Doctor documents journeys of breast cancer survivors in book to help them heal, raise awareness
Breast cancer survivors shared their experiences in a book with their doctor as a therapeutic tool and a way to raise money for research.
Brenda Confessore, a mother of three from Greenlawn, says she was in shock when she was diagnosed with breast cancer one year ago.
“Just thinking in my head, ‘This is over, this is it. I’m not going to make it,’” she says. “I have three girls, I have a husband. They're too young, they need a mom— and I wasn't going to be there.”
Rebecca, a young mother from Roslyn, was also put in a similar position after she underwent some health checks.
“When I was in my early 20s, I did genetic testing and learned that I inherited the BRACA 2 genetic mutation, which essentially puts me at a significantly higher risk for developing associated cancers. One of them is breast cancer,” she says.
Both mothers made the decision to get mastectomies, with Rebecca’s being a preventative measure.
“The minute I found out that I carried this mutation, I knew that I would do everything I could preventatively so that I could be the one in control so this wasn't my reality down the road,” Rebecca says.
The Long Island mothers also had their reconstructive breast surgeries done by Dr. Jonathan Bank, of NYBRA Plastic surgery.
Bank documented 24 breast cancer survivors on their journeys, including Confessore and Rebecca.
“This year, we had an opportunity to release a book that captures really the essence of what we do in plastic surgery,” he says. “Not from a physical side so much, but from an emotional aspect.”
The book, called "Before the After," features photos of Bank’s patients and a written entry documenting how they were feeling during the most difficult times in their lives.
The photos show the women on some of the hardest days of their lives and after their surgeries.
“They all capture what everyone is going for— hope and a smile,” Bank says.
The women who took part in the project say they shared their stories in hopes of inspiring others with their healing process and to bring attention to breast cancer in all forms.
“Today, I am so thankful that that was the path that I chose,” Rebecca says.
Confessore adds, “I'm here now, and that's what counts.”
The proceeds raised from "Before the After" go toward Making Strides Against Breast Cancer on Long Island.