In Search Of A Surgeon Part One
Posted by b in BLOG, Double Mastectomy & Reconstruction
I mentioned yesterday that I should be recovering from my bilateral mastectomy right now but my surgery was canceled. It was canceled because I was sick but guess what? I would have canceled it anyway. Here’s why.
I was required to see a plastic surgeon by my breast surgeon to explore different options of breast reconstruction. I went into the first appointment not really prepared for anything. I thought my mind was made up that I would NOT have reconstruction after having watched close friends struggle through their reconstruction process.
They had undergone DIEP, TRAM and Latissimus Dorsi Flap procedures which use your own body tissue to reconstruct the breast. I was not interested in going through that at all.
Turns out I’m not a candidate for those procedures anyway.
We discussed another route of using tissue expanders followed by implants to reconstruct my breasts. That seemed totally doable to me. I began to get excited about being able to do this and immediately started researching and speaking to numerous women who had done the same.
A week before my surgery, I went for the follow up and final appointment now armed with a bunch of experiences (both good and bad) from women who had undergone this procedure and a page full of questions.
Unfortunately, this appointment turned hostile very quickly.
The plastic surgeon got extremely defensive when I mentioned a gal who had an unfavorable outcome and needed another surgery when her implant slipped to her navel. His posture completely changed and the direct words out of his mouth were “I take offense to that.” when I was explaining to him how a different plastic surgeon needed to step in and help this girl.
I was really taken off guard and I didn’t understand why he took offense to this. I was simply trying to understand possible complications and determine how probable they were.
I got the feeling he thought plastic surgeons could do no wrong. He said he felt the surgeon who did the mastectomy likely caused the problem. He kept repeating that all he could do with me was work with what the breast surgeon left him. While I’m sure that’s at least partially true, it nonetheless left me with a feeling that he didn’t hold himself accountable for any unfavorable outcome.
I don’t expect my reconstructed breasts to look perfect. Not by a long shot. But I need to feel comfortable with the surgeon. I need to feel comfortable asking any question, sharing any experience and working together without feeling like I have to walk on eggshells not to say something he may take offense to.
I was not about to enter into the long process of reconstruction with someone who made me feel this way.
So the search began for a new surgeon.