Anyone in the process of exploring choices will be interested in this. Recently I was sent an article from a Friends After Diagnosis member that featured a new choice available for women choosing breast reconstruction after a mastectomy. This choice was not available when I was making decisions and I see the value it has to offer. Those of us doing reconstruction carefully make our way through available resources to find what feels right for us, but the decision-making is often stressful, especially if we don’t feel well informed.
My breast cancer experience included a bilateral mastectomy and I chose reconstruction. The most difficult part for me was not the multiple surgeries, but the process of inflating the expander. This challenge was much harder than I expected (isn’t that true of so many things in life?). Some women breeze through that process easily, but for me it was difficult. Since I struggled with the process, I am sensitive to what other women are going through.
Here’s the good news – in December of 2016 the Food and Drug Administration gave their approval to Aeroform. This is an expander inserted after the mastectomy that allows the woman to self-administer doses of carbon dioxide to her expander at home. Some advantages are less incidence of pain, fewer trips to the doctor, less time needed to finish the process (half the time needed for saline injections), and there are no needles. For tissue expansion, this represents the first major change in over 40 years. The process does not allow the woman to overdose and once the expansion goal has been reached the expanding process shuts down.
This is such a huge improvement over what I went through that I pass it on to you with gratitude that a more gentle way of expanding is now available. To read more details on this offering go to AirXpanders.com where there are stories from women who have used this, and more medical details about this new product. This is a new choice for women considering reconstruction and, when faced with decisions about our bodies, understanding our choices is essential.
Reader, if you discover a medical process or product that you think would be helpful to this support group community, send it to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will share it in this blog. After all, helping each other is what Friends After diagnosis is all about.
Until next time – Sylvia