I traveled to New Orleans after several failed attempts at implant breast reconstruction in the UK. After nearly two years of various surgeries I was tired, still, breastless and unsatisfied. I knew my chest did not define me, but at 47 I so wanted natural looking breasts again and the next option for me would be autologous flap surgery.

After 2 years and much research about breast reconstruction, I knew if I were to undertake any further surgery, I wanted the best and most experienced surgeons to perform it. After searching the UK for a surgeon who could help me and one who also had the confidence, expertise, and experience that I wanted, I was fortunate enough to find out about the hospital for restorative breast reconstruction, in New Orleans. After some research, it certainly seemed like this was the best and most experienced hospital in the world for breast reconstruction. I noted that people had traveled from all over the world to be treated at this amazing hospital, but it still felt like a big step for me.

Fortunately, it just happened that Dr. DellaCroce was coming to England to present at a surgical conference and I could not believe it when he offered to meet with me whilst he was here. My Mum and I traveled to London and it was clear from the outset what a skilled and talented surgeon Dr. DellaCroce was. I immediately had confidence in him, I felt totally at ease in his company and it was obvious this was not just a job for him but a life’s vocation. Dr. DellaCroce totally understood my physical and emotional needs and I felt completely reassured that I could successfully undertake further surgery.

After returning home, I deliberated over traveling to New Orleans for this surgery. I knew Dr. DellaCroce was the surgeon for me but even so, I was nervous about the distance. Could I really travel to New Orleans from the UK and undertake this surgery? The idea of traveling back so far after surgery also concerned me. I would be undertaking a DIEP/APEX FlapSM breast reconstruction procedure and although I knew the hospital would take care of all the arrangements, fear still sneaked in.

Finally, the decision was made and on the 12th November 2016, I was on my way to New Orleans. Dr. DellaCroce was my surgeon and after months and months of uncertainty about taking on more surgery I breathed easy and I knew I was in the best of hands.

There were no more failures for me; there was only excitement and joy. My bilateral DIEP/APEX FlapSM was a complete success. I had a complication free surgery and woke to find two natural looking and feeling breasts. The hospital is outstanding; everyone is so professional, knowledgeable and dedicated.

The gratitude I felt is hard to put into words. I traveled back to the UK eight days after surgery, the trip back from New Orleans was absolutely fine and it was worth every single mile. I have enjoyed a complication free recovery and I’m not sure I will ever be able to find the words to thank Dr. DellaCroce, his fantastic team, and hospital.

In many respects, I wish I knew about this extraordinary hospital before undertaking any surgery here in the UK. I hope one day every woman will be able to experience this type of treatment, expertise, and artistry and I would recommend any woman if they can, to make this their first hospital of choice.

 

About the Author

In May 2014 I was diagnosed at 45 with Invasive Breast Cancer and informed I would need a left MX . This was a month after my Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was grade 1 (1.7cm tumor) stage 2 and ER positive. I did also request a right MX as I felt this was right for me and a year after my initial surgery I had the right MX and bilateral tissue expanders placed. After each surgery I had complications. The time scales for any reconstructive surgery here in the UK is long. We usually are on a waiting list for anything between 6 and 12 months. I had two further sets of implants both of which failed and eventually were removed leaving me flat and concave. I was lucky enough when diagnosed to be at a stage in my life where I had already found and was practicing ‘mindfullness’ this helped me deal with the ups and downs of my diagnosis and multiple surgeries although it was hard to reconcile after my failed reconstruction that I would never have natural looking breasts again. But that was all to change and I feel blessed part of my journey lead me to the Breast Center – I love my life and endeavor to look for light in the darkness and once again I found it.