BRA Day Allows Tissue Recipient to Reflect
Kate Kane (formerly Lusenhop) has had a busy year. She completed her seventh half marathon, trained in Pelotonia to end cancer, watched her high-school aged son Scott play baseball and basketball, and took a new job as a spanish teacher at Pickerington North High School.
The New Albany resident looks back on all she’s accomplished with a sense of confidence and pride, because just one year ago, a diagnosis threatened her freedom and her life.
Kate was diagnosed with stage zero breast cancer during a routine mammogram in November, 2011. Kate opted for an aggressive treatment plan and underwent a double mastectomy in January 2012, followed by reconstructive surgery in March. Today, she is not only a breast cancer survivor, but also a tissue transplant recipient.
Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day, or BRA Day, is celebrated Wednesday, October 16 to promote education, awareness and access surrounding post-mastectomy breast reconstruction. Less than 30 percent of all women with mastectomies will undergo breast reconstruction because they are unaware of breast reconstruction options, and this campaign aims to change the facts. Kate shares her story and experience on this BRA Day because she believes receiving donor tissue and proceeding with her reconstruction was critical to her healing process.
“The reconstruction portion of my process was so fundamental to my recovery both physically and emotionally that I believe all women need to be aware of the options that are available to them,” Kate said. “Whatever we can do, me personally as part of my own community ties or through BRA day, to make this information available to women who are in these situations is great work and needs to be done.”
Breast reconstruction is achieved through several plastic surgery techniques that attempt to restore a breast to near normal shape, appearance and size following a mastectomy. To aide in breast reconstruction, plastic surgeons use donated tissue to act as a scaffolding in providing additional protective layers under the muscle for the implant in the patient. This sling is a biologic mesh made possible by the gift of donated tissue. Kate’s plastic surgeon, Dr. Chris Zochowski of Ohio Plastic Surgery Specialists, used donor tissue in her surgery, allowing her physical appearance to return to near normal. As Kate reflects on her recovery since her 2012 procedure, she says once the whirlwind dies, there’s the opportunity to rebuild.
“Once you get through the breast cancer diagnosis, then the education, then the surgeries and initial recovery, you’re able to live your life,” Kate said. “You’re in awe of how far you have come. Then, you hear of others being diagnosed and you’re put in a position where you can help someone else through her (or his) journey.”
For more information on BRA Day USA, visit www.bradayusa.org