Local surgeon donates time, money to perform breast reconstructive surgery
By Haley Hernandez – Health Reporter
Breast cancer and domestic abuse awareness month just ended, but this survival story is so incredible, it’s not simply bringing awareness to those unfortunate circumstances.
Antonietta is a testimony of how to invent a happy life when life has not treated you well.
“Dr. Rose, I don’t want to see it,” she cried when Dr. Franklin Rose of Utopia Plastic Surgery opened her chart to a photo of her body post-mastectomy.
“I have a lot of memories, really ugly,” she said.
In 2003, this mother of two’s cancer diagnosis did not include love, support and pink ribbons. Instead, she says an abusive husband got meaner, called her a monster and stood in her way of reconstruction.
“He pinched me and said no!” She said. “I was scared of him.”
After five years of misery, battling the disease and making constant trips to the emergency room, she says a doctor (doing a test out of suspicion) found extremely high levels of arsenic in her body.
“He gave me poison. So I didn’t know, I didn’t know every other week or every week I go to the hospital really sick,” Antoinetta explained when she finally realized those times of illness were a result of the alleged poisonings.
Faced with allegations of abuse, she says her husband vanished and he’s never returned.
So recently, she’s felt free and confident. She found information on The Holly Rose Ribbon Foundation, first given to her at a time when she had to hide it from her husband.
“One day I’m folding my clothes and I found the number,” she said the number literally landed in front of her.
She booked an appointment with Dr. Rose, and once he heard her story, he agreed to perform reconstructive surgery for free.
“She’s come along nicely. We put in a tissue expander, put in an implant, we still have a couple more stages to go with her but she looks great,” Dr. Rose said.
Antoinetta says she feels great too! She agreed to share her story with us to show her family how good things come to those who persevere.
“Every day I pray and I said ‘God send me angel,’” Mendez said. “God hear me every day. Thank you so much, Dr. Rose.”
Antoinetta said she never pressed charges against the alleged abuser, she says she was concerned about the implications it would have on her children.
That can be a typical concern among victims, but that does not mean anyone has to be secretly scared. For anonymous help with an abuser, you can call this National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233.
See the video and read the original story in it’s entirety:
ORIGINAL POST FOLLOWS:
TONIGHT on KPRC Channel 2 News at 5 pm Health Reporter Haley Hernandez talks with Dr. Franklin Rose & patient Antoinetta about her journey post-mastectomy & survival with help from the Holly Rose Ribbon Foundation in Houston
Houston Woman’s Road To Recovery Following Horrific Ordeal after Breast Cancer & Mastectomy
PICKING UP THE PIECES POST-MASTECTOMY; A BREAST CANCER STORY OF SURVIVAL
Houston Woman’s Life on the Road To Recovery Following a Horrific Ordeal After Treatment for Breast Cancer and Mastectomy
Her husband had been slowly poisoning her according to Antoinette, although she ultimately decided to not press charges in order to both protect her two children and in order to close that tragic chapter of her life – and to fully focus upon a personal journey of healing both her body and her mind.
Antionetta had recently been praying for an angel to help “fix her breasts”, and one particular day she found The Holly Rose Ribbon Foundation’s number in a jewelry box. She had been given the number 13 years ago by a nurse following her mastectomy procedure.
ABOUT THE HOLLY ROSE RIBBON FOUNDATION: The Holly Rose Ribbon Foundation was established in 2004 in honor of Holly Harwood Skolkin and now in her memory by Houston Plastic Surgeon Dr. Franklin Rose and silhouette artist Cindi Rose. The Holly Rose Ribbon Foundation is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization that provides 100% free reconstructive surgery to un-insured and under-insured post-cancer patients at no-cost to the survivor. We also offer grief counseling, college scholarships to cancer survivors or to those who have lost a parent to cancer, and arts in medicine activities for children currently undergoing cancer treatment at area hospitals in Houston, Texas.