Susan Danenberger’s planned trip to Manhattan this month to provide an opportunity to model a specially designed bra will give the rural New Berlin vineyard owner the opportunity to cross the psychological threshold that separates a cancer victim from the breast of a survivor.
“It’s like a mindset change to eliminate all this because it weighs on you,” he told The State Journal-Register this week.
Danenberger, 52, owner of Danenberger Family Vineyards, said she was looking forward to becoming a volunteer fashion model at a fashion show in New York on February 10 to promote the AnaOno women’s lingerie line during and after cancer treatment.
AnaOno’s attractive bras and loungewear feature soft seams and materials for scars and skin damaged by radiation, as well as pockets to hold the drainage tanks.
At Fashion Week in New York, AnaOno’s underwear will be shaped by breast cancer survivors, all of whom have suffered from metastatic cancer or cancer that has spread from the origin and makes future recurrence even more likely.
“All women are happy to go to New York Fashion Week,” said Danenberger, who added that he liked to wear fashionable clothes that flattered his figure.
“But I will also be with women who have experienced exactly the same thing and who are in different parts of their careers,” she said. “We will all come together and create links, I think it will enrich my soul and I hope it can also be a” cube filling “for some of them.”
Danenberger’s travel expenses will be paid with funds raised by his primary care physician, Dr. Nicole Florence, of Memorial Physician Services.
During the trip to New York, Danenberger will be accompanied by Florence, who will cover their expenses, as well as by Dr. Nicole Sommer, plastic surgeon of medicine, and Maria Ansley, photographer of the Plastic Surgery Institute of the UES… The School of Medicine at the University of Southern Illinois covers the travel expenses of Sommer and Ansley.
Married as the mother of two grown children, Danenberger has partnered with AnaOno, a lingerie company based in Philadelphia, through her local efforts to promote knowledge of breast reconstruction.
Danenberger’s double mastectomy took place 2 years ago to treat cancer that had spread from a lumpectomy of the left breast in 2014. And those five months after the reconstruction of Sommer’s breast.
Danenberger participated in a television commercial and promotional material for the UES on breast reconstruction. She proposed her hold for SIU’s “Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day” site last fall.
Breast reconstruction after breast removal has been available for decades, with improved techniques in recent years and a 1998 federal law that requires insurance plans to cover multiple reconstruction procedures if the plan covers breast cancer.
However, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, less than one in 5 women who undergo a mastectomy opted for reconstructive surgery, which may begin at the time of the mastectomy or later. According to the society, less than half of women who require a mastectomy receive even breast reconstruction by their doctor.
Many women are unaware of the reconstruction option or fear the insurance will cover at least part of the costs, Sommer said.
Mammary reconstructions can cost between $ 38,000 and $ 78,000 or more, according to a 2016 study published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
Danenberger said she was not satisfied with the reconstruction she had done in St. Louis after her mastectomy in 2016, which also took place in St. Louis.
Later she learned through a client from the winery about Sommer. When conversing with Sommer, he also discovered that insurance would cover follow-up surgeries to improve reconstructions.
Danenberger, who recounted her breast reconstruction trip on her Instagram account, wrote online that before the Sommer procedure, her breasts were “unbalanced and ugly, with scars, bumps, scrapes and two different sizes.”
Danenberger said she did not want to stay flat after the mastectomy, but she also did not want to feel embarrassed, with breasts that were not symmetrical.
“I know that little things like this seem stupid and simple, but it makes a difference in your life,” she said.
With a good reconstruction, she said: “You can dress like a normal person and go to work without feeling ashamed … I’m in the public eye in my warehouse every day.”
Danenberger says she is “very, very satisfied” with the results of Sommer’s work.
“She literally took me out of hell,” said Danenberger.
Danenberger was working with Ansley to prepare for Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day last year when they learned online that AnaOno was preparing a fashion show at a medical conference in Chicago.
The women thought it would be fun for AnaOno to perform a show in the Springfield area one day. They then contacted the company’s founder, designer Dana Donofree, who was also a breast cancer survivor.
Over the phone, Donofree informed the women about their preparations for the February New York parade, the third year of AnaOno to participate in Fashion Week. Ansley made a suggestion:
“I literally said,” the great example will be for this. I think she has a great presence. She photographs well.
Ansley told the newspaper that Danenberger, who has also contributed to the charitable efforts of the Hope Social Services Organization and the Phoenix Nonprofit Center, is “a generous person.”
The discussions between Ansley, Donofree, and Danenberger culminated with Danenberger’s invitation in December to attend AnaOno’s February presentation as a role model.
Danenberger said she knew nothing about AnaOno products when it was treated and rebuilt, but he would have liked it. She said she had to be creative to hide the drains she had to carry to collect the fluid for 44 days after her mastectomy.
Now that her life seems more normal, she said she would love to enjoy her survivor status on her trip to New York, even if she’s a little worried about becoming a fashion model with just a bra and lace panties.
But at the end of the trip, she said, is “to show people that they can fight metastatic breast cancer and come back to life, and also let people know that Springfield has this wonderful center of plastic surgery.”
And this incredible doctor. Dr. Sommer. And it’s not just his talent, it’s his heart. She is here to really help people.