Flappers and Friends, Shared Experience

Today’s survivor (in the blue stripes with members of the staff) was the leader of “The Flappers.” These were self described women who had tram-flaps as a reconstructive procedure after mastectomy and met for years for dinners or lunch. I was happy as their breast surgeon to be included at some of these events along with the plastic surgeon, Dr. Jay Birnbaum, an excellent plastic surgeon who did all the “flaps.” Even women who didn’t have tram-flaps wanted to be part of this group. This survivor is a quiet leader, strong and resolute and is a long term survivor.

IN HER OWN WORDS: I was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 1997. You first think of it as a death sentence. My family was very supportive. My husband cooked, my son took care of the wash, and my daughter took care of me.

Through Dr. Kehoe I met women in the same situation. All of us got very friendly (we shared the same breast surgeon and plastic surgeon) and supportive of one another. In fact,we even would go out for dinner once or twice a year with the doctors.

In 2001 I had a recurrence.  The same support from my family & friends was there.  Because we all had mastectomies and tram-flaps, we call ourselves “The Flappers.”  What a wonderful group of women! We were there for each other and sharing our experiences about breast cancer and what we were going through which I found extremely supportive.

To this day, the group of “Flappers” still meet for lunch once or twice a year and stay in touch with one another. Out of something so terrible came something wonderful–meeting a whole new group of good friends!!