Seattle cancer survivor opts out of breast reconstruction, fights for right to swim uncovered
Thursday, June 28, 2012
After getting a double mastectomy for breast cancer, Seattle resident Jodi Jaecks decided not to have a breast reconstruction. Her post-surgical neuropathy was bad enough that all she could think about at the time was finding ways to soothe the pain.
One of the methods she ultimately landed on was swimming, which also helped her regain her strength and range of motion, as she told Today Health. But just a year after recovering, Jaecks hit a snag - the managers of her local public pool, the Medgar Evers Pool in the city' Central District, would not allow her to swim topless.
However, after publicizing their refusal, she has since won the right to proudly display her scars while doing laps.
Breast reconstruction: A choice
Even though many women get breast reconstructions each year - 96,000, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons - an even larger number are diagnosed with breast cancer.
Currently, the National Cancer Institute estimates that, each year, 227,000 women find out they have breast cancer. Inevitably, some will not pursue breast reconstruction, either from lack of information about their post-mastectomy options or because of personal choice.
Jaecks is one of the latter. At 47 years of age, she still has no plans to get her breasts reconstructed. But what she does plan to do is swim at her public pool - and, as she told Seattle newspaper The Stranger and then Today Health, she doesn't think she should have to cover her chest.
Advocates come to her aid
"I tried one-pieces and two-pieces and looked at swimwear for women who'd had double mastectomies but they were all swimsuits with prostheses," Jaecks explained. "I'm never going to fake it. I'm not ashamed of my body."
Following the appearance of the article in The Stranger - including a photo of Jaecks wearing only swim trunks - many local and national advocates spoke up for Jaecks.
Seattle Parks and Recreation superintendent Christopher Williams has since allowed her to swim topless, and he added that his office may ultimately change its policy for women with double mastectomies.
Mapes D. Breast cancer survivor can now swim topless in Seattle's public pools. Today Health. June 21, 2012.
http://todayhealth.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/21/12343787-breast-cancer-survivor-can-now-swim-topless-in-seattles-public-pools?lite" rel="no_follow">http://todayhealth.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/21/12343787-breast-cancer-survivor-can-now-swim-topless-in-seattles-public-pools?lite Accessed June 22, 2012.
2011 Reconstructive Demographics. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. 2011. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/Documents/news-resources/statistics/2011-statistics/2011-reconstructive-procedures-trends-statistics.pdf" rel="no_follow">http://www.plasticsurgery.org/Documents/news-resources/statistics/2011-statistics/2011-reconstructive-procedures-trends-statistics.pdf Accessed June 22, 2012.
SEER Stat Fact Sheets: Breast. National Cancer Institute. http://www.seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/breast.html" rel="no_follow">http://www.seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/breast.html Accessed June 22, 2012.
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