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Aug 30, 2019 09:48AM
I hadn't heard of DIEP either, but I'm so glad that I learned. I had a ton of time between my diagnosis of ADH and when I met with the breast surgeon, so could do a lot of research. I browsed forums like this one, talked with friends and others who had gone through it, and ultimately decided I wanted a prophylactic mastectomy. Then I started researching options and decided that implants weren't for me. I know that lots of other people have and love them, but I also saw lots of problems that scared me. So with diep in mind, I knew that I wanted a place where they did the procedure routinely, that was covered by my insurance (I have Aetna), and that had an oncologist as part of the team. All of this lead me to the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery in New Orleans (https://www.breastcenter.com/). I did a consult with them, send in photos that were reviewed along with my path reports, and then got on their schedule (I figured I could always cancel). I'm from PA, but my husband is from NOLA and so all my in-laws are down there. My niece is a nurse, so I asked her to ask her colleagues about the place, and all of them said it's an excellent facility.
So with that surgery scheduled, I finally got to see the local surgeon, and she went through the routine of 6-month mammos/MRIs, tamoxifen, etc. She told me that there would also likely be many biopsies in my future, as I have dense breasts. So then, I told her I was interested in the possibility of PBMX, and she told me only about implants. When I told her I was interested in DIEP, she waved it off and told me I wasn't a candidate. When she told me to hop on the table for her to feel my breasts, my husband left the room. When he was outside, he called the NOLA breast center and told them what she had just said. They said she didn't know what she was talking about.
So I left that appointment and went with my gut and went to NOLA. They were fantastic. The whole thing. Yes, it's a surgery, but it's definitely do-able. I guess I'm lucky because my recovery was super quick. Two months after the surgery I was able to go on a scuba-diving trip! And I really love that my breasts feel so natural, they are warm, they are permanent, etc.
When I got back from NOLA and had time to reflect, I really began to feel hacked off at my local surgeon. She was misinformed and misleading. I am so grateful that I didn't follow her advice. When I got my "patient survey" from them about my experience, I called them to tell them what happened. I think they were scared that I was going to sue or something (which I wasn't) -- I just didn't want this surgeon to keep misinforming women like she tried to do with me. They waived every single bill.
There's a whole facebook group for women going to NOLA for their surgeries. DM me if you want me to add you. I have to add you as a friend so that I can add you to the group, but you can unfriend me right away after that if you want. You can also just DM me if you ever want to talk.
Best of luck with your decision. It's a big decision, and everyone is different! I really do respect every decision that people may make, including being conservative, having reconstruction with implants or DIEP, or going flat and fabulous!