Cancer Free After Bi-lateral Mastectomy and Reconstruction, Concave Chest - Vancouver, WA

Last spring I remember thinking I was healthier...

Last spring I remember thinking I was healthier than I had been in probably 20 years. A couple months later I noticed that my energy level dropped and I had a small pain that happened just once and seemed to be coming from my right breast. I thought the pain was odd and surely I must have bumped my breast. Because of the drop in energy I went in and had a wellness physical with a mammogram. I was surprised that it turned out to be breast cancer - estrogen & progesterone negative and high nuclear grade. I located an Oncologist and she brought in a Plastic Surgeon that she likes to work with. They are a great team. The surgery was done under my breasts so there is no visible scar and they were able to save my nipples. The cancer was DCIS and I did not have to have chemo or radiation. The Plastic Surgeon placed expanders under the muscle during that surgery. Six weeks later I ended up back in the hospital with an infection under my arm where the lymph nodes were taken. A week in the hospital, 2 surgeries and a lot of drugs finally got it under control.
The expanders were filled to 395cc which brought my chest up to flat. I never knew that I have what is considered a concave chest. My ribs are actually flat instead of being a little rounded across my chest. My PS put 20-700cc implants in on 12/31/13 and I am still pretty flat! The solution to this is to switch out these implants to 45-800cc implants. These are the largest high projection implants made and on me it will probably be just a full C-cup. My PS will also do fat injections. I got another infection 6 weeks after this surgery also. This time it was caught earlier and I just had to take antibiotics.
This whole experience has been an emotional roller-coaster and after the implants were put in I was majorly disappointed. I have learned that I am not alone, many of us are. The implants do change: they drop and fluff. They soften. I took a list of questions to my PS and he helped me out a lot. I do have to have another surgery but I am not in any hurry. I am so grateful to be cancer free and to getting back to feeling better! I am 65 years old and just stopped hanging wallpaper (25 years) last summer.
Vancouver Plastic Surgeon

Dr Gabriel is excellent. He knows the latest procedures and teaches other Plastic Surgeons. He cares about the patient.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
4 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
4 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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Comments (4)

Hi JunyPink, how did your 6 month check up go with your Oncologist? Hoping all is well. Update us when you have time!
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Hey JudyPink, thank you for taking the time to share your story on RealSelf. You've been a great community member and I know many women in the future will appreciate learning from your journey. That's interesting about your ribs...who would have ever known? I'm glad to hear that you can get the 800 cc implants to compensate. Will you be close to your original breast size? Congratulations on being cancer free. Hoping you have some time of peace now. I agree, no need to rush into another surgery. ;)
  • Reply
I should look about the same with the 800cc implants as before. The 700cc that I have now look pretty flat. It is more cc's than breast tissue removed but the implants are under the muscle and I believe they are a little mashed. Hopefully with more time the 700s will drop and project out enough that I wont need to get the 800s.
  • Reply
I'm crossing my fingers for you! What are you going to do during your retirement? Keep us posted!
  • Reply