bonnie-annis

Posting since February 10, 2016

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The Lymphedema Treatment Act
August 02, 2016
The Lymphedema Treatment Act is a federal bill currently under review. Introduced in 2014 by four United States representatives, this bill would help provide coverage for the medically necessary compression garments for patients suffering with lymphedema. Before discussing the Lymphedema Treatment Act further, it’s important for you to understand the medical condition.
 
Lymphedema an incurable medical condition and can be caused by injury, trauma or congenital defects in the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system covers the entire body. It is a very intricate structure of nodules that filter lymphatic fluid. As muscles in the body contract, they apply pressure to the lymphatic vessels and this in turn, causes lymphatic fluid to move through the body. The lymph nodes contain a series of one-way valves ...

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Modesty Out the Window: One Woman's Mammogram Experience
August 02, 2016
In elementary school, I think I was in about the 4th grade, all of my girlfriends began developing their breasts. My parents used to tease me and tell me that I was "flat as a board." I admit, I was a little slower than most at developing, but I'll never forget the day my mother brought home a new bra for me.

"It's a training bra," she said. A training bra, what the heck was that? Do your boobs have to be trained? I didn't really know. This little training bra was a stretchy lace strip of fabric with two shoulder straps that hooked in the back. It would cover my tiny breast buds and help me feel a little less self-conscious. I was so ...

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Summer Challenges for Mastectomy Patients and Breast Cancer Survivors
June 02, 2016
Ah, the wonderful days of summer! How I love them, especially when they're spent at the beach! For the past week, I've basked in the warmth of the beautiful Florida sun, felt the balmy ocean breeze upon my cheek and let the cares of the world slip far, far away. It was a lovely time to relax and refresh, but now that I'm back, I can't help but think of how things would have been very different had this trip been made before my surgery.

One thing I really enjoy while on a beach vacation is getting in the water. It doesn't really matter whether it's a pool or ocean, I just love the water. This year, I didn't get in a single time. ...

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Medically Unnecessary: Fighting the Insurance Company
April 20, 2016
"Medically unnecessary." Those were the words printed in large letters across a document of denial I recently received from my insurance company. My oncologist ordered a new type of recirculating compression pump to alleviate the extreme swelling in my upper extremities. This condition, called lymphedema, occurred shortly after surgery to remove both of my breasts and several lymph nodes in each arm. As I read the letter, I became very upset. As I reread the letter, I became angry. How dare these insurance company agents determine what is and what is not necessary for my health? Shouldn't my oncologist be more educated in matters pertaining to breast cancer and the side effects? I certainly thought so. Toward the end of the letter, after the insurance ...

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Sexual Intimacy and the Male Response After a Breast Cancer Diagnosis
March 26, 2016
Sexual intimacy after breast cancer is a very difficult subject to discuss. Since I’m trying to share the good, the bad and the ugly as it relates to my breast cancer journey, I need to share something that many will consider taboo.
 
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in June of 2014. It hasn’t been two years yet, but I really do miss my breasts. Oops! I wasn’t supposed to say that, was I? But it’s the truth. Even though I wasn’t well endowed, I miss what I did have. My little breasts were mine. They were a part of me. I never dreamed I’d lose them to cancer, but I did.
 
When I had a bilateral mastectomy on July 9, 2014, I ...

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The Good Girl: Following Doctor's Orders to Combat Cancer
March 11, 2016
It's amazing how childhood tendencies toward performance-based acceptance carry over into adulthood. As the firstborn, I was raised to be the "good girl." For the most part, I did what I was told, when I was told. I obeyed the rules. I met expectations. I learned to please people and in so doing, I learned to push my wants aside. The waters were always smoother when the boat wasn't rocked, and I liked smooth sailing ... but smooth sailing is for dreamers. The reality is that the water isn't smooth for long.

When it comes to doctors, I'm a really good girl. I trust them. I listen to them. I think they know a lot more than I do because they've gone to medical ...

