Patient

Stories

Meet

Betsey

Meet

Betsey


I’m an architect, specializing in-store design for an outdoor retailer. I have two daughters, ages 12 and 9. One of our favorite things to do together is downhill skiing in winter. As a family, we love to watch football, hike, cook together, and entertain. I’m a lifelong Pacific Northwesterner.

Image

How did you find your surgeon? What were the specific reasons you chose him or her over other providers? 

Dr. Paige was highly recommended by both my oncologist, Dr. Tanya Wahl, and my breast surgeon, Dr. Christine Lee. I had such great experiences with the two of them that their recommendation was all I needed.

What type of procedure did you have and why did you decide to have this procedure? 

I had DIEP flap breast reconstruction.

After having a single mastectomy and 12 weeks of radiation to the breast area, Dr. Paige strongly recommended DIEP reconstruction over implants, as his experience has shown a much better long-term outcome. The tissue used was my own, and my new breasts look and feel more like my original breast tissue than breast implants would. I also wanted to go this route to avoid additional surgery to replace implants in the future.

Describe your surgical experience and recovery. 

The level of care I received from Dr. Paige and his team before, during, and after surgery left me feeling calm, confident, and comfortable. They made sure I was well prepared by making sure I had a clear idea of what to expect for the recovery. Because of this, I was able to prepare myself for it which made for about as smooth of a recovery as I could have hoped for. My family was also kept well informed before, during, and after my surgery. Dr. Paige carefully and thoroughly addressed all my questions and concerns. As my body continues to heal and settle into its new shape, Dr. Paige has provided ample opportunities to discuss and make plans to refine anything I feel needs touching up.

What were your fears about having this procedure and how did your surgeon help you overcome them? 

My only fear was surrounding the pain meds that I knew I’d need to take after surgery. I have a hard time tolerating pain medicine but Dr. Paige and his team found great ways to help me navigate surgery and recovery as comfortably as possible.

Describe why you are happy you chose this procedure. How has it positively impacted your life? Your self-esteem?

Thanks to a nipple-sparing mastectomy and the DIEP procedure, my body looks about as close to normal as it did before breast cancer gave me a surprise left turn three years ago. Now I am cancer-free, and I have a flat stomach as well an extra added bonus!

Being able to have natural-looking breasts has truly made me feel like I have my life back after breast cancer. When I hug my children, my greatest cheerleaders during cancer treatment, I feel confident and happy knowing that they can feel the same mother they’ve always known.

Tell us specifically about why you are happy you chose the surgeon you did? Describe his/her most outstanding qualities. 

Dr. Paige is a patient perfectionist. He’s unwilling to recommend procedures that have a high likelihood of failure, but he is also completely committed to creating the patient’s desired outcome. I appreciate that he shared my desire to do things the best possible way, even if it was not the easiest way or the shortest path.

How did our staff support you in your surgical experience?

Dr. Paige’s nurse, Susan, was always available for my questions and guidance on recovery, and many times helped to put my mind at ease. All of the nurses were incredibly nurturing and took excellent care of me during my recovery stay at Swedish hospital, which meant so much to me as no visitors were allowed at all due to COVID.

Do you have any advice for others who may be considering this procedure? 

If you don’t feel comfortable with the idea of breast implants, or if radiation has removed that option for you, DIEP is an excellent long-term solution.