|The Legacy of Dawn Spencer
Who knew that while fighting breast cancer for the third time within the last seven years, would reveal my purpose in life. I have never felt better about my life than now. I live in the moment and cherish everyday as if I were a child experiencing an ice cream cone for the very first time. My mantra each morning when I wake up, during the day between tasks, and at night before I go to bed is; “All is well! Everything in this situation is working for my highest good and from this situation only good will come. All is well!”
After a right breast mastectomy with large margins excised due to cancer spread within the dermas, muscle from the back removed to place on the chest wall, and a skin graft from my right thigh, I was left with huge scaring both outside and within. The most regrettable loss was that of never being able to have reconstructive surgery to replace what I thought defined me as an attractive and sexy woman. After healing remarkably fast and well, I had to get back what I’d lost in order to move on and feel good about myself once again. First of all, I had to start looking at myself in the mirror with no clothes longer than a second or a glance. That was challenging however I worked through it and treated my chest as though it was a spoiled child that needed attention. I massaged it with special creams and oils everyday which forced me to look at the area and monitor its healing. After the healing was complete, I had to shop for a breast prosthetic. Wow, that was when my purpose in life was revealed! I was given a prescription for a custom prosthesis and sent to an O&P Center where I was caught off guard by a prosthetic professional who sized me up when I walked in the door. “You’re not going to like what I have to show you”. Confused and somewhat disappointed I asked “what do you mean”. Well, she defined me by my professional and well dressed attire and assumed that the off the shelf prosthesis would not meet my expectations. She was right! After showing me what was available she suggested I look at a couple of custom breast prosthetic products she recommended. I thanked her for her honesty and help, and went to investigate. After doing my homework on several companies, I chose one that actually used a plaster mold to fit me. I work for a large media corporation so my insurance paid for the custom prosthesis that cost $4,000. However, Medicare does not cover custom breast prosthesis and I am tirelessly working to make them change their policy. I am currently wearing an off the shelf prosthesis that fits in a special bra or can be worn with a special sock or sleeve in a regular bra. Needless to say, the custom prosthesis was not as “custom” as I thought it would be! I said to myself there has to be a better product and at least more options available for women in need of custom breast prosthesis. My purpose in life is to provide women in need options for a better product and/or create and develop a product that meets the specifications of each and every woman no matter their size, amount of area, or specific shade/hue. If you have had a mastectomy due to breast cancer and reconstruction is not an option, tell me your story and hopefully we can help each other.
|Broadcast with Soledad O'Brien|