14 Nov 2016
Updated, 1 day ago
Dr. Mackay didn't let my cancer have the last word!! Love my new Breasts!!!
Hello! I am assuming you or someone you know has cancer if you are reading this review. I want you to know that you will recover and your life is going to be great! This is a long review, but I feel a responsibility to give as many details as possible.
I am so thankful for Dr. Mackay and his staff! He and his staff are so kind, considerate and compassionate. They have comforted me when I was truly terrified. Dr. Mackay understands that cancer affects not just the patient, but the patient’s family. He has been so thoughtful about keeping my family informed. I feel that Dr. Mackay cares very deeply for each of his patients. Honestly, I trust Dr. Mackay completely. He is truthful in his opinions and will let you know what he thinks.
I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in March 2015. I had a bilateral skin saving mastectomy with immediate reconstruction in August 2015 after chemotherapy and before radiation. My treatment schedule was chemotherapy, mastectomy, and radiation. My left breast had a tumor larger than 6cm and my right breast had precancerous lesions. My breast surgeon prescribed a bi lateral mastectomy. I underwent chemotherapy before my mastectomy. My oncologist felt that the order of treatment didn’t have an advantage either with chemo before mastectomy or chemo after mastectomy. Looking back, I am glad that I had my mastectomy after chemotherapy. My experience with chemo was brutal and would have made recovery from the mastectomy/reconstruction more difficult.
I was referred to Dr. Gregory Mackay by my gynecologist, Dr. Genevieve Fairbrother and my breast surgeon, Dr. Brenda Simpson. I loved Dr. Mackay from the very first consultation. Dr. Mackay was up front with the fact that I would need to have a sequence of surgeries for a complete reconstruction. Because my skin is so thin, Dr. Mackay recommended the Latissimus Flap reconstruction. There would be three surgeries, with revisions if necessary.
#1 – Bilateral Mastectomy with immediate Latissimus Flap reconstruction (August 2015)
#2 – Replace Tissue expanders with implants and revisions (May 2016)
#3 – Pocket revision of non-radiated breast and nipple reconstruction (October 2016)
Surgery 1 – Bilateral Mastectomy with Latissimus Flap reconstruction
August 2015, I had a skin saving bilateral mastectomy with immediate (same operation) reconstruction. This was the largest and most live changing surgery. My surgery took about 5 hours. I was in the hospital for 2 nights. Tissue expander, to create a pocket for the implants under my muscle, were inserted as I still had to undergo radiation. I had 4 drains, which was normal. As far as pain from the surgery, I could manage with the prescription pain medication. My recovery time for this surgery took about 6 weeks. (Chemotherapy had left me weak!) There was a lot to get used to after this surgery! The drains were uncomfortable, the new placement of my Latissimus muscle under my arms was uncomfortable, the tissue expanders were uncomfortable. As the drains were removed (2-4 weeks after surgery), I began to feel much better. Dr. Mackay sent me to Turning Point Breast Rehabilitation in Sandy Springs, GA for physical therapy. My range of motion improved, and I began to feel less tightness from the reconstruction. As time passed, I was getting used to the feeling of the tissue expanders (Bonus – I didn’t have to wear a bra for the first time ever in my life!!) and getting back my strength.
Surgery 2 – Removal of Tissue Expanders, placement of implants, fat grafting
April 2016, I had surgery to remove the tissue expanders and insert the implants. It was such a GREAT feeling to have those expanders removed! Dr. Mackay harvested fat from my stomach and grafted onto my chest to create a softer appearance. (only mildly uncomfortable). Because the radiation changes your tissues so much, my breasts were uneven. Dr. Mackay was so wonderful reassuring me that this would not be the final result, only a necessary stage in the journey. There was very little pain from this surgery. The discomfort and stiffness from the tissue expanders were gone. I took it easy (naps when necessary, no lifting of heavy items, etc.) for about two weeks. I did use prescription pain killers for about 4 days following this surgery. It didn’t take as long to start feeling better after this surgery as it did from the mastectomy.
Surgery 3 – Pocket revision and placement of implant on non-radiated breast, nipple reconstruction, fat grafting
October 2016, I had surgery to revise the pocket of the non-radiated breast to make it more symmetric with the radiated breast. I also had nipple reconstruction. Initially, I had thought that I would not want nipples. After discussing with Dr. Mackay, he assured me that I would like them. Well, I LOVE THEM!!! (Didn’t I say that Dr. Mackay is the BEST!?!) Dr. Mackay also did more fat grafting. A small amount of discomfort with the harvest site, but not bad. Because this revision was a bit more work with the pocket on my non-radiated breast and required a support structure anchored to my chest wall, it took a little longer for recovery. I did have to use prescription pain medication for about a week and I took it easy for 3-4 weeks. I did have to start the physical therapy exercises over from the beginning.
Today, six weeks after my final surgery, I am working out with a trainer 2x a week, going to Spin class and back to work! I am so HAPPY with my new breasts! They look so much better than my original breasts. I still have a little touch up to do (mainly tattooing), but am very pleased with what I have right now. Dr. Mackay is a miracle worker. He and his staff are so knowledgeable and caring. My concerns were always heard and discussed. Dr. Mackay is a kind and compassionate person. He has truly given me a gift!