Reflections of Gratitude from DiepCFoundation

Reflections of Gratitude from DiepCFoundation November and the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday have given me time to stop and reflect the true feelings of gratitude and this honor given to DiepCFoundation. “Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery”, the official journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, published a special forward to their November 2017 supplement issue on “Advances in Breast Reconstruction.” The Journal contacted me prior to publication to let me know Dr. Rod Rohrich would be quoting me in the introduction to this supplement. September was an extremely busy month planning for upcoming conferences, fundraisers, and my own Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day. Although, excited, I must admit I didn’t take time to appreciate the true impact of the honor.   I want to take this opportunity to publicly express my gratitude to the Journal, Dr. Rohrich, the Journal editorial staff, and the many board certified plastic surgeons who tirelessly work to find Continue Reading →

This is What Happens through DIEP flap Connections

This is What Happens through DIEP flap Connections Education about breast reconstruction options after breast cancer and mastectomy: This is what happens through DIEP flap connections. Two women living in two different parts of the country, one surgeon, a plastic surgery team, and a desire by all to educate and inform! I traveled to have my DIEP flap breast reconstruction in December of 2014 at PRMA in San Antonio, Texas. I was connected to another woman, Rhonda, now a “breast friend”, through PRMA when she became interested in DIEP flap. I was part of the Pink Ladies Support Group at PRMA.  This group speaks to other women about their own experience and traveling to have DIEP flap. Rhonda, like me, was interested in booking her surgery with Dr. Minas Chrysopoulo. I received the following email the morning of January 25, 2016. Hey gals!  Dr. C has an out of state Continue Reading →

Support During DIEP Flap Surgery

Support During DIEP Flap Surgery Finding support during DIEP flap breast reconstruction is paramount to the success and recovery of your surgery.  When I speak to others who are contemplating this type of breast reconstruction one of the first questions I ask is, “Do you have a support system?”  I follow that with the statement, “You will need it for this surgery!” Support during DIEP flap can include a variety of individuals both personal and professional.  I wanted to take a retrospective look at the support women had for their DIEP flap surgery.  I posted this question in the on-line support group I administer for breast reconstruction after mastectomy. Name the three people who you found the greatest support from during your own DIEP flap breast reconstruction process. Breast surgeons, plastic surgeons, family members and friends can look at the replies from these women who have already had DIEP, who it Continue Reading →

Finding a Breast Reconstruction Plastic Surgeon

Finding a Breast Reconstruction Plastic Surgeon How did you find your plastic surgeon?  This poll question was posted recently on the closed, private Facebook page supporting breast reconstruction patients.  These were the three response questions to choose from. Recommendation from another physician, if so, which one in comments please. Oncologist, breast surgeon, primary care or other? 64 respondents Online research? 20 respondents Recommendation from a friend? 17 respondents Question 1: Recommendation from another physician. Of the 64 respondents, not all listed the type of physician they received their recommendation from in the comments. Here are the results of the respondents who did comment. Breast surgeon: 37 Oncologist: 4 Primary Care 2 Other listed referrals included the following: Mammography technician Receptionist at an oncology office Nurse practitioner Breast cancer patient navigator Genetic oncologist It is interesting to note that most women got recommendations from their breast surgeons.  I was fortunate to Continue Reading →

Exercise After Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Going in DIEP! Exercise after breast reconstruction surgery is a tricky game. You must clear it with your plastic surgeon. Your incisions must be completely healed so that you do not compromise the healing process. One question I asked my PS (plastic surgeon) at my pre-op appointment before the final phase of my reconstruction was when I could get back to swimming. We have a pool in our backyard and I felt it would be good rehab as a post-surgical exercise. His answer, “When you are ready and when the wounds are all healed”. New Sensations and Healing I’ve been working up to this moment today. I emailed the nurse at my plastic surgeon’s office a couple of weeks ago and told her I was feeling some interesting and strange new sensations in my breasts. I couldn’t really put the feelings into words but I think she completely understood. She Continue Reading →

