STILLWATER: Let’s get started and focus on the here and now. Can you tell us what three words describe the way you feel about yourself right now, today?
CAROL: Healthy, free, balanced.
STILLWATER: Can you give us an overview of your first reconstructive surgery?
STILLWATER: Why did you feel the time was right NOW to undergo a revision of the first reconstructive surgery?
CAROL: This was not my first revision. I left my first plastic surgeon and had numerous surgeries with surgeon number two. My implant was replaced countless times over the years. I gave up having symmetry for comfort, but I really never had comfort. I was left feeling very self-conscious about how I looked and very depressed about constant discomfort. I was tired of having surgery, and I gave up. Fast forward a few years, and I ended up at Dr. Capizzi’s office. I wasn’t ready to give up!! So very thankful for that decision!
STILLWATER: Just curious … you opted for a new plastic surgeon for the revision. How did you find Dr. Capizzi? What gave you the confidence to choose him and Stillwater?
STILLWATER: Your original breast reconstruction surgery and revised reconstructive surgery with Dr. Capizzi occurred about a decade apart. Can you tell us the biggest changes that you’ve seen in breast cancer treatment during this time?
STILLWATER: Gummy Bears are all over the news. Tell us what your decision-making process was like relative to type of implant.
CAROL: I just listened to Dr. Capizzi. I didn’t pay attention to the news. I trusted him with all my heart. I knew what he was explaining was accurate and I went with my gut feeling.
CAROL: I would say first, educate yourself. It’s not easy. It’s a process. Secondly, do it for you. Not anyone else. Don’t plan around work or other obligations. Take time to heal. (I speak from experience on that one!) And three, make sure you have a doctor who listens to you!!! You know your body.
STILLWATER: Now I’m going to ask you to speak to doctors as a teacher. What advice would you offer plastic surgeons and the medical community regarding patient care and reconstructive surgery?
CAROL: Listen to your patients. Teachers have to “differentiate” – that is, know each child as an individual and meet those needs. Doctors must do the same. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. If we say we hurt, we hurt. If we feel unbalanced, we are. Listen. Schedule appointments knowing that it may take more than the allotted time. We deserve it. This is something that most doctors don’t seem to do. Stillwater Plastic Surgery does!!
I say, cuddle up and let mom cry. It’s ok to have mom cry. I say, mom needs mom time. She’s still your mom, no hair, no breast … it’s still mom learning to deal with a new self.
CAROL: I wouldn’t trade this journey for anything. I’m stronger, more appreciative, more thankful. Would I like to feel like I did physically 10 years ago before my diagnosis? ABSOLUTELY! But, my journey has been much more positive than negative. The people that I’ve met along the way – Amazing!!! The things I’ve learned about myself – powerful!