I am the spokesperson for the Department Of Labor and Industries. I am 54 and have 27-year-old twin boys who are 6’6″ tall. I love to garden and work in my yard. I am also the current Miss Senior Washington, United States.
How did you find your surgeon? What were the specific reasons you chose him or her over other providers?
A friend of mine suggested I consult with Doctor Paige. She had undergone DIEP flap surgery with him several years prior and was very pleased with her results. I had also read an article that referenced Dr. Paige as being one of the best microsurgeons on the West Coast. I knew I was going to be in good hands.
What type of procedure did you have and why did you decide to have this procedure?
After being diagnosed with breast cancer I knew I wanted to have breast reconstruction done. I wanted to avoid breast implants because of some of the associated problems that can sometimes come with them: possible implant illness, capsular contracture, and the need for replacement and additional surgery down the road.
Describe your surgical experience and recovery.
I had both of my breasts reconstructed and my surgery was about 10 hours long. I am happy to say that I had absolutely no problems during surgery or recovery. Of course, with such an intense surgery recovering wasn’t a walk in the park, but it was much easier than I had expected. I was standing up straight and walking around a week later.
What were your fears about having this procedure and how did your surgeon help you overcome them?
My biggest fear was that the tissue would die and the surgery would be a failure. Dr. Paige and his nurse, Susan, were both great about providing reassurance and emphasizing the small risk of that actually happening. I was even more reassured by and how many successful procedures he had done.
Describe why you are happy you chose this procedure. How has it positively impacted your life? Your self-esteem?
Having breasts that look and feel natural is fantastic. Dr. Paige did such a great job. Even my oncologist thought the non-cancer side was real! Another added bonus is that my stomach is a bit flatter than it was before. I will be going in for another round of fat grafting and scar revision in the near future.
Having natural-looking breasts has boosted my confidence so much that I became the current Ms. Senior Washington, United States. I will be competing at Nationals in January and the best part about that is that I won’t have to worry about wearing a strapless bra with my gown! I also feel good knowing that I won’t suffer any of the potential downsides that can come along with having breast implants.
Tell us specifically about why you are happy you chose the surgeon you did? Describe his/her most outstanding qualities.
His hair! I mean, have you seen it? At one appointment he asked me if I’d gained weight. I asked him if he lost some hair! Since then we’ve become good friends. His professionalism and empathy are two of his most outstanding qualities. His knowledge and surgical skill can’t be topped. He will do whatever I ask that is reasonable to ensure I am pleased with the results but doesn’t cross boundaries into areas that are not part of my breast cancer reconstruction. I also would like to add
before my DIEP surgery, one of my tissue expanders leaked. Dr. Paige removed it and put in a new one that unfortunately became infected. He saved me from dying from sepsis and showed that he really cares about his patients and his work.
How did our staff support you in your surgical experience?
The entire staff was wonderful and quick to answer phone calls with questions.
Do you have any advice for others who may be considering this procedure?
Receiving a breast cancer diagnosis is devastating. There are very few things you can control once you start on the journey. One thing you can choose is whether or not to have breast reconstruction and what type. Dr. Paige told me it was ultimately my decision and gave me all the information I needed to make an informed decision about the surgery that was right for me. I would recommend Dr. Paige and DIEP flap breast reconstruction to anyone without hesitation.
Just do it! The recovery is not as difficult as many make it sound. You’ll be so happy you chose DIEP over breast implants. My only advice is to not rush your recovery. Have realistic expectations and allow people to help you.