Kathy Negro - Dr. Marga's July 2010 Mermaid of the Month
I was 39 when I got the news that no one wants to hear...You have cancer. All I could think about was my three young children at home. I planned on growing old with my husband and soul mate, Ken. Was I going to be around to raise my kids? Will I see them on their wedding day? In the early days of this diagnosis, fear overtakes your mind and body. Amazingly, each day eventually brings acceptance and warrior mode kicks in. On Valentine's Day, 2008, I had a double mastectomy w/full lymph node dissection and immediate reconstruction w/implants. One week later, pathology showed a total of three tumors in the right breast and lymph node involvement. It was aggressive. I was Her2 and Estrogen positive. This meant chemo, radiation and a year of Herceptin IV medication. I realized I had to fight to live, or should I say live to fight.
In 2009, I felt it was the time to "put myself back together". I had permanent implants put in by March. Although they were cold and hard, they were what I needed to feel somewhat whole again. Three short months later, my right implant failed and had to be removed. I spent the whole summer "lopsided." It was difficult because it was a constant reminder of what cancer took from me. I am an active member of the website, BreastCancer.org. It was here I learned about the DIEP Flap Surgery. I did extensive research about the surgery and the doctors available. How did I choose the infamous Dr. Massey? She had me at "Hello"...lol She called me on a Sunday afternoon. I felt as if we had been childhood friends from the moment we spoke. She is kind, patient but most of all, so knowledgeable. She has a great education, experience and something that they don't teach you in medical school, an excellent bedside manner. She treats you as if you are her family. In many ways, we are her family. She devotes more hours to her patients than her own joy. We are her joy. You will see this in her eyes the first time you meet her...you will see it in her smile…you will feel it in your heart.
In September of 2009, I traveled from Michigan to New Orleans to be rebuilt once again. It was a long surgery and scars took over many parts of my body. Instead of looking at what cancer did, I looked at it as warrior scars. Each one makes me stronger. When I left New Orleans, I left with a new friend in Dr. Massey but I also left "whole" again. As the airplane departed and raced down the tarmac, my new, warm breasts started jiggling. I was shocked. I had not felt them "jiggle" in over 1 ˝ years. It was at this precise moment that I knew I did the right thing for me. God healed my inside, and Dr. Massey and Dr. DellaCroce healed my outside. I am strong. I am a beautiful woman. I am a warrior. I am a MERMAID!