The Myself: Together Again Project (M:TA) started as a Susan G. Komen North Carolina Triangle Affiliate grant in 2006 and grew to become a 501 c-3 public charity in 2007 after our appearance on the Today Show. From 2006-2010 Debbie and the M:TA Team worked tirelessly to get our first book into hospitals and Dr.’s offices all over the world. Our mission was simple: we wanted women to feel empowered and educated going into tissue expander breast reconstruction following mastectomy surgery. We felt strongly that if women could see real “process” pictures when they first meet with their plastic surgeon after diagnosis then they could be better prepared to be an advocate for themselves throughout the breast reconstruction process.
Debbie Horwitz, M:TA’s founder and leader was diagnosed with breast cancer 9 years ago when she was 32 years old and engaged to be married. Debbie lost her mother to breast cancer at 9 years old, and learned after her own diagnosis at a young age that she had the BRAC-1 genetic mutation. With this information, Debbie knew that a double mastectomy was her only option, yet she had no idea what she would look like following double mastectomy surgery and reconstruction. At Debbie’s initial plastic surgeon’s appointment she asked to see pictures of what she would look like through each stage of the journey and her surgeon informed her that those type of process pictures did not exist. From that point forward Debbie set out on a mission to change that and make sure that the women that came behind her, diagnosed with breast cancer, would have the pictures they needed in order to feel educated about reconstruction.
In 2010 M:TA celebrated 5 years of doing this work and Debbie and her team celebrated the many people who have made this work possible; in particular, M:TA’s lead sponsors. See our 5 year anniversary video here. Today, there is a second book that was produced in 2011 with a patient named Sherri. Debbie knew that her reconstruction and subsequently first book was beginning to be outdated and it was time to take a look at what women are experiencing today with reconstruction. Sherri’s book became available in February 2012.
The M:TA Project team hopes some of your questions are answered within the pages of our books. But remember, your own medical team knows your unique situation best. This is just two women’s stories and it is important to know that reconstruction results will vary for each woman. The Myself: Together Again books are available on this website. (First book is available in Spanish.)