Falon’s Story

"I am so excited for more people—especially younger people—to know that flat closure is an option. This is an option. People have done it, and you can do it, too. "

© Bianca Muñiz

“I have no family history and no genetic mutations. This came out of nowhere,” Falon said of her triple-negative breast cancer diagnosis in October of 2021. She was just 29 at the time.

She credits her tumor’s discovery to something unusual: breastfeeding.

“I’ve never touched my breasts more than I did when I was breastfeeding,” she explained.

She had been breastfeeding her son for about a year when she felt a lump. While she initially chalked it up to a clogged duct, her husband urged her to see a doctor when it was still there a month later.

“I went to my family doctor, she did a physical exam. She said she felt it and sent me for imaging. I was very fortunate that I had a team that did not dismiss me.”

Still, confusion about her age meant that she was unable to have her ultrasound for three weeks. When she did, the radiologist immediately knew something was wrong.”

“The doctor was like, ‘here’s the deal: with masses in the breast, we like to have smooth edges, and yours are not smooth.’”

Falon had two options. She could stop breastfeeding and have a biopsy immediately or wait until she was finished and then continue her diagnostic workup. She had planned to breastfeed for two years, but deep down, she knew she needed to ensure that she was healthy. She opted to have the biopsy sooner rather than later. That decision likely saved her life, as a biopsy showed triple negative breast cancer. She permitted herself a moment of shock, but she was determined to enter go-mode as quickly as possible.

picture of patient
© Bianca Muñiz

“I’m a very, very type A person when it comes to information. The information overload with cancer was not a thing. I wanted to talk to my doctors. I wanted my doctors to tell me everything. I wanted to know.”

A week later, she met her team. Together, they decided that she would undergo chemotherapy before surgery, as is relatively standard with the type of cancer Falon had. Delayed surgery meant that she had extra time to think about her breast reconstruction options.

“I met the plastic surgeon, and he said it sounded like I was going to do surgery in six months but that he was coming to me to start thinking about reconstruction. He presented all of the options, including implant and tissue and flat closure. I was so shell shocked, how could I be a girl with no tits? My brain couldn’t even process that.”

Despite her initial shock at the idea of going flat, Falon quickly identified aesthetic flat closure as one of her top choices. She knew she wanted a reconstruction that was easy on her body, required minimal revision procedures, and did not disrupt the tattoos she had on her abdomen.

“I knew right away I was either going to do implant reconstruction or I would go flat.I really wanted to give myself the college try with implants, because I knew it was easier to go from the implants to flat. I really wanted a chance to see how the implants felt on my body.”

Falon was uncomfortable with her implants as soon as they were placed. Rather than offering restoration, they served as a daily reminder of what she had been through.

“The closer I tried to make my body to where it was before I had cancer, the more of a slap in the face it was that my breasts weren’t real. I would go down the steps too quickly and they would bounce around. I couldn't feel my bathing suit slip down and all those moments were like ‘you had cancer; these are fake.’”

When Falon had her implants removed and replaced with an aesthetic flat closure, she experienced immediate relief. She said she was happy to have tried the implants both for peace of mind and because it meant that she already had a plastic surgeon she trusted to complete the chest reconstruction involved in a flat closure.

“My body feels so much more comfortable now that I don’t have them. I still have some of that sensation loss but it’s less in my face without the implants over it.”

Now, she is passionate about ensuring patients know their options.

“It wasn’t an issue of not wanting to be feminine, it was an issue of not being comfortable in my body with the implants. I had never seen anyone flat. I believed all the wrong stereotypes because I had never had any experience. I am so excited for more people—especially younger people—to know that flat closure is an option. This is an option, people have done it and you can do it too.”