Me and the Girls: Jenee Bobbora
She wanted her breasts removed, including the skin, for fear that her inflammatory breast cancer might lurk there. "I told my doctor... 'I want the most aggressive treatment that you have. I told my surgeon, don't be saving the skin and trying to make my incision pretty. Be done with it. I don't care what it looks like... I just needed to get rid of my breasts. They were bad news."
But before her surgery, Bobbora got six months of chemotherapy. And after her surgery, she got radiation therapy twice daily, and she started taking the drug tamoxifen to help kill any remaining cancer cells and to prevent cancer's return.
Her treatment, which took about a year, was often exhausting. "It took me a good two years before I had even remotely close to the energy level that I felt like I had before I was diagnosed," she says.
But she has no regrets. Bobbora likes the "big hammer theory" of treating breast cancer. "The big hammer theory is that when you find out that you have cancer, you find the biggest hammer that you have and you use it," she says. "You don't go, 'Well, I would really rather not have that,' or 'I don't want to lose my hair'... It's a very serious disease and it's not to be messed around with. But you can overcome it."
No reconstruction: Because of her intensive radiation therapy, Bobbora says her doctors advised against trying to do breast reconstruction.
"I said fine," Bobbora recalls. "Frankly, I was so tired the first years after my treatment, and my daughter was 2, and then 3, and then 4. It has just not been a priority for me." Bobbora says she hasn't ruled out reconstruction at a later date, and talked to a plastic surgeon about it last year but was daunted by what she heard about being in the hospital for seven days and not being able to drive or lift anything for six weeks afterward.
"I'm like, Stop!" Bobbora says. "I don't even want to think about that right now. Every year that's gone by, it's really not a big deal for me.... I think I do want to do it, I just don't know when it's going to be."