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BY Uniqua Smith, Ph.D.

As a former nurse in MD Anderson’s Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU), I felt pretty familiar with breast cancer surgery. So, I thought I knew what to expect when I scheduled my own mastectomy last August.

But, as it turns out, going through the process as a patient myself held some surprises. Here are five things I didn’t anticipate and how I handled them.

1. Embrace your range of motion exercises

When I was a PACU...

Triple-negative breast cancer survivor and nursing administrator Uniqua Smith, Ph.D.

BY Kellie Bramlet Blackburn

Frances Arnoult had a double mastectomy, but she never had to see what she would have looked like without breasts. That’s because her MD Anderson...

BY Racheal Martin

Before I started breast cancer treatment at age 35, I had all sorts of ideas about how difficult my life was about to get. In a way, I was...

BY Terry Arnold

Maybe I’m a late bloomer. After being diagnosed with triple-negative inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) in August 2007, I had a double mastectomy at MD Anderson. But I didn’t have breast reconstruction surgery until this March, almost 10 years later.

Why did I wait so long? For many reasons. 

Living ‘breast-free’ was an easy choice — initially

For one thing, after a brutal year of treatment, I was told that breast...

Cancerwise blog post: Terry Arnold and grandbaby; inflammatory breast cancer, breast cancer treatment, triple-negative breast cancer, breast reconstruction

BY Mena El-Sharkawi

Rebecca Stedman believes that every experience had in life serves a purpose, and cancer is no exception.

“Just as I felt like I was...

BY Brittany Cordeiro

When Suzanne Callahan first came to MD Anderson in 1997, she was a terrified 38-year-old mother with stage IIIB breast cancer in her left...

BY Mena El-Sharkawi

As Rebecca Stedman has learned firsthand, breast cancer treatment doesn’t always go as planned. That’s why she’s glad that she started her...

BY Mena El-Sharkawi

Linda Phetphongsy is still trying to adjust to life with breast implants, though she welcomes the peace of mind they bring her.

“I...

BY Amy Countiss

When you receive a cancer diagnosis, you quickly learn just how precious life is.

Almost seven years ago, I learned I had stage IIIC...

BY Amy Countiss

When my very first mammogram revealed stage IIIC breast cancer, I was dealt the shock of my life.

My mother died just seven months...