“Kathy is one of my favorite patients. She brings a smile to my face every time I see her. Her bravery in the face of a number of very difficult trials this year has impressed and inspired me. She is a great example for other patients in similar situations.”Dr. Ashinoff.
What a year it has been for Kathy Leonard! The pharmacist technician from Neptune City had decided to move ahead with a breast reduction to relieve her increasing back, collarbone and shoulder pain. She was referred to Dr. Russell Ashinoff at The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction and had her first consultation in early summer 2010. A second consultation followed and Kathy underwent surgery that August.
When breast tissue is removed during surgery, it is analyzed by a pathologist. In Kathy’s case, this proved life-saving. Breast cancer was detected in the samples.
“It’s kind of hard to describe. If my sister wasn’t with me to also hear it, I wouldn’t have believed it,” says Kathy of her diagnosis. While she does have a family history (her now deceased paternal grandmother had a mastectomy 20 years ago), Kathy has had regular mammograms, none of which detected any cancer. “My breast reduction was a blessing that saved my life. My oncologist told me that if I hadn’t had it, by the time my cancer would have been found, it would have been Stage 4.”
Things moved swiftly, and one week after receiving her diagnosis she underwent a bilateral mastectomy with Dr. Jarrod Kaufman, followed by immediate breast reconstruction. She has since completed the second stage of the reconstructive process with Dr. Ashinoff and expects to complete the third, and final, stage by spring 2012. She sees Dr. Ashinoff every six weeks for monitoring to ensure she is healing properly.
“Today I’m feeling great and my shoulders and back feel fine,” remarks Kathy, whose treatment and recuperation period were strained by the loss of her father to rectal cancer and her nephew in an automobile accident. “Sometimes I get a little emotional. I’m a single parent with an 18-year-old daughter, so I’ve had to focus on keeping my job and health insurance. It definitely has been hard, but I’m grateful to be alive.”
“Kathy is one of my favorite patients. She brings a smile to my face every time I see her,” says Dr. Ashinoff. “Her bravery in the face of a number of very difficult trials this year has impressed and inspired me. She is a great example for other patients in similar situations.”
“Dr. Ashinoff called me personally the night after he told me I had cancer,” Kathy says. “Every single time I’ve had surgery, he’s been phenomenal. I’ve seen him just before having anesthesia and he’s always made me feel relaxed, comfortable and confident that I’d be fine.
“I’ve recommended him and his staff at the Institute for Advanced Reconstruction to so many people. I can’t say enough how special and caring he is. I’ve never felt this way about a doctor before. He’s really touched my life.”