Me with cancer? I was in shock. I had no family history of the disease, no symptoms, and had regular mammograms. With no references or referrals, I immediately made an appointment with random cancer and reconstruction doctor and scheduled surgery. What else was I supposed to do? I was in panic mode. My friends said that I was moving too fast, so I decided to call M. D. Anderson to schedule an appointment with them in Houston. I came to my senses a bit a decided to call my primary care physician and gynecologist and asked them what to do. They both said the same thing, and gave me the same information; "Why would you want to go anywhere else when women come from all over the USA and even further to get treated here in New Orleans?"
So that is the beginning of my story and how I found my breast cancer surgeon and the reconstruction team of doctor's LoTempio and Allen. I began asking around about this group and, yes, they were well known, and even more than that, they were the absolute best. I "Googled" the individual doctors, the team, and the type of reconstruction, and even found their information in books. I had decided by now that I was going to have a bi-lateral mastectomy, I just wanted it all out of my body and to never come back. With the help and guidance of Dr. LoTempio, we decided to have the "flap reconstruction." She explained that immediately after the cancer surgery that she and Dr. Allen would come in to perform the reconstruction phase. Basically, she explained, it was the process of removing fat from your stomach and then placing it into your breasts. Since, in the end, it would be my tissue, nothing much could go wrong. I knew from my previous research that there was a 99% chance of some complication with the implants, simply because they were foreign to your body.
This was microsurgery, major surgery; Dr. LoTempio and the team were putting my body back together after my cancer was removed. The operations were done one right after another, so it was just one long surgery to me. After surgery, I was relieved -and forever grateful- that my prognosis looked very good. My "flap reconstruction" went wonderfully too. Due to the surgery, I was very sore and had quite a bit of recovery ahead of me. I had made it to the other side of the fence and I was so thankful. I did not ever want cancer and do not wish it on anyone. I am thankful that I detected my cancer early and that my prognosis looks very good. To follow up, I am taking Arimidex daily.
Regarding reconstruction by Dr. LoTempio, I am forever grateful. It has been six months since my major surgery and I don't feel like I ever had cancer. There’s nothing foreign in my body, I have my own breasts, and don't feel scarred or marred. I know that a big part of cancer recovery is one’s frame of mind and remaining positive, hopeful, and forever grateful. I owe a big portion of that to Dr. LoTempio, her team, and her care. I am happy to share my story with anyone that may help.