Woman who underwent double mastectomy at 28 reveals why she loves her scars
A mother has revealed how cruel trolls still bully her for a double mastectomy she had, saying she is “going to hell” for not getting a reconstruction.
When 27-year-old Stephanie Germino was told by doctors that she had a mutation in her BRCA1 gene, which means her risk of getting cancer is highly likely, she was shocked, but not surprised.
Germino chose to have her breasts removed to avoid getting the deadly illness, but opted not to have a reconstruction.
To tackle the stigma around mastectomies, Stephanie is using TikTok (@theebooblessbabe) to raise awareness, share her story and happily show off her scars.
But the now-29-year-old says she is constantly suffering insensitive and hateful comments by people online for doing so.
“I get a lot of hateful and vile comments. It’s scary how ignorant and nasty people can be,” Germino from Florida, told NeedToKnow.online.“It’s crazy how they have no problem showcasing that for the whole world to see.”
“Where did your milkers go?’, ‘You’re going to hell, repent,’” she recalled some of the comments she’s received. “As well as: ‘No guy will want you now that you’ve mutilated yourself’, ‘This generation is f***ed’, ‘No one wants to see that, disgusting.’”
According to Germino, it is important for people to know “breast cancer knows no bounds, men and women of any age can get it”.
“And I hope the trolls stop being ignorant before it affects someone they love or themselves,” she continued.
The 29 year old, who has a six-year-old son, Josiah, was very nervous before the procedure, which she had done in October 2021 at Tampa General Hospital in Florida.
She said: “I’ve known since I was 15 that I would potentially carry the mutation due to my mother also being the same. She got a preventative double mastectomy in her 40s, but unlike me, got a breast reconstruction.
“I had a little bit of anxiety the week prior to surgery but I think I had a good amount of time to process the possibility and reality of the situation. It went as well as it could have and was extremely quick as I didn’t have any type of reconstruction.”
As for why she chose not to get a reconstruction, she said there are “three reasons”.
“Being that breast implant illness is a thing and several people I know have suffered from it, this wasn’t a risk I wanted to take,” she explained. “Secondly, implant maintenance every 10 years seems like unnecessary additional surgeries.
“And I personally don’t like the way implants look without breast tissue to soften them up. Yes, there are other options other than implants such as a DIEP flap but that carries its own risk as well.”
Germino feels lucky to have her family and partner, Diana, to support her through the process.
“I’ve had nothing but support from my family, even if there were mixed emotions when it came to my aesthetic flat closure,” she said. “My fiancée was my main caregiver and at-home health aid [while I was recovering]. I was also surrounded by flowers and edible arrangements from family and friends.
“Recovery for me wasn’t too bad, the drains were the worst part. I took about a week of downtime but could move around the same day of the surgery. The scars take about six months to heal externally, and a year internally from what I’ve been told.
“I felt sore, but in good spirits.”
Germino feels much more confident and feminine since the surgery and hopes to continue to share her story online.
She added: “I’m taking lemons and turning them into lemonade. I’m here, I’m alive, I’m thriving and helping others in the process – what more can someone ask for?”
She uses social media to not only spread awareness about genetic mutations but also about the importance of getting tested. “I also want to make getting aesthetic flat closures (AFC) normalised so that every woman has the option presented,” she explained. “I know how necessary what I’m doing is because when I was deciding what I should do after surgery back in 2021, I only knew about all the different reconstruction options.
“But AFC wasn’t being showcased or presented as an option, and that needs to change. So many women share their tragic stories with me and some even share that they show my chest to their doctors and surgeons for reference, so I’m beyond honoured to share my story.”
It appears her TikTok followers are on board, with hundreds of viewers lauding her for normalising her scars.
On one post, user Heidi commented: “Beautiful,” while someone named Ryan said: “Nothing at all but a strong beautiful woman.”
“Brave amazing person,” commented Dwaynie.
“You are so beautiful and such an inspiration, I really love your message,” said another fan.