He probably doesn’t think he did, but he did. Here’s my story.
I am well acquainted with death. My mother died of cancer at 42, my dad of a heart attack at 47. I had a niece die from cancer at age 6, and her mother, my sister, was dead at 45 of breast cancer.
After that, the 2nd of my 4 sisters was diagnosed with breast cancer at 59. It was then that we were all tested for the BRCA gene mutation, and we all tested positive for the BRCA1 mutation.
We were told by our Oncologists that it was not IF we got breast cancer, but WHEN. A bilateral mastectomy and a hysterectomy were strongly suggested. (The same gene mutation increases your risk of ovarian cancer, which we think is what my mother had.)
It is a difficult decision to make to have your breasts cut off when you don’t even have cancer – yet. It was one I wasn’t ready to make at 49 when I found out my genetic testing results. But then when the daughter of my 3rd sister was diagnosed with breast cancer at 29, I was 52 and I was ready.
Also contributing to the decision were the endless mammograms and MRIs, where the doctors and technicians, knowing I had the gene mutation, always seemed worried they might miss something. They would often request sonograms or a biopsy. I was ready for all that to end.
I met Dr. Meade at a program about genetic testing at Gilda’s house. It was there I heard him speak about a kind of mastectomy and reconstruction that I had been unaware of. It was where you could “go to sleep with two and wake up with two.” I knew that was the kind of surgery for me. If I had not heard about this method, I really would not have had the bilateral mastectomy, and by now I might have breast cancer.
In making the decision to go forward with the surgery, I needed a doctor I could trust. DIEP Flap reconstruction was what I wanted. I needed a doctor that cared about doing what was best for me, even if it was a very long surgery (14 hours), and one which was not compensated well for by the insurance companies. That doctor was Dr. Meade.
Dr. Meade listened to my family history and my genetic test results, and said, “You need to have this done.”
Dr. Meade is a caring compassionate doctor who never hurries through your appointment. He stays until all your questions are answered, your options explained, your fears vanquished.
I know that Dr. Meade could choose to only perform the more lucrative cosmetic procedures, and not have to deal with insurance companies. For that reason and more, I am so grateful that he also performs breast reconstruction which I believe is much more difficult, time consuming, emotional for the patient, and which pays much less, since it is filed with insurance. I really want to cry when I see how little the insurance companies pay for such an important surgery.
So, thank you Dr. Meade for choosing to make a difference in so many lives, for being a kind and caring doctor. Thank you for saving my life! YOU’RE THE BEST!
I must say, ever since we have completed everything, I think all of my pictures show my cleavage… LOL … Thank you for all that you have done for me both inside and out. You don’t know how much you have helped me in all ways!!!
Now, a little over a month later, I am LOVING my breasts. They look proportionate to my body; they don’t look as if someone just “put” them there. I have had girlfriends tell me that they look real and I can’t stop my man from touching them! Dr. Meade accentuated what God had already created in my body and fixed what childbearing and nursing took away. I am more than thankful for a body I can smile at in the mirror, and no longer feeling sad or down on myself after a shopping trip (shopping’s fun now, as it should be!) Thank you a million times over for your artistic hands, your caring, kind and patient heart. When I look in the mirror now, I see ME. Thankyou, Thankyou, Thankyou!
My story begins in 2008 when I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer at the age of 52. I endured a double mastectomy with expanders, chemo, and radiation, expander removal and implant replacement and nipple reconstruction. I was just about at the end of my reconstruction when my I contracted an infection in my right implant and was hospitalized once again. The doctors tried to save it but could not and it was removed with nothing put in it’s place. It left me significantly disfigured!!
I was told implants were no longer an option for me and my only option to be whole again was a TRAM Flap. This procedure is very difficult not only for the patient but for the dr. as well. It’s a 14 hour procedure where my tummy tissue was used to create 2 new new breasts. My plastic surgeon at the time no longer did these procedures so I went on a search to find one that did……and found Dr Meade.
From the first day I met him, I knew I was in the right place. He has such a caring demeanor!! He not only saw my disfigurment but I really felt like he too felt the emotional pain that I tried so hard to keep hidden from the world. Since that day, he and I have been through a TRAM Flap 10 hour surgery, a couple of minor surgeries to tweak things and get them just right, nipple reconstruction and tatooing. I just went for my last follow up this past week and we both are so amazed at his work. My breasts are BEAUTIFUL!! They are even better than my originals and the best part are they are truly mine…..no implants. No chance for rejection in my future and I now have peace of mind that I have truly reached the end of my reconstruction road… finally.
Knowing what I know now, I wish I had done this procedure right from the start. I truly recommend to you women out there facing a mastectomy procedure that you really consider a FLAP procedure. There are a couple of different types and you really should investigate with your dr. which would be right for you. I’ll be honest, it’s not easy….but in the end….it’s worth it….your done. Implants require replacement after some time….real breasts don’t.
I must say, I really prefer my ‘real’ breasts over the implants. I think because I knew the implants weren’t really mine, every time I looked at them it reminded me of what I’d lost. Now, with my perky new real breasts, I just see ME…the new ME. I feel young again. Sure there are some scars but those are fading fast and soon I won’t be able to see them at all. Oh, I almost forgot to mention, with a FLAP, you get a tummy tuck to boot!! You get a flat tummy AND perky breasts!!
I truly can’t thank Dr Meade enough for what he’s done for me. I am so very thankful that GOD brought me to him. He brought me out of the dark and into the light and gave me hope again. He took me from being horribly disfigured to being beautiful. I have come out on the other side better than before I went in, thanks to him. He is phenominal! The man is truly gifted.