BE INSPIRED: The Breast Reconstruction Journey


Mastectomy and Breast Reconstruction Patients

This new section will focus on breast reconstruction patients who have thrived through their ordeals, gone from feeling victimized to victorious, have gained greater insight into their feelings, re-invented themselves after their diagnosis, captured the opportunity to reassess how they want to live their lives, or have given back to the community in significant ways.

While undergoing mastectomy and breast reconstruction for either a breast cancer diagnosis or for risk-reducing purposes, the experience has tremendous impact on an individual. How one addresses the emotional aspect of this journey greatly influences their restoration. With the proper guidance and support system, this journey can offer an opportunity to reassess one’s life by placing more emphasis on bringing more light and pleasure into daily living and realizing neglected personal goals. The tools of our Patient Empowerment Program serve to encourage this mindset.

We hope these stories from our amazing patients will help you to BE INSPIRED.

Mollie Sugarman, Clinical Director - Patient Empowerment Program

Julia K.

“Calm, confident and centered is how I felt when I entered Glen Cove Hospital for my bilateral mastectomy/reconstruction because I had complete confidence in Dr. Ron Israeli and Dr. Susan Palleschi.  Dr. Israeli is a gifted surgeon and artist.  Dr. Palleschi is a wonderful breast surgeon. 

Dr. Israeli’s team of professionals provided me with the confidence I needed…that I would be well taken care of.  I was so impressed with the time Dr. Israeli and his Physician Assistant, Eva Bersin, spent thoroughly explaining the surgery to me, and showing me visuals.  I felt well informed.  Unique to his practice and part of his team is Mollie Sugarman.  She was the emotional support who wanted to know about me and taught me visualization/breathing techniques which I used 100% leading up to the surgery.  It kept me calm, centered, and mentally prepared.  It also kept my blood pressure within a normal range! 

When you feel confident that you are well taken care of, both physically and emotionally supported, you can trust the process.  I know I did and for good reason.”


"After the first two months of pure shock (from being diagnosed with breast cancer at 27), I decided that I did not want to lose my current life of having a job and having fun. I was determined to have fun with my cancer." See how Erica gave cancer a new look


"I have been the coordinator of 'Warming Hearts of Rockland' for the last three years. This is not my project. Rather, I only provide one way that people in the community can show that they care for one another – it is the entire community’s project." Learn how the power of service helped Patti heal and warm hearts in her community


"I received a phone call from my gynecologist wanting to know where I was and who was with me. Fortunately, I was home on my couch when she let me know my biopsy came back positive as a carcinoma. Wait a second…breast cancer?! I’m not even 40, yet."
Read how Sarah's luck changed and how she is doing today


Knowing your family health history may save your life! For women with a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer, genetic testing can potentially identify harmful genetic mutations such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. Learning that you have an inherited genetic mutation that can cause breast and ovarian cancer can potentially affect everyone in the family. The following story by one of Dr. Ron Israeli’s patients is a wonderfully written description of the emotions that surround testing for BRCA genetic mutations. Read Sheri's story about defeating the "breast cancer gene"


"I saved my life and eternally altered my feminine image in a simultaneous act. Often times, women are defined by their curves and waves, their stature, and how her hips sway. Since breast cancer, I have chosen to be defined by my own new standards."
My Breasts' Journey

Marina E.

"I was 30 when I found out I had stage 3 invasive ductal carcinoma. A few years earlier, I had moved to Southern California from New York City to follow my dreams of an endless summer. To say that I was rocked by the discovery of breast cancer was an understatement." Read what helped Marina embrace her new reality

Michele N.

"Nothing. That’s what I heard after the voice on the other end of the phone told me I had breast cancer. I knew he was talking, I wanted to listen, but I heard nothing. How I got from that moment to where I am today is still somewhat of a blur. For that reason I believe this is what I was meant to do." Read how Michele's experience led her to find her calling

Mary M.

"The breast surgeon looked me calmly in the eye and reported that I had not one but three small lumps in my left breast. She suggested that in making the decision to have it removed, it would be reasonable to opt for having a bilateral mastectomy. I decided then and there to do both breasts. Driving away from the appointment on that gray-sky January day, hurrying back to work, I remember saying to myself, this is me going into shock." Read about Mary's DIEP decision


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