Debbie from Spring Branch, Texas
Tissue Expander To Implant Breast Reconstruction
My name is Debbie and I'm from Spring Branch, Texas. My journey began in February 2015 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was such a shock, being that I have never been had more than a sore throat or stomach ache in 58 years. That being said, I did not have a primary doctor or know of any doctor (especially any surgeons) that I could trust enough to put my life in their hands.
Fortunately, God listened to my prayers and began opening up a solid path of direction. The day after I was diagnosed I called a friend I had built a house for that had worked at MD Anderson. She told me to pack my bags for the next morning so we could head there. She wanted to make sure no stone was left unturned during my diagnosis stage. She wanted me to have the best care! MD Anderson did every test they could do to determine what stage my cancer was, how aggressive, if I was gene positive or negative, numerous mammograms, MRI’s, biopsies, OCO scores, and other numerous exams.
I was blessed. My diagnosis was stage one, non-aggressive, and small and confined. I was estrogen positive, BRCA negative, and at a slim risk of recurrence. At that time I was offered two choices: 1) I could have a lumpectomy followed by radiation, 2) a mastectomy with reconstruction.
Although my news was wonderful, I still had major decisions to make.
I returned to San Antonio with my options wavering back and forth. I have my own business and knew I would be out of commission quite a while.
After playing tennis one day I shared my fear of the cancer spreading. I figured I should not move until I was treated. My business partner insisted I call one of her friends who had been through stage four breast cancer. She figured she could answer all my questions and concerns and educate me about my options. It was another God driven occasion. Not only was my soon to be good friend educated about breast cancer, she shared how San Antonio, Texas is one of the best places to be if a person were ever diagnosed with breast cancer. The more knowledge she shared the more comfortable I became in making my decision. I decided to stay in San Antonio for my treatments and procedures. She informed me that some of the best doctors in the country were right here in my backyard. Facing the unknown was hard, but dealing with treatment away from home would have been harder. I realized at this time I had a tremendous amount of support right here in San Antonio.
My new friend’s name is Brenda. Unbeknown to me at the time, she has one of the top breast cancer blogs and has written about breast cancer for years. She clarified that San Antonio is very advanced in breast cancer research and people come from all over the world to be treated here. She asked if I would let her pave my way, something she wished she would have had someone do for her when she was diagnosed. Once again, I felt God pushing my journey in a safe direction.
It was still scary, especially not being educated about what you have been diagnosed with. All I knew is that I wanted to do things quickly, and with the right people. I knew that choosing the right doctors was crucial to my outcome. Brenda led me to my oncologist, and my surgeons. She spoke of them with high regards.
She told me I had to get in with the “Rock Stars.” I had no clue what she was talking about, but she gave me a number and told me to get an appointment as soon as possible and told me PRMA has the BEST doctors around for reconstruction. I took her word and jumped with a leap of faith, made the call, and got my appointment within a week.
My consultation was scheduled with Dr. Minas Chrysopoulo. He entered my room, sat down, and talked me through every question and concern I had. He never rushed me and never made me feel pressured for time. He listened with patience, understood my tears, and answered every question in a truthful and gentle manner.
When I left the PRMA office, I told my sister I understood why people call the surgeons of PRMA “Rock Stars.”
After deciding on a double mastectomy with reconstruction, my surgery was scheduled within the month. Surgery went well and my pathology report was clear. My “new girls” looked just like Dr. Chrysopoulo had described. No surprises! I had follow up visits following my surgery to fill my tissue expanders until I reached the size I wanted. Dr. C helped me decide what size would look natural for my body and took my lifestyle into account.
During my entire journey, my nurse (Denise) and the entire PRMA staff were excellent. There are no words to describe how thankful I am for Dr. C and his team! I am on my way to a full recovery and am looking and feeling awesome.
Dr. Chrysopoulo, you are a woman’s best friend! Keep up the great work! I pray every girl that faces what I have faced finds PRMA!
Thanks from the bottom of my heart!