631 SW Horne Street, Suite 400, Topeka, Kansas 66606
361 Grant Ave. Junction City, KS 66441

Rebecca’s Story 

As a nurse and two-time survivor, Rebecca was more than accustom to the possibility of cancer. So when her doctor called her back for additional testing after her mammogram this year, she remained calm. “My family has a genetic predisposition—there is a lot of cancer. And a variety of kinds,” Rebecca said. “You automatically go into that mode of just doing what you need to do and doing so quickly.” 


After receiving abnormal mammogram results, Rebecca was examined by several different physicians. “No one could feel anything,” she said. “I continued to keep an eye on it and do self-examination. And I did feel like there were visible changes. So I opted for a precautionary biopsy and that’s when I got the news that I had cancer.”


“Soon after getting those results I was scheduling a bilateral mastectomy,” Rebecca said.  “It was my choice whether I wanted to do both sides or not. We had not done testing on the other breast but I decided just to be on the safe side.” 


Wanting to explore all of her options, Rebecca scheduled a consultation for breast reconstruction with Dr. Peterson. “Meeting with Dr. Peterson was a very important step in my process of getting information,” she said. “He prefers to work with the mastectomy doctor to begin reconstruction therapy immediately. Before seeing him I did online research and talked to people about their experience. I felt comfortable with his staff right away. You need to know that the receptionist, nurse and everyone in between are going to be receptive. If you cringe at talking to the staff then you’re probably not going to call to get the information you need.”  


Rebecca remained logical through the rapid steps between that first mammogram and her third diagnosis of cancer. But after her bilateral mastectomy procedure, emotions began to hit hard. “I am a pretty secure person but I do have to say it felt as though I had a hole blasted through me physically and emotionally, She said. “It’s like, that’s not your body. That’s the reason I decided to go through with the reconstruction process after surgery. I wanted to focus on the real me—the person inside the body. I didn’t want a barrier up.”  


“I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to begin reconstruction at the same time as the mastectomy, Rebecca said.  “I felt like I was going to be put back together and I was so happy to have Dr. Peterson there. After the first doctor removed diseased tissue, Dr. Peterson stepped in and placed expanders that would slowly stretch my skin back to the way it was. He kept a very close eye on my incisions after surgery. It took three months of weekly visits to expand to where I had been previously. And then in early September, he put the implants in. It’s not a cakewalk but it’s also not as bad as it sounds.” 


Even after undergoing cancer treatment for a third time, Rebecca takes the remarkable stance of remaining positive. “God has been very, very good to me,” she said. “He’s been with me all the way through this, opening one door after another to my recovery. I am thankful that I did both breasts because it turns out the other side had cancer, too. And now I feel more like me all the time. It’s like a breath of fresh air. Dr. Peterson is competent, experienced and professional. The staff is supportive, warm, empathetic and quick to respond to phone calls, which I know first hand can be difficult.” 


“I think women should consider why they are considering the reconstruction process, Rebecca said. “And also why they might not want to do it. Take plenty of time in weighing your options. Consider the possible impact of reconstruction therapy on your family, but if you do pursue it, do it for yourself. With relationships and stress doing it for a spouse could come back to hurt you. Whatever decision each person makes, it needs to contribute to physically, spiritually and emotionally supporting their well-being.” 


Currently, Rebecca is doing home treatment to help heal the scars from surgery. “There’s so much you have to find out with all of this,” she said. “I’m not sure if at some point ill be ready to move on to doing something about the nipple. You have to look ahead to be prepared but you have to live today also. The cancer process moves quickly, but reconstruction does not.” 


 Rebecca shares her story with others in hopes to encourage more early detection. “My message overall is that people need to take responsibility for their own health, she said. “I have the most to gain from early detection. I told my friends and family to drive to another city if they have to get he best screening available. It’s important to go with your instincts.” 

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