Nipple tattoos are a beautiful solution to create natural-looking nipples, and most women are candidates for the tattoos. Tattooing is usually done 3-4 months after a woman’s final in-hospital surgery. This is normally when the skin has healed enough from any reconstruction surgeries. If surgical scars aren’t completely healed and mature when the tattoo is created, there is risk of the tattoo becoming distorted over time.
2. The Nipple Tattoo Is Customized to Look Real
The inks used for nipple tattooing are mixed to create the most realistic appearance possible for each patient. The tattoo artist strives to create a shade that resembles the patient’s original nipple and complements her natural skin tone. This is one of the reasons it is important to have a tattoo artist perform the procedure – there is an art to making each nipple unique to each patient.
nipple tattoo3. The Best Tattoos are Done By a Tattoo Artist
Some patients have the option to have their tattoos done within a medical setting by a medical professional; however, there is a fine art to nipple tattooing. This makes finding a tattoo artist who specializes in nipple tattooing key to achieving the best, most realistic results.
Tattoo artist Shannon Purvis Barron, owner of Indigo Rose Tattoo in Columbia, S.C., has been giving breast-cancer survivors tattoos for years, and provides her services once a month in the offices of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction.
A lifelong artist, she shifted her focus in college from oil and canvas to ink and skin. She’s seen up close the toll breast cancer can take on women’s bodies and spirits, and believes feeling confident in their bodies is an integral part in the recovery process.
Barron, who will be in The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction office on September 27, 2018, says she can’t even count the number of scars she has covered with flowers, tree branches and feathers, or botched nipple tattoos she has fixed.
4. The Nipple Will Look Real, Thanks to 3-D Techniques
The 3-D nipple tattoo is a work of art that looks like an authentic nipple. Shading, shadows and other artistic skills make the tattoos look just like real nipples, and helps patients feel confident in their breasts once again.
Women who are interested in learning more about nipple tattoos within a medical environment can contact The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction at 1-866-374-2627 or online at NaturalBreastReconstruction.com. Call the office to request an appointment for nipple tattooing with Shannon Purvis Barron for our next available date, September 27, 2018.

Debunking 5 Misconceptions about Breast Reconstruction

“Breast cancer” are two of the scariest words for women. Adding to the pain and fear, options for breast reconstruction after a full or partial mastectomy or lumpectomy are fraught with myths and misinformation.

That’s why it’s important for women to separate the facts about breast reconstruction from the myths and mistruths, and make informed decisions that improve their health and self-image.

Here are five common misconceptions about breast reconstruction that need to be debunked.

  1. Breast Reconstruction Is Only for Complete Mastectomies

Breast reconstruction is not just for women who have had the mastectomy procedure. Because breast reconstruction has come a long way medically in recent years, more and more women are eligible, even if they have only had a lumpectomy. Of course, an individual’s health and history play a part as well, but options are more available than ever.

  1.  Breast Reconstruction Equals Artificial Implants

Good news for women who want to remain all-natural and still have reconstructed breasts: reconstruction methods nowadays offer the opportunity to obtain natural tissues from the woman’s own body, including her thigh, tummy or even rear end. Known as autologous breast reconstruction, these methods are constantly evolving through science and technology and, as a result, are becoming safer and more successful.

  1.  If I Have Chemotherapy or Radiation, I Am Not Eligible for Breast Reconstruction

Many women believe that if they opted to undergo radiation or chemotherapy as a form of breast cancer treatment (or if they plan to undergo such treatments in the future), it will render them ineligible for breast reconstruction. While it is true that certain treatments can mean limitations – again, this depends on the individual woman’s health and history – it does not mean reconstruction is impossible. Many times radiation will force a delay in reconstruction, but not prevent it altogether. This is a subject for each individual patient and her doctors to discuss.

