Over two years ago Sarah was diagnosed with breast cancer and was facing a mastectomy. She had been on estrogen for a little over a year and had begun to get breast development. Having breasts since the age of 10, I knew I could not imagine the sense of loss Sarah felt after waiting for her breasts for more than 50 years only to lose one now.
Sarah had her mastectomy in December 2005 with plans of having breast reconstruction as soon as possible after the mastectomy. We visited a plastic surgeon prior to her mastectomy and discussed what treatment options she had. After returning to the plastic surgeon post mastectomy, the doctor told Sarah that she did not feel comfortable doing her surgery but did know someone who had experience with transwomen and experience in dealing the the follow up for breast cancer. She said she would help with the follow up..................implant expansion, wound care, etc. since the referral was in Atlanta. Unfortunately, there was difficulty in working with the insurance and she could not obtain the necessary clearance to the doctor she was referred to. She was sent to another doctor. To be blunt, this was the most arrogant, uninformed, doctor I had ever encountered (being a nurse for more than 30 years that is saying a lot). We both left his office angy. After trying again to get the clearance for the first doctor she was referred to, she gave up and chose to use breast prosthesis.
After 2 years, Sarah has decided she wanted to try to get breast reconstruction surgery again. After finding out that the doctor she originally tried to get an appointment with was not longer accepting her insurance, she got a list of plastic surgeons who did accept her insurance. She saw the plastic surgeon this week. The experience with this doctor was great!! He talked with her about her family history for breast cancer (which is extensive) and advised testing for family members for the breast cancer gene. He did an exam. Gave Sarah a chance to redress and came back in to discuss her options. He seemed to be in no hurry and answered each question until we were satisfied.
Sarah now is scheduled for a breast expander insertion pending authorization by her insurance. She is so excited and I am excited for her.