The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction is so proud to publish this moving article featuring Liz Munn, a breast cancer survivor who’s passionate about educating others about breast cancer and finding funding for uninsured women. Thank you, Liz, for sharing your story with the world.
You’re coming up on the first anniversary of your breast cancer diagnosis, tell us about your year.
I learned a great deal about myself this year. I have come to appreciate the things that are important to me a little more, and of course that includes my family and friends. I think this year taught me not to waste time with things that aren’t as important as others. It provided with me focus and gave me strength I didn’t know I had.
How do you feel like a collaborative team of physicians/surgeons was important to your recovery?
This process takes dedication. I would say that’s also the perfect word to describe this team. There is nothing easy about the process and it can be trying. But this team was dedicated to seeing a successful outcome for me from the start. No question was too small, and they supported me the entire way through. I can’t say enough about how well I was treated and supported by everyone involved. My husband and I are so thankful to have had that type of support. I appreciated being able to see the entire team at one location; it helped when I was recovering and my energy was a hot commodity.
Did you speak to anyone who had reconstruction prior to choosing your procedure? Did you find this helpful?
When I was diagnosed, it was overwhelming for me. My sister worked with a patient of Dr. Craigie’s and we had several long conversations about the procedure. She had a complicated case. Her treatment involved multiple surgeries and some delays with reconstruction for treatment options. Even after all she had been through she still felt this was the best option for her. She was very supportive and understanding of the difficult decisions that I needed to make for myself. My main concern was for my long-term results and the best possible outcome. With the risks and benefits of reconstruction in mind, I knew it was the right decision for me. The success rate for natural reconstruction was extremely high and I was a good candidate for the surgery. I was so glad to have others (who had been through the surgery) to talk to, and it was a huge comfort for me.
You, like many of our patients, feel a need to give back. We understand your passion is promoting the importance of screening mammograms and finding funding for those who might be uninsured, what’s your plan to get the word out?
I believe everyone has a gift, and my gift is helping people grow their businesses. I plan to hold an annual training webinar through my website with all proceeds going to Lowcountry Komen. I was so fortunate to have great health insurance and live in a place that has amazing healthcare available, but not everyone is in that situation. I believe that mammograms and available choices for treatment and reconstruction are the most important things women can receive from her health provider. However, many women are afraid to see a doctor or don’t understand the process. Knowledge and choice are truly powerful things, and I know that Lowcountry Komen supports these ideals.
I am also willing to discuss my personal journey with anyone at any time. Sometimes seeing that it is possible to get better, and knowing that it does get easier, gives you the courage and energy to take care of yourself.