Tammy’s Breast Reconstruction Journey. Part 2 - Finding My Surgeon
By: Tammy Carrington
After deciding to pursue immediate breast reconstruction I went online and requested information from the PRMA website on a Saturday. By Monday morning Mistie (the nurse) called me back to see what information I needed. She was so kind and nice. She really listened to what I was saying and took my medical information and then verified my insurance. After I gave Mistie my medical information, the ball started rolling in the right direction. Mistie spoke with Dr. Chrysopoulo directly about my case and an appointment was scheduled. Once I met him I had an incredible peace about the whole thing. I knew that I found the right doctor and the right place to have my surgery.
When I arrived for my initial appointment, Dr. Chrysopoulo made me feel at ease immediately. He was kind, compassionate, and knowledgeable. He spoke with complete sincerity and he also had a great sense of humor, which helped to make me smile and made me feel at ease. It was also wonderful getting to meet Mistie in person after talking to her on the phone several times.
I had initially wanted to do reconstruction with implants thinking that my recovery time would be quicker. Dr. Chrysopoulo spoke to me about the pros and cons of implants verses DIEP flap reconstruction. Once it was laid out in front of me, it made complete sense to have the DIEP flap procedure rather than reconstruction with implants. The DIEP procedure would use tissue from my stomach to reconstruct my breasts and Dr. Chrysopoulo would begin the reconstruction as soon as the general surgeon completed the mastectomy - while I was still asleep. I would not have to return for reconstruction surgery later. That sounded great to me.
Dr. Chrysopoulo was preparing me for what might be ahead after surgery by saying that when I woke up, I would feel like I had been hit by an 18-wheeler but it would get better. He said that by a week later I would feel like I had been hit by a mini-van. I knew other women who had breast augmentation who said when they woke up; it felt like they had a Buick parked on their chest, so I knew that there would be pain following such major surgery. I prepared myself for whatever was ahead mentally. (Actually, my personal experience with pain following my surgery was so much less than what I mentally prepared for.)
Dr. Chrysopoulo also told me that my instructions following my surgery would be to basically "live in a recliner for 3 weeks getting up only to walk." I knew that walking was going to be a big part of recovery, but that it would be important to take it a little easy as well. (more to follow on The Breast Cancer Reconstruction Blog)