Sandra’s Testimonial: Part II – The Emotional Toll of a Double Mastectomy

Sandra is one of the many women who’ve benefited from a grant from the AiRS Foundation. When she discovered a lump in her left breast, she had a double mastectomy and a lumpectomy. Since completing radiation recently, Sandra is waiting for the tissue along her chest to heal before undergoing breast reconstruction.

The Emotional Toll

While the double mastectomy took an emotional toll on Sandra, the effect is small compared with her relief at simply being alive.

“The emotional effect of a mastectomy was not as bad physically because I lived,” she says.

Still, losing her breasts was akin to losing a part of herself, a part of her womanhood. Like so many women who undergo mastectomies due to breast cancer, Sandra looked uneasily in the mirror to find her figure square and broad.

Rather than allow this physical effect of breast cancer to further depress her, Sandra decided to remain positive. She bought a sports bra with a cushion that accentuated her breasts. She wore clothes that fit well.

For over a month, the pain from her mastectomy and lumpectomy was excruciating as her chest healed from the surgery. But soon, she was visiting her surgeon for expanders to open a cavity in her chest, preparing her body for breast reconstruction. In the meantime, Sandra’s patient advocate at AiRS called regularly to check in on her, offering emotional support through the physical pain and emotional adjustments.

“It was amazing to know that there are people who care and understand,” says Sandra. “I didn’t feel alone.”

Moving Forward with Breast Reconstruction

While Sandra is still waiting for the go-ahead from her surgeon to allow breast reconstruction, she’s hopeful about the positive effects of the procedure. In the meantime, she takes it day by day.

“You have your good days and your bad days,” she says. “Enjoy your good days. Enjoy your family. Enjoy going outside.”

After being in so many hospitals indoors, feeling tired and frustrated, Sandra loves being outside gardening and visiting the beach. She goes out to eat. She spends time with her mother and daughter.

“My advice is that life is precious and that everyone that is going through breast cancer needs to be strong, and that we need our families, friends, and organizations like AIRS Foundation to ease our pain, in order to focus on healing,” says Sandra. “Always believe that we are warriors of life. We are survivors, and we need to stay strong in mind, body, and soul and not give up.”

AiRS can help you too.

At AiRS, we primarily offer grants to help women who cannot afford breast reconstruction. We also help women through all parts of the breast cancer treatment, and even sometimes help women who are undergoing other kinds of breast illnesses.

Applying for a grant from AiRS is easy!

We’ve tried our best to make the application as straightforward as possible, and we have a fast return rate, so you’ll know the status of your application quickly. Here’s where you can learn more about how to apply. If you are a woman in need of help, we hope to hear from you. It’s our mission to help you feel whole again