A Comforting Decision
Sisterhood of Service
In 2006, after routinely monitoring my breasts and going for regularly scheduled mammograms, I was diagnosed with atypical hyperplasia in my left breast. They found this with a needle biopsy, which of course did not scare me because it was my third one. What followed was a phone call, a lot of cursing from me, and then a trip to the hospital for a lumpectomy. My left breast never looked the same, but in a way I was okay with that because I was following all the “rules.” I took the Tamoxifen daily, did the monthly blood test, biannual mammography’s and MRIs. After five years I was done; I was not taking a chance!!
2012 rolled by pretty quickly and my breast doctor said, “Hey, let’s do an MRI again and get a baseline.” Off I go to the imaging center and laid face down as they inject dye into me, and three days later - WHAM! Both of my breasts had tubular, lobular and radial scarring of atypical hyperplasia. My risk of getting breast cancer just jumped to a very uncomfortable level, so I sobbed a call to my friend Dr. Ron Israeli who guided me through my available breast treatment options and helped me make my decision.
In December 2012, I chose to have a bilateral risk-reducing mastectomy with breast reconstruction. I feel so much better for making that decision, and with it came a profound need to help other women who undergo treatment for breast cancer. So, I founded the Breast Cancer Comfort Foundation and, to date, we have given over 1000 comfort baskets and bags to women in their most vulnerable stage of the whole process – just prior to their mastectomy.
The baskets can include the following and more: lip balm, natural flavor, thank you cards, tissues, pen, a compact, a stuffed animal, calendars, journals, or a hot/cold pack inside a handmade heart. The baskets are 100 percent made by my sister Susan and I – the hearts are all Susan, and the deliveries are both of us.
We would love to have volunteers! Please visit our webpage www.breastcancercomfort.org or send an email. Give us a shout out! We can use all the hands available.
Funding for the comfort baskets comes from myself, outside donations, and a lot of begging!! Dr. Israeli and Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, PC were the first to offer financial support and have generously continued to do so along with several other physicians. But, we are always in need of funds to continue our mission!
I would not have changed a thing… …well, maybe I would have insisted on the Anna Nicole Smith-size breasts, but then again, mine are exceptional!!!!
- Debi Cavolo