In Her Words: Deidre Dixon

The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction is so proud to publish this moving essay from Deidre Dixon, survivor and a source of inspiration. Thank you Deidre for sharing your story with the world.

Today is the 1-year anniversary of the first in a series of 4 surgeries I underwent last year to reduce my risk of breast cancer and to be reconstructed using my own tissue. The (most likely) final surgery was December 6, although nothing compared to the initial one, which involved arterial grafting, lasted 12 1/2 hours and included a visit to ICU.

Now, one year out, with a risk level at 3% rather than 62, I can’t help but reflect on the incredible year that has just ended. When people spoke at Thanksgiving of the many things for which they were thankful, I realized there were many little things I previously took for granted which I had never considered as being worth the slightest attention. That has all changed.

I will never think of those think of these most basic things as being less than a blessing. And I feel that I should, in celebration of having reached this point, mention a few.
I am thankful for being able to:

1. Pull open a door on my own
2. Take a bath
3. Take a walk
4. Raise my arms above 45 degrees
5. Reach up or bend down to get something off the floor
6. Drive a car
7. Use my hands to support my weight
8. Do anything without being absolutely exhausted
9. Zip my own zipper when it is in the back, or
10. Pull anything over my head or spend an inordinate amount of time selecting my clothes based on whether I can actually put them on by myself

I hope I never forget what a gift that even the most basic things can be, when you suddenly are without them. And I hope I never forget what a blessing my friends are and have been throughout this experience.

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