I am a 44 year old hairstylist in the Seattle area. I have been doing hair for 16 years now and it’s my passion. I also have an active 3-year-old little boy who keeps me on my toes! My hobbies include decorating, cooking, and traveling.
How did you find your surgeon? What were the specific reasons you chose him or her over other providers?
Dr. Welk wax was referred to me by a friend who had also used him for her breast reconstruction after breast cancer. She said after consulting with several other surgeons she chose him because he was described as “the surgeon that other surgeons would send their family member to.” I was sold at that point! I knew he had a reputation for being one of the best surgeons in Seattle for breast reconstruction. I also appreciated his very thorough consultation, his attention to detail, and his quick wit.
What type of procedure did you have and why did you decide to have this procedure?
I was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer and had a double mastectomy. After meeting with Dr. Welk I was confident about moving forward with implant-based breast reconstruction. I knew DIEP flap surgery was also an option but with an active 3-year-old to attend to I did not want to deal with such an intense surgery and recovery. I am glad I made the choice I did as my new breasts look and feel natural and my recovery was easy.
Describe your surgical experience and recovery.
My surgical experience was great. I was a little nervous having just had a double mastectomy a week prior, but Dr. Welk his nurse, and his entire team made me feel super comfortable and safe. When I woke up from surgery I was thrilled to hear that I did not have to have expanders placed. I had no pain or side effects from anesthesia. In fact, I felt so great that I wanted to go to grab a coffee right after surgery!
What were your fears about having this procedure and how did your surgeon help you overcome them?
Really my only fear was that I really did not want to have expanders. I wanted to have a direct-to-implant procedure and be done. Dr. Welk and I talked extensively about this and he explained that most women need the expanders for a period of time prior to having their implants placed. That said, he assured me that he would do everything he could to avoid expanders, but if that I needed them he was going to place them. I was thrilled when I woke from surgery and found I had no expanders!
Describe why you are happy you chose this procedure. How has it positively impacted your life? Your self-esteem?
When I look at myself in the mirror now I no longer see cancer. My reconstructed breasts look very natural and very similar to my originals. I feel like a woman again. It was really hard for me to have a double mastectomy at such a young age. I was left with nothing on my chest but scars for the period of time between mastectomy and reconstruction. Having the breast reconstruction done has restored my confidence and I am very happy with my decision.
Tell us specifically about why you are happy you chose the surgeon you did? Describe his/her most outstanding qualities.
In addition to being a highly skilled surgeon, Dr. Welk is just so funny. He is serious when he needs to be but he also has an extremely funny side. His humor helped make a difficult time more bearable! I appreciate his brutal honesty and the fact that he is wicked smart. For these reasons, he is definitely one of the best of the best for implant-based breast reconstruction. I also really appreciated the fact that he gave me his personal cell phone number, something he does with all of his patients, so I could contact him anytime with questions. Having access to a direct line of communication made the entire process so much less stressful as I know my questions would be answered right away.
How did our staff support you in your surgical experience?
The entire staff supported me in every possible way. I was informed of exactly what I needed to do before surgery and during my recovery. On the day of surgery, I was treated amazingly. Every question I had was answered. I felt super prepared going into my surgery and I loved the warm blankets they give you!
Do you have any advice for others who may be considering this procedure?
I really appreciated knowing that I really mattered to my doctor and you will too. Even when Dr. Welk is extremely serious, he always made me feel like I was heard by him. He truly cares about his patients and he is a very funny man as well. Just know that you are going to be in good hands.