Breast reconstruction after mastectomy, Isabel’s case

breast reconstruction

Breast reconstruction after mastectomy, Isabel’s case

There are stories that have happy endings. Isabel’s story and her breast reconstruction process after a mastectomy is one of them.

Isabel had to undergo a mastectomy for breast cancer. Since then, her only goal has always been to undergo a breast reconstruction process that would give her two breasts back to her body. In addition, Isabel has been one of the first to make an appointment for the nipple-areola tattoo after a breast reconstruction that we are going to perform in February and March.

breast reconstruction

How was Isabel’s breast reconstruction process?

There are different breast reconstruction techniques that can be performed after a mastectomy. On the website of the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC) you can find out everything about this topic.

Isabel had a mastectomy, by general surgeons, for breast cancer. In this procedure, the affected breast was removed and the lymph nodes in the armpit were analyzed. He received multiple sessions of radiotherapy to complete the treatment, which decreased the incidence of tumor recurrence, but greatly damaged the tissues. These include mastectomy skin. She then placed herself in the hands of Dr. Villaverde to begin the process breast reconstructionof breast reconstruction.

Since the skin of the thorax and mastectomy area was very damaged, it was necessary to provide healthy tissue from elsewhere to reconstruct the breast: a lattissimus dorsi flap with skin island and inclusion of an expander. The expander is then filled in consultation week after week until adequate volume and sufficient skin expansion is achieved. In the last operation, the expander was replaced by a definitive breast prosthesis. The breasts were completely symmetrical thanks to a prosthetic pexy of the other breast.

Isabel’s case is today one of our achievements as a team at Dr. Villaverde’s clinic. We are very happy to have helped you through this breast reconstruction process. We have interviewed him to tell us what this trip has been like and this is what he told us.

Who was Isabel before breast reconstruction?

Well, I was a very normal girl, the typical person who thought this would never happen to her.

How has this process changed your life?

The breast reconstruction process has been totally worth it. I never had any doubts, it was clear to me from the beginning. Moreover, she was “very annoying” with the doctors because she always asked when they would operate on me.

Today I am a completely different Isabel, I am very grateful to life. I am a new person who now prioritizes the important things more. In a way I thank God because this process has taught me a lot, especially to realize the warrior in me. When I look in the mirror now, I feel like I am a model and that is thanks to Dr. Villaverde.

What was it like to see you for the first time after the mastectomy?

It was very difficult, but I wanted to see myself the second day. I needed to look at myself and see my new body. I have always been a woman who likes to wear beautiful necklines, so you can imagine the shock I was experiencing. Still, I always thought all this was going to be temporary. I started looking at pictures of augmentation operations and breast reconstructions. I imagined what the result of a breast reconstruction would be like in my body and I have finally been able to see it, thanks to Dr. Villaverde.

Were you afraid to undergo breast reconstruction?

Yes. I was a little scared at the beginning because I knew that the final result would have no way back. I knew that would be “the new me” forever. But when I met Dr. Eloísa Villaverde my fears disappeared from the first consultation in her clinic. When she explained me how the whole process would be and I started to see the result in each expansion I thought: Dr. Villaverde is an angel in my life.

Did you know about Dr. Villaverde’s work in Plastic, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery?

I did not know Dr. Villaverde at all. I came from Asturias 2 years ago, so I didn’t know anything about his work.

I met her at the Castellón Hospital. I was previously visited by another surgeon but they changed my doctor due to bureaucratic issues, being finally Dr. Villaverde the one who took care of my case. He was like an angel in my life. Destiny.

You are going to get a 3D nipple-areola complex tattoo in February at Dr. Villaverde’s clinic, what are your expectations?

Yes, that’s right. Through Dr. Villaverde I have known the work of Elena Alonso Gaztelumendi, a tattoo artist specializing in hyperrealism, I have seen photos that helped me decide for this final touch to the process of breast reconstruction. I didn’t feel like going under the knife again, so I made an appointment for February. I’m really looking forward to the day to have it done. The breast changes a lot with nipple. I am certain that it will be brutal, because I have a lot of confidence in Dr. Villaverde and her team.

What message would you give to women who have not yet had breast reconstruction?

I would tell them to fight, to visualize at all times the end of this process. That there is light at the end of the tunnel, that it is only a momentary situation and then the sun comes out again.

We are pink princesses, warriors of light and we can do this and more. It is a “little bit of a pain” to go through the treatment process, but always keep in mind that everything is temporary and as it begins, so it ends.

What message do you have for the men and others in the family or close associates of these women?

I would tell them that they are very important! But they have to leave room for the warriors, let them be the ones who set the tempo. I mean let them cry when they need to, talk when they feel like it, and give them space for solitude if they ask for it. It is a process in which we have to give birth to ourselves again. If they need help, they will ask for it and they should be there. Simply that.

We leave you a space to say whatever you feel like saying.

I just want to say how immensely grateful I am to Dr. Villaverde. Now, thanks to her, I look back and think: it wasn’t that bad. This award was worth the whole process! I take with me my strength, my priorities that are now different and obviously having had the great honor of passing through the hands of Dr. Villaverde.