SAN ANTONIO – Marquita Rascoe still lived in Pennsylvania when she learned about her sister's breast cancer diagnosis. Rascoe's sister had stage 2 invasive ductal carcinoma. Rascoe said the news shook her, and although she wasn't due for a mammogram anytime soon, she demanded the screening.
"I wasn't due for another three years to two to three years," Rascoe said.
Weeks away from her wedding and a big move to San Antonio, Rascoe made the demand.
"My diagnosis was July 26, 2018, three weeks exactly from my sister's diagnosis," Rascoe said. "Hers was July 5. She was diagnosed with the same exact breast cancer: invasive ductal carcinoma."
Marquita was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer.
Shortly after her arrival to San Antonio, the newlywed made the difficult decision of a double mastectomy.
"I cried for days because I actually thought I looked like the Bride of Frankenstein," Rascoe said.
Although implants continue to be the most common method of reconstruction for breast cancer patients who have had a mastectomy, there's an increasingly popular method that uses a patient's tissue and promises to preserve key muscles for a faster and less painful recovery: DIEP flap breast reconstruction.
Along with Rascoe's double mastectomy, Dr. Minas Chrysopoulo, from PRMA San Antonio, also performed a DIEP flap and nerve reconstruction surgery.
"DIEP flap allows us to use all the excess tissue of the lower abdomen and create a nice, warm, soft, natural-feeling breast after a mastectomy," Dr. Chrysopoulo said. "We find a nerve that provides feeling to the lower abdominal skin, and we take that with the tissue that reconstructs the breast and connect that nerve to a nerve that was cut by the mastectomy."
Rascoe had the support of her husband, daughters and family throughout her recovery. A year later, Rascoe says she loves her results.
"I didn't think that I would ever have that feeling again, you know," Rascoe said. "When I did, I'm like, I can feel something. I could feel that poke and feel that touch."
It's a sensation that makes being one year cancer-free even sweeter.