Informative. Transformative. Restorative.
Caren: When I exercise, I feel very powerful. I feel in charge of my body.
I feel like something that’s; I have total control over in my life because sometimes in life, life controls you.
Two years before I was diagnosed, I was divorced, and it was… it was very traumatic. And it caused a lot of… anxiety and anger and stress in my mind and my body. I just left my self-esteem a little bit down.
They put the expanders in, and I went every few weeks to get them stretched, and finally, he said you’re ready. And I said, okay, make me a B cup, that’s all I want to be is a B cup, and I came out of there like in a D. Which was ridiculous; I’m five-foot-one, I weigh 100 pounds — D breasts don’t fit on me. They were just too big, and that’s all you saw. That’s all I saw. I’d look in the mirror; that’s all I saw. So when I went to him for a checkup, and I said these are just too big. I didn’t ask you to make them this big; how are you gonna fix this? He just said to me, “I don’t know.”
My left breast was fine and was where it was supposed to be; it was fine. My right breast was up here on my shoulder because it wouldn’t push down. So it was quite disfigured, quite disfigured. Started seeking other alternatives because I didn’t want to go back to her. I had four surgeries with her in four months, and that really wreaks havoc on your body. All the antibiotics, all the anesthesia, it’s, and plus the fact that she was doing a very poor job. After every surgery, I couldn’t lift my arms up, and I couldn’t lift more than five pounds, so I didn’t exercise at all. I didn’t wear clothes the way they were supposed to be worn because of the way my breasts were. I don’t think I went out on any dates during that time. I went out with my friends, but I wore big shirts, mostly in black, that wouldn’t show anything. But yeah, for two years, my social life just halted. I didn’t feel good about the way I looked. I didn’t feel good about myself. I didn’t feel good about what was happening.
I contacted them, and I sent them all my pictures and all my medical records. I talked to Dr. Dellacroce; he assured me, “I can do this. You are in perfect hands with me. I can fix this for you, and you will be whole again.” He gave me hope, he just gave me hope, and he made me feel confident that he could do it.
I just felt normal again. I had two breasts in the right place; they were symmetrical, they were the same size, they were even, and they were where they were supposed to be. I got back to my activities as soon as I could get back to them, and I started living my life again. I always wanted to be a dancer. Between the divorce and the breast cancer, I had to explore new things from my life that would be my own. When I would watch dancing, my body just came alive it just felt something. There’s a connection; it’s a connection with another person. For me, it’s just a feeling of being in sync with someone; having that connection is really important to me. I feel very comfortable with how I look and how I move, so when I’m out dancing socially, and I feel myself, my mind, drifting and getting away from the dance, I close my eyes, and it takes me right back. Because all you can do is go by feel, and that’s not something I do; I think a lot. I am very grateful for this whole journey because it’s bigger than the breast cancer.
From Our Patients
- Gaby’s Story: Surgical Decisions Before and After Recurrence
- The Dance: Celebrating Life Beyond Breast Cancer
- Tonya’s Preventative Mastectomy: All My Sisters Had Breast Cancer
The Only Hospital of its Kind in the World
Our Only Focus is on Breast Reconstruction
The Center for Restorative Breast Surgery, affiliated with the St. Charles Surgical Hospital—the only hospital in the world dedicated to breast reconstruction for women facing breast cancer—was established to serve as a dedicated center of excellence for women seeking the most advanced methods of breast reconstruction.
Frank J. DellaCroce, MD, FACS; David S. Cabiling, MD; Scott K. Sullivan, MD, FACS; Chris Trahan, MD, FACS; M. Whitten Wise, MD; and Sarosh Naz Zafar, MD are pioneers in the art of rebuilding breasts lost to cancer, preventive mastectomy, developmental defects, and deformities associated with previous surgery. Their sophisticated microsurgical techniques allow for recreation of the breast with natural tissue while preserving strength and restoring beauty.
Together, with our Breast Oncology team Surgical Breast Oncologist W. Karl Ordoyne, MD, FACS and Mary Jo Wright, MD, FACS and Clinical Breast Oncologist Alan Stolier, MD, FACS, they comprise a group of international leaders in breast cancer surgery options, pioneering groundbreaking procedures including Nipple Sparing Mastectomy, the Stacked FlapSM, the SGAP, the BODY LIFT Flap®, and the APEX FlapSM.
They have performed over 10,000 breast reconstruction procedures for women facing breast cancer, seeking BRCA risk reduction, or searching for solutions to existing breast deformities. The Center is tailored and staffed to cater to the needs of clientele who travel from all over the world for their services.