“I knew from my sister’s previous surgery with Dr. Ong, she could make me look and feel amazing.”
My mom was not famous, but to me, she was everything. She was the steady rock of our family. So when my mom was diagnosed with an aggressive form of inflammatory breast cancer in November 2004, my world crumbled. We were told she probably only had 6 months to live. My mom had a fighter mentality and went in with her fist in the air ready to give it her all. She underwent surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, scans, blood draws, doctor visits, procedures, shots, medication and more. Defying the odds, a year later, ‘regular breast cancer’ was found in her other breast.
Through it all, she spent time with family, encouraged others and was there to welcome 6 grandchildren. The kids kept her motivated and all loved her dearly. She fought with strength and grace, continuing to serve our family even in her pain. She never gave up and continued to be our rock. October 30, 2011, the Lord said it was time, and with the family there holding her in our arms, my precious momma passed away. The pain and the ache in my heart was something I could never describe. My hero was gone.
In the summer of 2015, my sister was diagnosed with DCIS, yet another 3rd type of breast cancer. This was a ‘good type of cancer to have’ but deciding to treat it aggressively, my sister had a double mastectomy with reconstruction performed by Dr. Ong.
In June 2016, during a routine visit with Dr. Liu, she informed me that due to my mom’s and sister’s history, my chance of getting breast cancer was 48.8%. I did not like this number. I was 34 years old, have an amazing husband and 4 young kids. I couldn’t lose it all to breast cancer. I didn’t want to go get a mammogram, ultrasound and MRI every 6 months for the rest of my life, waiting to see if this was the time I would get bad news. To make it worse, the imaging facility was next door to the hospice where my mom died.
So, I came to talk to Dr. Ong about what reconstruction would look like following a preventative double mastectomy. She sat with me for over an hour, talking about my health history and asked how I was doing mentally and emotionally. She listened, encouraged and gave me some things to think about in the decision making process. I knew from my sister’s previous surgery with Dr. Ong, she could make me look and feel amazing. With the support of my husband and family, I chose to have a preventative double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction in August of 2016. With the amazing skills and state of the art care given to me by Dr. Ong, my recovery time, healing and pain was manageable.
Dr. Ong closely monitored me and took great care of me into my recovery process. I was given a second chance. I am humbled to walk into a ‘cancer center’ for follow up, knowing that my pathology report was negative. I have sat there to hear heart wrenching news, so I do not take for granted the days of health and love I have been given. In the continued grief process of my mom, I am sad, but no longer have to fear that I will be next to hear the words ‘breast cancer.’ Instead, I can live enjoying my husband and children knowing that I made decisions to protect us all from agony of breast cancer.
My second chance allows me to dream big for the future and wait to see what it will hold.
– Hayley & Susan