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Why do I offer breast reconstruction? Hear why, in a patient’s words.

The following is a message from one of my patients who underwent bilateral skin-sparing mastectomies and immediate microsurgical breast reconstruction with DIEP flaps.  

Words like hers are the exact reason why performing breast reconstruction (even though insurance reimbursements are SO poor it is not financially smart to do reconstruction surgery in California) – but helping patients in this special and intimate way through their breast cancer journey is so rewarding…

“Dr. Horton,

 My breasts are so beautiful. My torso, too. I’m overflowing with affection, appreciation and feelings of indebtedness towards you. This is so personal. YOU led me here. Not you, the doctor. Not you because this is your job. But the loving, caring, giving you. 

Your training and gift as a surgeon are your vehicles but it’s your heart and your soul that speak to the patient.You gave me the chance to put aside fear, stale ideas, and martyrdom (from childhood! YIKES! I didn’t even know it was still there until all of this,) to reach in and stretch my uninformed “normal” view. When my mastectomy surgeon first mentioned “reconstruction” I thought I had misunderstood. I had cancer. What does reconstruction have to do with that? Of course, everyone is familiar with breast cancer and, afterwards, reconstruction,  but these are remote concepts to those who have never experienced it.  

“Let’s just get rid of the cancer,” I said to myself. “I don’t need new boobs. They haven’t been cute since I was last breast feeding. I’m already settled in with older-ish woman boobs, anyway. My middle-aged persona has been developed with older-ish woman boobs playing a key role. WHAT are they all talking about?” Now, I have breasts and they are lovely!

When I met you, I was scared. Maybe you were the first person ever to say, ” What do YOU want? This is for you. Only you. What do you want ?” Maybe I was very receptive at that time in my life to consider such a question. My body, my choice. In those days, I would have been satisfied to get rid of the cancer, but I did consider your question . You gave me an open door to think about it. I did think about it. A lot. Before long I was able to decide that I did want new boobs. You know the rest of the story.

Now that you’ve completed your magic on me, I feel so new. So alive. So complete. I haven’t been swimming for awhile. Now I can’t wait for summer.  My sexuallity was dormant. Now it is reawakened! I was a bit reclusive. Now I’m not. Each moment of my life has been improved, deepened, and is more satisfying since having received your care.

I will be thanking you for the rest of my life for the most awesome and generous gift I have received from you. 

Karen, I am so eternally grateful to you for staying with me at a time of great despair.

With love, gratitude, and appreciation,

 Thanks so much, ~J”

Thank you to our patients who help everyone in the office understand how we are helping them by sharing their words with us. 

Each of us plays a very special role in the care of our patients.  We love what we do, and we love YOU!!!

To learn more about breast reconstruction or to schedule a consultation, call 415-923-3067 or complete our online consultation form.

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Dr. Karen M. Horton, M.D. - Plastic Surgery, Physicians & Surgeons - Medical-M.D., San Francisco, CA