Lisa Gillespie’s Story
One year ago, July 15, 2019, I packed my bags and headed from Toronto to New Orleans to the Center For Restorative Breast Surgery. Very excited that a surgery I had been putting off would be done.
About six months prior, I flew down to the center to see what they were all about – an impressive website, great reviews – but how would that translate in person, how would they make me feel. I booked a consultative meeting with Dr. DellaCroce, and my life changed.
A little history, why did I wait so long (five years post mastectomy) for this surgery? Well, there are lots of opinions out there. I only had my left breast removed, and my right breast was declared healthy. But will it remain healthy? So, for five years I went back and forth between reconstruction of my left breast only and/or also removing the right. What went on in my head is an entirely different post – there are ladies out there that know what I’m talking about. The second reason, and this is my experience, I wasn’t finding the right surgeon or place that was thinking about not just the event (replace breast) but was also thinking about all the other parts of my body that would be impacted by such a surgery. I even experienced body shaming, yes, I’m a few pounds overweight, and in some places, this is an issue because they want you out of that bed the next day and with a few more pounds perhaps not possible.
So, on my first appointment I walked in, thinking I would be told I needed to lose weight, and wondering how I was going to make the decision between left and right. All that went away with my first meeting with Dr. DellaCroce. He didn’t tell me what to do, he simply had a way of explaining the options. He didn’t give me a 100% guarantee on results, but he told me what can happen and how they address challenges. He didn’t body shame me. He spoke of his dedication to this cause, and all the research that he continues to do. This man is the real deal. I made my decision that day – Dr. DellaCroce and the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery was the right place for my reconstruction and now I’m ready.
Back to July 17, 2019, the day of my surgery. The center and the hospital are spa like. In fact, I almost forgot I was having surgery and not a massage. The team is amazing, from the pre op the day before, the time you arrive at check in day of, the nurses, the doctors, the chef making your meals – everyone is on point, professional, caring. My surgery was long, but very successful. I decided to just have the left reconstructed.
I’m so fortunate that I followed my instincts and got on a plane April 22, 2019. Dr. DellaCroce is simply amazing with his southern charm, caring nature, surgical skills, and unwavering dedication to breast cancer. I highly recommend.
I couldn’t be happier with the results. My masterfully stitched scars have started to fade, I no longer need to travel with a prothesis, no more thinking about necklines, and I simply feel amazing.
Now this is my story. I’m not suggesting everyone needs/should have reconstruction, that’s a personal choice. For me it was important. I’m sharing for two reasons. First, it may help someone else out there. Second, if you are going through breast cancer and reconstruction surgeries, I wanted you to be aware of this amazing Center and their team, it may be worth a trip to New Orleans. I have no regrets, and wish the best for every woman going through these difficult decisions.