When Mindi Thompson was diagnosed with breast cancer in November last year, doctors scheduled a double mastectomy.
Thompson knew she would not feel the same after the procedure. However, thanks to breast reconstruction, less than a year later, she feels confident and cancer-free.
"It's a lengthy process, so I certainly didn't want to delay starting if I can start at the same time," Thompson said.
Thompson made the decision early on that she would undergo breast reconstruction.
"Women who aren't aware of their reconstruction options, especially that first time, at their initial surgery, may miss a crucial opportunity to have reconstruction started at Day One," Dr. Tony L. Weaver said.
Weaver was Thompson's surgeon and said he meets with cancer patients right away to discuss all their options, something Thompson said she did not expect but was thankful for.
"It's scary enough to think about waking up from surgery with your chest gutted, so to speak," Thompson said. "It was important for me in my return to normalcy, when all is said and done, to be in the process of reconstruction surgery."
Thompson had a total of four procedures, each one covered by her insurance.
"The Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 specifies that all breast reconstruction procedures are mandated be covered by insurers, including Medicaid and Medicare," Weaver said.
Weaver understands these procedures are not for everyone but believes it is important that women have the option.
"You're diagnosed with something that attempts to strip away or eat away at your identity, at your life, at your femininity, but breast reconstruction restores all of those things," Weaver said.
While there are pros and cons to breast reconstruction, according to the American Cancer Society, studies show it does not make the cancer come back or prevent cancer from being detected and treated.