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      Life after breast cancer : knowing your options

      Four years ago, Stacy Ferguson was home with the flu, and saw a commercial that reminded her to give herself a breast exam. She found a lump. That lump turned out to be breast cancer.

      "You don't really understand what you're going through until you hear the word chemo, and then you realize{}I have cancer. At that point, it was a little overwhelming. I had about thirty minutes of losing it, and then{}I pulled it together and decided I{}was going to face it head on," said Ferguson.

      {}But Stacy soon got good news. Her cancer was caught early enough she would not have to endure any chemo, but she would be faced with a tough choice.

      {}"I had one affected breast. I went in knowing that{}I was going to have both removed, because{}I didn't want to ever have to worry about it again," said Ferguson.

      {}She also knew right away she wanted to have breast reconstruction surgery

      {}"That was something{}I really felt like{}I really needed to do for myself, to give myself the knowledge that there was going to be a future," said Ferguson.

      "You have to walk through it together, versus, me directing her one way or the other," said Dr. Michael Spann, Stacy's plastic surgeon.

      {}Dr. Spann{}has performed many other breast reconstructions. He says there are options, and many breast cancer patients are not aware of them.

      {}"It's important for everybody to know the spectrum, from doing nothing, all the way to the major reconstructions which are involved and a process of moving tissue from one place to another," he said.

      {}In Stacys' case, she used tissue expanders, followed by implants. A decision she doesn't regret, and she wants other breast cancer survivors to feel the same.

      {}"Look at all your options, and you don't understand, don't make the decision until you do," she said.

      {}For more information on breast reconstruction, click on the link. www.bradayusa.org.