I’ve worked in the fertility specialty for over 20 years and I am currently a Physician Liaison & Educator. I enjoy community outreach and education. Working to help families with their family-building goals has been so rewarding. I also love to travel and can’t wait to get the opportunity to do more of it again. My husband and I took a trip to Tuscany years ago when our daughter was little and we would love to take her with us again in the near future. I also never pass up a good wine-tasting adventure!
How did you find your surgeon? What were the specific reasons you chose him or her over other providers?
I had a close friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer 10 years before me. Though Dr. Welk was not her surgeon at that time (she saw one of his partners), she told me he was considered the “go to” surgeon in Seattle for breast reconstruction so she recommended I meet with him.
What type of procedure did you have and why did you decide to have this procedure?
I had bilateral implant-based breast reconstruction that included several fat grafting procedures and a right lat flap (I had radiation on that side.) I believe the lat flap procedure was the best option for me at the time. I really trusted and valued Dr.Welk’s input and recommendations so it was not a hard decision to make. I also knew friends who had the DIEP procedure and I wasn’t interested in it due to the complexity of that surgery and the recovery required after.
Describe your surgical experience and recovery.
I found my lat flap and implant procedures to be much easier than I had anticipated and far easier than my mastectomy experience. I recovered much more quickly after this surgery and was happily surprised I didn’t require much pain medication at all.
What were your fears about having this procedure and how did your surgeon help you overcome them?
You know, I didn’t really have any fears about having this procedure done. Dr. Welk was so great about explaining how the surgery would go and what my expectations should be for my recovery. He totally put me at ease. I felt completely assured that I was going to be in good hands going into the surgery which left me with little to worry about.
Describe why you are happy you chose this procedure. How has it positively impacted your life? Your self-esteem?
Dr. Welk did a fantastic job with my surgery and it resulted in what I feel was the best possible outcome for me. My breasts look completely natural and I still receive compliments from providers during exams that my reconstruction looks amazing. Dr. Welk has a reputation for producing very natural results and he did not disappoint!
Having reconstruction done definitely boosted my confidence as I am sure it does for most young women who have had to go through breast cancer treatment. I’m glad that when I reflect back on my surgical decisions I continue to feel confident that I made the best possible choice for me.
It feels great to be able to wear a shirt without the need for a bra or cami.
Tell us specifically about why you are happy you chose the surgeon you did? Describe his/her most outstanding qualities.
The first time I met with Dr. Welk shortly after my diagnosis he said to me, “go take care of yourself, get your treatment done, get better, then come see me and we’ll take care of things from there.” He reassured me that there was no need to rush and I so appreciated his advice. I took the time I needed to get through my treatment and when I was done I went back to see him.
Dr. Welk is known for being very direct. He gets straight to the point, recommends what he feels is best and explains why. He reassures you that because of his vast experience ( 30+ years) you are likely to get what you are hoping for. In addition to his surgical expertise, I also really appreciated his sense of humor during what can at times feel like a long journey.
I consider myself to be a strong woman, and I did really well throughout my treatment and surgeries, but we all fold at some point. I remember before one of my procedures I finally hit a wall and Dr. Welk sensed it. He proceeded to draw the surgical markings on my body, then covered me back up and gave me a big hug. I remember him saying “you’re going to be fine.” I feel a little emotional writing this now. What might seem like a small gesture meant so much to me. I really needed that hug. I know Dr. Welk never lost sight of why I was there and what I had gone through with breast cancer treatment leading up to this.
How did our staff support you in your surgical experience?
Dr. Welk’s nurse, Marilyn, was amazing. She was always upbeat and chatty which put me at ease. The OR staff was amazing as well. I felt really cared for every step of the way with the entire team.
I had a very positive experience. I always felt welcome and well cared for.
Do you have any advice for others who may be considering this procedure?
Ask all the questions you need to ask to help with your decision making. I know everyone is different but honestly breast reconstruction is really not as you might think. As soon as Dr. Welk showed me the results after surgery, I was extremely happy.