  1.  After a Certain Age, Breast Reconstruction Is Not Possible

Even a woman who is diagnosed with breast cancer in the later years of life can still opt to seek breast reconstruction. While it is true that the body heals differently in our “golden years”, age should not be a factor when considering breast reconstruction, primarily because older women can still benefit from improved self-esteem following reconstruction. Federal law requires most insurance plans to cover breast reconstruction after mastectomy, irrespective of the age of the patient.

  1.  Breast Reconstruction Hinders Diagnosing the Return of Cancer

After successfully battling breast cancer, the idea of a recurrence is scary, but that fear should not deter women from seeking breast reconstruction. While it is true that certain factors can affect the risk of recurring cancer, breast reconstruction neither increases nor decreases the risk, according to the American Cancer Society.

To learn more about natural breast reconstruction and find out if it might be the right choice for you, contact The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction at NaturalBreastReconstruction.com or toll-free at (866) 374-2627

Making Peace with Your Body Post Breast Cancer

laughing women wearing pink for breast cance

Regardless of the severity, breast cancer takes a toll on your body.

Between chemo, radiation, and surgeries, many women struggle with their physical appearances after they’ve won their battles.

In a study published in The European Journal of Breast Health, researchers found that many of the 20 study participants who went through breast cancer treatment held a belief that breasts symbolize femininity, beauty, and motherhood.

As a result, after mastectomies, some of the participants felt that half of themselves were missing, as individuals and women.

Fortunately, there are ways to rebuild your self-esteem and body image after surviving breast cancer.

Read on to discover five tips to make peace with your body post breast cancer…

#1: Surround yourself with supportive friends and family.

Supportive family

(Source)

As the author S. Kelley Harrell writes, “we don’t heal in isolation, but in community.”

Without the support of our loved ones–whether they be friends or family–getting through rough periods in our lives may seem insurmountable.

Don’t be afraid to express your feelings of shame, self-doubt, insecurities, or beyond with those who love you and are there to support you.

Loved ones are necessary sources of warmth who will remind you of the wonderful qualities that make you who you truly are.

#2: Acknowledge that some of your body’s changes may only be temporary.

Another important point to keep in mind is that not all physical changes will be permanent.

For example, though you may gain or lose weight during treatment due to side effects of medication, you can instill changes to get back to your pre-treatment weight once your body is ready.

Of course, your body may not bounce back to “the way it used to be,” but remembering that some things will eventually return to normal is a healthy practice in positivity.

#3: Give yourself time to adjust and accept the new you.

With any physical change–even those unrelated to breast cancer–it can take time to accept and get accustomed to the change.

It’s not realistic to expect that you’ll be able to accept your new body right away.

Perhaps you used to pride yourself on certain physical characteristics that have changed considerably since you went through your breast cancer experience.

Give yourself the time to adjust your perspective on what beauty means to you.

Focus on finding new aspects of your appearance or personality that you want to emphasize or embrace–and let them shine!

#4: Eat healthy and exercise.

balanced health and diet

(Source)

Although you may be used to hearing your doctor provide the following advice, we’ll chime in here for good measure:

If you want to maintain or improve your appearance to reflect one of improved health, follow a healthy diet and incorporate exercise into your weekly routine.

Eating well and exercising will not only make you feel good from the inside out, but will also help you regain strength in your recovery process.

#5: Consider reconstructive options.

As mentioned before, for many women, breasts symbolize femininity and other values that can be hard to let go of permanently.

Thanks to the miraculous nature of modern day surgery and medicine, reconstructive options for your breasts after a mastectomy are possible.

If what you truly desire is to bring back your shape, reconstructive breast surgery is always an option.

Talk to a doctor and see what your options are. If you’re interested in seeing what our options are, check out our website here.

As a breast cancer survivor, there is a lot to be proud of.

Though physical changes to your body can be incredibly difficult to experience and acknowledge, there are ways to make peace with the changes.

Keep these five tips in mind in your journey to living life with a new normal.

Have any additional suggestions for what you do to feel beautiful in the skin you’re in? Share them in the comments below!