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Bigger and Better, Time for New Boobs!
February 29, 2016
Two years ago, I lost both of my breasts. It wasn't my choice. If I'd had my way, I would have kept them, tumor and all, but the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes. The breast surgeon said they had to go. Who was I to argue? They were just ornamental, really. My children were grown. I didn't need my breasts to nourish them any longer. But my husband kind of liked them and so did I. It was a tough decision, but a life saving one.

I took a three day vacation to the beach with my husband. I needed time to process the thought of losing my breasts, my femininity. I thought the time away would help me. One afternoon, as ...

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On Being a Rebel and Going Against Medical Advice
February 19, 2016
It was time to visit the breast surgeon again. It's been almost two years since I was first diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma with metastasis to the lymph glands, and the routine visits to my medical professionals have stretched into every six months instead of every three. 

I was hesitant about going to see her, even though I didn’t really know why. I loved my breast surgeon. She’s an awesome lady. She’s young and vibrant, full of life — and still, there was a bit of trepidation in my heart. A parking space near the door was open and waiting. I slid the car in carefully and parked. Traffic had been heavy and I had only a few minutes to spare before time for me to ...

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Flat and Fabulous: Life After Breast Cancer and a Double Mastectomy
February 10, 2016
When I was first told I had breast cancer, I was devastated. My poor little A-cups were now going to be non-existent. For years, I’d waited to go through puberty and when I finally did, I didn’t get what I had hoped for! Mother Nature was cruel. While all my friends were getting their first real bras, I got a training bra. Oh, it was pretty — a lovely white lace stretch fabric that fit quite nicely over my tiny little breast buds — but I wanted real boobs. I wanted to be voluptuous! I wanted Dolly Parton-sized boobs.

“It just wasn’t in the cards,” my mother would say. “Be happy with what you’ve got.”

I tried, but I wasn’t happy.

When ...

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January 01, 1970

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Comments I've Made
Modesty Out the Window: One Woman's Mammogram Experience
July 02, 2016
Sweet Sandals, thank you for sharing your story with me! I'm so glad there are others who have suffered embarrassment from having a less than ample chest. I don't understand why society puts such emphasis on breasts anyway! God bless you as you continue your fight. Each decision we make has to be one that personally fits our need and others may not always understand it. I am fighting cancer through alternative medicine. I chose not to do chemo because I didn't want to put poison into my body. I did do radiation, however, 28 rounds. I tried 3 of the adjuvant therapy meds (Arimidex, Aromasin, and Tamoxifen) and all of them gave me terrible side effects. That's when I made my decision to use ...

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Sexual Intimacy and the Male Response After a Breast Cancer Diagnosis
June 06, 2016
Peterson4082, I am sorry somehow I missed your post. I am thankful you were brave enough to take the initiative with your husband. It's hard to learn to reinvent intimacy with your spouse but it can be done. I'm still finding challenges in this area of my life but we are working through it.

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Summer Challenges for Mastectomy Patients and Breast Cancer Survivors
June 06, 2016
Maria, thanks for your encouragement and courage! I guess I need to learn to be brave and not care about what others think. I still struggle in that area. I agree with you that we have the right to wear whatever we like and we shouldn't worry about being judged. I'm going to remember all you've shared and on my next summer vacation, be bold and fearless!

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Medically Unnecessary: Fighting the Insurance Company
April 30, 2016
Thank you, LymphActivist! I'll definitely follow your advice and hopefully get approved. Your information was very helpful. I had not heard about this before now.

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Medically Unnecessary: Fighting the Insurance Company
April 30, 2016
Thank you for this helpful information, Jackie!

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Flat and Fabulous: Life After Breast Cancer and a Double Mastectomy
April 30, 2016
Vroni, Good for you! Your positive attitude toward losing your breasts is wonderful. I think if we learn to accept ourselves exactly as we are, others will too. We should start a group of FLAT AND FABULOUS women! I'm sure there are more of us out there than we realize.

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Flat and Fabulous: Life After Breast Cancer and a Double Mastectomy
April 30, 2016
Toria, I agree with you wholeheartedly! It takes bravery to be able to live in a world that's focused on sensuality but it can be done! Just because we no longer have breasts doesn't mean we aren't still very vibrant feminine women. Thank you for reading my article!

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