DIEPflap Breast Reconstruction: Aesthetic Questions to Ask Your Plastic Surgeon

DIEPflap Breast Reconstruction: Aesthetic Questions to Ask Your Plastic Surgeon DIEPflap breast reconstruction & aesthetic questions to ask your plastic surgeon involves more than  you may or may not have given much thought to.  You have had a mastectomy due to breast cancer. You have tested positive for the BRCA gene and are facing the decision to have a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy to significantly decrease your chances of getting breast cancer. Perhaps you are even going in for a consult to repair damage done at another practice and are looking for better results.  Now you’re researching and thinking about breast reconstruction options. You found a board certified plastic surgeon with great skill and a high rate of success. The consult appointment has been set up. You write down as many questions as you can and hope beyond hope that you will be given the time to have all of them Continue Reading →

Bilateral Prophylactic Mastectomy

  Bilateral Prophylactic Mastectomy ~ Is it Right for You? When I read an article about BPM posted on Facebook by my reconstruction surgeon I knew immediately what the letters stood for and so do those in the BRCA and cancer community. Out of pure curiosity I searched on the internet the “meaning of BPM” without adding “medical” to the search. You get some interesting as well as hilarious results: British Prime Minister, Beam Position Monitor, Business Performance Management, Blood Pressure Monitor, Beats per Minute and my favorite, Butt Pumping Music! The Angelina Effect Bilateral prophylactic mastectomy became a popular news topic after Angelina Jolie shared that she reduced her risk by nearly 90% of ever getting breast cancer because of choosing a BPM. She tested positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation and her mother died of ovarian cancer. I wrote a previous blog on this and completely understand why Continue Reading →

The Perfect Breast Shape and Plastic Surgery

How I got to the “Breast” Shape Ever Twitter is such a valuable tool for me. A year ago my Twitter account was full of nothing but educational websites. I returned to school to attain my M.Ed. and I used it for the sole purpose of gathering information about the latest “speak” in education. I did not tweet, like, retweet, or DM (direct message). I only lurked and learned. The lurking and learning changed in October of 2014. School ended for me to focus on my health.  My Twitter account went from education to all things breast cancer and breast reconstruction. I entered the world of plastic surgery as a breast reconstruction patient after undergoing a double mastectomy following a second breast cancer diagnosis. It was a world I was unfamiliar with and had much to learn about both on an academic and emotional level. I was now following, being Continue Reading →

A Letter to Secretary Sylvia Burwell

Dear Secretary Burwell, I enjoyed reading your bio on the HHS.gov website because I found we have a few things in common and I value human connections. We are both passionate about ensuring that individuals lead healthy and productive lives. Your outreach is far greater than mine and I am grateful for your passion and mission. My outreach, smaller though no less important, is to breast cancer patients who have been faced with a mastectomy. We are both former Seattle residents. As former President of the Global Development Program for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation you focused your efforts again on health.  I was an educator in Seattle at Sacred Heart School in Bellevue and had a brief opportunity to meet Melinda Gates when she visited our school and came into my classroom.  I was struck by her unpretentious manner and was humbled to speak to her and meet Continue Reading →

Surgical Drains

A Bit of Self-deprecating Humor Never Hurts Just When I Thought I’d Take a Day Off The first time I wrote about surgical drains and posted this was a Friday.  So here I go again…. do overs!  Enjoy the re-post and fair warning, I love Funday Friday so it might not be the last time you see this post! It’s Friday afternoon.  I swore I was going to take today off.  No writing today, even though I had tons of ideas floating around in my head.  Stay away from the computer.  Well, here I am.  I am inspired to write from others most of the time and today is no exception.  Social Media made me do it.  Care of surgical drains was posted today both by my surgeon and his surgical group.  I always felt like it was a topic I needed to cover in a post so today is Continue Reading →