I am originally from Trinidad but have lived in the Seattle area since the ‘90s. I am a breast cancer survivor, mother of two, and wife to an amazing partner. We call Olympia home, but I manage my family’s Seattle restaurant so I’m there a lot. I am a hobby baker, I love dancing, music, and hiking in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
How did you find your surgeon? What were the specific reasons you chose him or her over other providers?
Dr. Wei was recommended to me by my breast surgeon at Swedish. I was still in the process of deciding what kind of reconstruction I wanted after my bilateral mastectomy and wanted to meet with someone that was highly skilled in tissue-based (DIEP Flap) breast reconstruction.
What type of procedure did you have and why did you decide to have this procedure?
I had a tissue-based ( DIEP-Flap) breast reconstruction. Aside from wanting a more natural look and feel to my reconstructed breasts, the idea of replacing implants every 10 years didn’t appeal to me. I knew that this was the best surgery for me and upon meeting Dr. Wei I felt confident that I would be in great hands with her.
Describe your surgical experience and recovery.
As is typical with DIEP flap procedures, my surgical recovery was intense. I experienced some healing issues which extended my healing process a bit longer than I expected. I was given a head’s up by Dr. Wei about possible complications that could come up on my previously radiated breast tissue so fortunately I wasn’t completely blindsided.
What were your fears about having this procedure and how did your surgeon help you overcome them?
My biggest fear was losing the tissue flaps, but I feel like I was properly taken care of in those crucial post-surgery hours so fortunately my fear didn’t happen and the flaps survived.
Describe why you are happy you chose this procedure. How has it positively impacted your life? Your self-esteem?
I am happy with the choice I made because while I don’t have a lot of sensation, my breasts are warm to the touch and they look and feel more natural than they would have with implants. Losing my breasts hasn’t been easy, but as far as Dr. Wei’s work goes, I think the outcome is amazing. She is a true artist and her surgical skills are impressive. I have seen a lot of photos of other breast cancer patients and I know that my scars look clean and neat. This helps in accepting my new body.
Tell us specifically about why you are happy you chose the surgeon you did? Describe his/her most outstanding qualities.
I chose Dr. Wei as my plastic surgeon for my DIEP flap breast reconstruction because she was personable and warm and she listened to my concerns and accommodated them whenever possible. The fact that she is a female surgeon was a plus for me also. I just felt more comfortable having this surgery done by a woman. She also laughed at my corny jokes as humor helped me to accept all the changes that were happening to me.
How did our staff support you in your surgical experience?
The staff at The Polyclinic Plastic Surgery Center has always been really nice and helpful. Dr. Wei’s coordinator helped me navigate insurance and scheduling issues which I really appreciated. I want to extend a huge thanks to Dr. Wei and her team, my experience with all of you has been a positive one.
Do you have any advice for others who may be considering this procedure?
Ask as many questions as you can, even if they seem small. Go with your gut and choose an experienced surgeon that makes you feel completely comfortable and heard.