by Kathy Steligo
I have more than a nodding acquaintance with breast cancer. Diagnosed twice, I’ve had seven biopsies, two lumpectomies, radiation therapy, sentinel node biopsy, genetic counseling, genetic testing, bilateral mastectomy, implant reconstruction, GAP reconstruction, fat grafting and multiple nipple and areola tattooing.
Once I knew I was going to lose both my breasts, I began searching for answers about mastectomy and reconstruction. This was back in 2002, and what I found wasn’t encouraging: minimal information, limited options, outdated patient photos and not enough answers. During my recovery, I kept thinking of all the other women who were in my place, facing the many issues and questions that go hand-in-hand with mastectomy. I wanted to help them benefit from my experience. Since I was a successful freelance writer, it was a no-brainer for me to try and fill that information void, so I developed a website, but I wanted to provide even more information, so I began researching a book.
The first The Breast Reconstruction Guidebook was published in 2002. Three updated editions have since followed, each maintaining my commitment to comprehensive, unbiased and accurate information. The Breast Reconstruction Guidebook was inspired by my own mastectomy and reconstruction experience, but it’s not about me…it’s about you.
No matter where you are in the journey, whether you’re facing mastectomy to treat or prevent breast cancer, this book will answer your questions (and probably many that you haven’t yet thought of!). It will guide you from diagnosis through surgery and recovery and will help to inform your decision making along the way.
The core of the book describes the numerous methods of rebuilding breasts with implants or your own tissue, so that you can decide which procedure, if any, is right for you. You’ll also find information about insurance issues, choosing a surgeon, preparing for the hospital and what to expect during recovery, how post-op problems can be resolved, and much more. Take a peek at the Table of Contents to see what the book covers. And visit my website for updated blogs on the topic.
Kathy is also the co-author of Confronting Chronic Pain and of FORCE’s book, Confronting Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Breast Cancer. She is FORCE’s Editor-at-large and presents “Breast Reconstruction: Understanding Your Choices” and “What to Expect After Mastectomy” at the annual Joining FORCEs conference.