MOUNTAIN BROOK, Ala. (WIAT) - Whether for prevention or as a result of breast cancer. Having a double mastectomy is a life altering decision.
It's something Mountain Brook mother of three Jodie Benck knows all too well. "You know there's a big part of my body that's missing, a physical part and you know that's something I deal with every single day."
Two years ago, Benck had a double mastectomy after learning she carried a BRCA2 gene mutation. A mutation linked to a much higher risk of breast and ovarian cancers.
"My mother had ovarian cancer and my grandmother had breast cancer and that was a red flag."
Genetic testing revealed Jodie had a high chance of developing breast and ovarian cancer.
"I had my ovaries taken out, I woke up from that surgery and immediately went into menopause."
Life changing decisions, to increase her chances of living a life free of cancer, and to be around for her family.
But losing parts of her body took a toll. "It took my a long time to get over it."
From feeling incomplete, to struggles with appearance. "Everything had to be buttoned and slowly put on. My wardrobe changed dramatically."
After reconstructive surgeries and therapy, both mental and physical, Jodie says those struggles were only temporary.
"So worth it, knowing that I'm healthy, knowing that I've reduced my chances, and knowing that my children and my husband aren't going to have to watch me suffer. It was completely worth it. I would do it again."
While Jodie opted for the procedure as a preventative procedure Nancy Bantz opted for the double mastectomy after a cancer diagnosis.
For Nancy a major part of the healing process was finding a way to regain her figure. But as bantz found out she couldn't get her natural look with traditional breast implants.
So she opted for a new alternative called "gummy bear" implants. The difference? These new implants also replace tissue removed from the upper chest.
Bantz says, "I feel pretty much like I'm back together again. Like I'm whole. Like I'm - you'll never be exactly the same as you were. And I knew that, but I am extremely happy with my results, so far."
You can learn more about the "gummy bear" implants by clicking here.
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