"When I made the decision to have a Unilateral Mastectomy in December 2012, I knew immediately I didn't want to have reconstruction. I also knew that, for me, removing my healthy breast would not be something I could justify, either.
"I am so fortunate my husband and daughter were right behind me, no matter what I chose to do and I will be forever grateful to my surgeon, who didn't try to influence my decision either way. He simply told me the door was not closed, should I change my mind later. For me, I have never wavered and still feel it was the right decision for me.
"I had a very positive influence in that my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer just 4 months after my dad passed away in '94. I was with her through all her testing, many appointments, and after her radical mastectomy with axillary clearance. I had no idea then how her dignity and grace, not to mention her wicked sense of humor during such a dark time in her life, would have such a positive impact on me all these years later.
"For me, the transition post surgery wasn't difficult. I felt great and so relieved when it was done. My final pathology was good, and I didn't require any further treatment.
"I was taken aback when a former colleague, who had the same diagnosis a few years before me, asked me what kind of reconstruction I was having. When I told her I wasn't having any reconstruction, she spat out, 'How can you bear to look at yourself?!' I was able to answer, without hesitation, that I have absolutely no issue with the way I look, and I actually feel proud of my scar, because that is the way it is, for me."
-- Ariom, no reconstruction