Fat Grafting: Breast Reconstruction – Prep, Packing and Pre-op

Fat Grafting: Breast Reconstruction – Prep, Packing and Pre-op Fat grafting for breast reconstruction requires prep, packing (if you will be traveling to your plastic surgeon) and a pre-op routine before your surgery and the morning of your surgery.  This was my personal experience for my most recent fat grafting.  There may be subtle differences as each plastic surgeon has their own protocols but there will be similarities to give you a sense of what you will need to do. Insurance Coverage This was my second fat grafting.  Insurance does not always cover the cost of a second fat grafting in breast reconstruction.  This will depend on the amount of fat grafting that needs to be done, areas that need to be addressed to achieve symmetry, and of course your insurance coverage.  It is getting challenging for plastic surgeons to cover additional fat grafting beyond the first one that is Continue Reading →

Hidden Costs of Traveling: Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Hidden Costs of Traveling: Breast Reconstruction Surgery No one knows the hidden costs of traveling for breast reconstruction surgery more than the patient themselves.  I just returned from recent fat grafting as part of my own my own DIEP flap breast reconstruction. The costs are fresh in my mind and I feel it is an important topic to write about. The WHCRA (Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998) is outlined in this article. A portion of the article states: This federal law requires most group insurance plans that cover mastectomies to also cover breast reconstruction. It was signed into law on October 21, 1998. The United States Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services oversee this law. The devil is in the details.  Look carefully at the wording, especially the word, “most”.  Insurance is becoming challenging for both patients and physicians.  Costs, restrictions, increased deductibles and co-pays Continue Reading →

One Year Post DIEP flap Breast Reconstruction

One Year Post DIEP flap Breast Reconstruction I am now one year post DIEP flap breast reconstruction. I was finalizing my surgical prep exactly one year ago today as I write this blog. My surgery was the morning of December 1, 2014.  So how am I doing now? How does my body feel? Do I have any regrets? Would I suggest having DIEP flap surgery to other women? Was I truly able to “just get on with it”? I’m doing just splendidly! I honestly believe that I’m doing quite well, in fact splendidly, and enjoying many benefits from having DIEP flap surgery after a second breast cancer diagnosis and double mastectomy. I want the reader to know so that you have hope. I just opened my social media accounts this morning before I began writing this blog post. I read a statement from a woman who was just going in Continue Reading →

A Letter to my DIEP Flap Sisters

A Letter to my DIEP Flap Sisters I have heard from a number of DIEP flap sisters lately that are having upcoming surgery for phase one or two of breast reconstruction. Some currently have cancer. Others have gone through their cancer surgery and treatments and are at the point they can now physically proceed with DIEP flap surgery. There are those of you who are BRCA positive and still others are ready to complete phase two and finalize your journey. There is excitement and exuberance in your comments. I am so excited that I have a date for my surgery! My insurance has been accepted for my DIEP flap! My surgery is just two weeks away! I will be able to look back soon on this entire process and be able to move on! I know how you feel. I sense your anticipation in removal of a disease that took Continue Reading →

#WorkoutWednesday

#WorkoutWednesday Exercises Let’s call today’s blog #WorkoutWednesday. I’m back at my desk today after an amazing trip to one of my favorite places on the earth, Seattle, Washington. I was able to enjoy family and friends as well as schedule meetings and dinners to connect with more amazing women in the breast cancer and breast reconstruction community. I unpacked my week and a half’s worth of luggage as well as my “portable office” after my flight yesterday. I was amazed at how happy I was to set my laptop back up in the office space in my home or as I have fondly named it, “The She Shed”. I missed writing, blogging, researching, sharing and reaching out to the on-line community. But the face to face meetings I had last week were invaluable. There will be blogs written as follow-ups to those experiences. It was important for me to get Continue Reading →

Flying Home After DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Flying Home After DIEP Flap Breast Reconstruction Surgery   Flying home after DIEP flap  breast reconstruction surgery has the potential of both an emotional and physical impact on the patient. It was both for me and I’d like to share my experience with you. It goes without saying, and as I explained in another travel post, be sure to plan on securing a wheelchair to get you to the gate. It was invaluable for me for two reasons. I didn’t have to worry about walking fast to my next connection and it eliminated excess swelling and pain from walking long distances at the airport. It gets you through TSA much faster, too! Physical Impact of Flying Home Weight Restrictions I highly recommend you have a travel partner for phase one of DIEP flap breast reconstruction surgery. I did and they can do the heavier lifting for you. You will be Continue Reading →

Delayed DIEP flap Breast Reconstruction

Delayed DIEP flap Breast Reconstruction ~ My Story Delayed DIEP flap breast reconstruction, my story, my experience, will hopefully give others considering this method some insight into your planning. In a perfect world immediate reconstruction, that is, reconstruction done at the same time as the mastectomy, results in the best possible aesthetic outcomes for a number of reasons.  But, we all know that breast cancer is not a perfect world. There are reasons that patients have delayed reconstruction: Adjuvant therapy Adjuvant therapy may be necessary after a mastectomy. If there are lymph nodes that have tested positive for cancer and chemotherapy or radiation is recommended, this could delay your reconstruction. My story: No lymph nodes tested positive and radiation was not deemed necessary. However, because of the type of cancer I had, left breast recurrence from twelve years previously and a new cancer in my right breast, I was encouraged Continue Reading →

DIEP flap Recovery ~ The First week home

DIEP flap Recovery ~ First week home DIEP flap recovery, first week home from hospital, or in my case back to my rental, was something I called on my best friend and caregiver to help me recount details of that week. We had a few good laughs over some events that I will share with you in this post. My husband was only able to be there for one week during my hospital stay.  Since I flew over 800 miles to have my DIEP flap surgery I had my best friend fly in to take over for him the week I left hospital. We chose to stay in a Vacation Rental by Owner facility that I wrote about the benefits of in another blog. Lots of Sleep My surgery was on a Monday and I left hospital on Saturday. The sunshine and fresh air were divine after being in a Continue Reading →

Breast Reconstruction Options Video

The embedded breast reconstruction options video is one of the reasons I chose the plastic surgery group that I did. There are other plastic surgeons across the U.S., highly qualified, that successfully perform flap reconstruction to rebuild a woman’s breasts after a cancer diagnosis. The fact is there are few who do it successfully and with great compassion. It is a specialized surgery, make no mistake about it, and takes years of training, practice and skill. It is imperative to know what makes a successful micro-surgeon and what women are looking for when they are choosing someone to perform this intricate surgery. I have listed on my resource page the following key questions to ask your plastic surgeon. How many procedures have they performed? What is their success rate? Do they work with a team?  The shared expertise is a factor as well as minimizing time for the patient in Continue Reading →

Length of Hospital Stay : DIEP flap Breast Reconstruction

Length of Hospital Stay: DIEP flap Breast Reconstruction The length of  your hospital stay after DIEP flap breast reconstruction will likely be four to five days. My surgery was on a Monday morning, I was in my room by 10 pm that evening, and I left the hospital on Saturday morning. Although my surgeon came in to ask if I was ready to leave on Friday, I stayed one extra day only because I didn’t feel strong enough to go back to the vacation rental. He gave me the option to stay another night based on how I was feeling. Remember, I flew in from out-of-town, 800 miles out of town! I had to be 100% positive in my mind that going back to a foreign environment, the vacation rental, was going to be conducive to my healing process for the week I would be there following my release from Continue Reading →