52 Breast Cancer- Mastecotmy, Reconstruction W/ Natrelle 410 MX445 Exchanged to MX550 (Gummy Bear) SO HAPPY! Vancouver, WA

My journey started just after my 51st birthday. I...

My journey started just after my 51st birthday. I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma- stage 2. Within 3 weeks I was having a double mastectomy. I wasn't too scared as my friend had the same surgeons and loved them. Dr. Gabriel and Dr. Storm-Dickerson. I felt very comfortable with them as well and trusted the choices I had made to have both breast removed. First surgery went well, spent 2 nights in the hospital. The nurses at Peacehealth were awesome! I had two sets of drains for a few weeks, then one for a couple weeks more. Not long after the drains were removed Dr. Gabriel said I was ready for the nipple sharing surgery. This was a fascinating procedure. He actually cut my healthy left nipple in half to share with the right breast which had the cancer and the nipple needed to be removed. They look amazing and healed pretty fast. The worst part of that surgery was I had not had any expansion fills yet. During surgery he expanded me to 300 cc, which is all the expanders would hold. This was quite painful for over a month! I was really sad to see how small they were too but Dr. Gabriel said this is not the finished size, we would decide that later. Another month went by and the muscles relaxed a bit and filled out a little more. I could hardly wait till my exchange surgery. We had decided on the Natrelle gummy bear implants. Dr. Gabriel said they were the best available. I let him know what size I wanted to be , about 525-550 cc's (a full C cup). My exchange was scheduled for March 10, 4 months after my initial surgery. After the exchange Dr. Gabriel came to visit me first thing the next morning as I had spent the night at the hospital. He is so caring and has the best bedside manner of any doctor I have met. I had expected my breast to look and feel much larger but they didn't. He assured me they will expand as the muscles relax and to be patient. That is something I am not :) I found out later the size I had expected is not what I had. These were smaller but he felt for my frame they would look the best and give it time. I am 5'5" 145 lbs at that time, now 128 lbs.
4 months past and I still didn't feel like they were the size I wanted. My C cup bra was a loose so Dr. Gabriel suggested a fat transfer or if I really insisted he would exchange the gummy bears for round implants but he didn't recommend them for me. I trusted his judgement and had the fat transfer. He took fat from my thighs, I had a lot of bruising, it took over a month for the bruising to go away. My thighs have not looked this good for awhile though so I was quite happy with that! My breast looked much fuller and I was very pleased with the outcome.....till I lost 20+lbs! Most of the fat transfer was gone. 4 months later I spoke with Dr. Gabriel & I asked why my left breast felt/looked smaller than the right. He reviewed my photos, it was really noticeable from the side view, and suggested a lift on the left breast. So another surgery was scheduled for Dec 31st. He also said the larger MX550 were FDA approved now and he could exchange the MX445 out for them since I had been concerned about my size. I already looked pretty good and was getting use to the MX445 so I wasn't sure I wanted a exchange. Up to the surgery day I thought do I really want to go through this again?, more drains and pain. I went through with it and no drains this time! Recovery has been pretty easy. I had been taking the pain meds and only off work a few days. No one even knew I had another surgery. I have to admit I love the MX550 size for me. I am so thankful Dr. Gabriel suggested the larger size. I have not looked this good for years! I nursed 3 kids for 1 year each and believe me not much was left. Having breast cancer is something I would never wish anyone to go through. If you have a choice I would highly recommend Dr. Gabriel. He is an amazing surgeon. I didn't know this site Real Self was out there till months after I was diagnosed. After seeing others photos online I feel so lucky to have such a gifted Doctor. Breast cancer takes at least a year out of you life, I feel blessed I am alive and finally feel pretty again.
Portland Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Gabriel is an amazing surgeon. After each surgery he personally called my husband to let him know how everything went and all but one surgery came to see me before I went home. He would follow up with a phone call to me at home as well. He took the time to answer any questions and usually made me feel comfortable. Just look at my photos compared to others on the internet! I don't even look like I had breast cancer. Other doctors who have seen me have said how good I look and Dr. Gabriel should be very proud of his work. I sure am! During one of my surgeries the IV blew in my hand as the anesthesiologist said I should be feeling sleepy, all I felt was my hand on fire! Jami and the anesthesiologist quickly took out the IV and had to find another good vein. During that time Dr. Gabriel held my hand and talked about his daughter and a trip to to Disneyland to keep my mind off the pain I was in. He is so kind hearted and truly cares about his patients. His PA Jami is amazing too. She always has a smile on her face and really takes the time to listen to anything you need to talk about. They both put up with me complaining about my size at first. Afterall I am 52, why should I care about that, but I did and wanted to look better in my clothes and look great for my husband of 33 years! I never felt judged or uncomfortable talking with Jami. I highly recommend Dr. Gabriel and his staff. You could not find a more caring group of professionals in our area.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 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
5 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
Was this review helpful? {{ voteCountOthers + ' other' + (voteCountOthers == 1 ? '' : 's') }} found this helpful