Qiana Collins - Dr. Marga's September 2011 Mermaid of the Month

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Qiana Collins

My life changed forever the day I received my stage IIB breast cancer diagnosis on Jan. 8, 2008. I stayed in a state of shock for quite some time but moved quickly to educate myself on my situation and options. I've always been proactive about my health & had to convince my doctor to do the test that led me on this journey. I had a previous diagnosis of lupus that led to a recommendation of a mastectomy. At the time I didn't realize how devastating things could be. Within two weeks of my diagnosis I had the surgery that left me searching for a better outcome. I had expanders placed immediately but knew that I really didn't want implants so I began my search on local doctors to utilize my own 'goods' to replace my breast. Unfortunately there were only a few surgeons who had DIEP experience. I read enough scary things on the tram flap surgeries to know that I must go the DIEP route. During my research I found a surgeon in NY who credited himself as the pioneer of DIEP. As luck would have it there was also a beautiful lady surgeon located in Chicago who was listed as one of his co-surgeons. Being nearly done with chemotherapy and less than two hours from my home in Milwaukee, WI, I knew I had to meet her.

I took a day off to drive down to Chicago to meet Dr. Massey. I was immediately impressed with her warm and down to earth personality. The office was beautiful & I received the cutest footies ever!! My mom accompanied me & we were especially impressed with her formal presentation which included great post-op pictures that the other doctors lacked. In addition, the photos showed wonderfully amazing results. I was sold! I wasn't thrilled about finding out I'd have to fly to New Orleans but I knew that she had the ability to change my physical and mental circumstances for the better.

Arriving from our flight we were picked up by limo and taken to my appointment. The medical facility was an amazing work of art. It truly didn't feel like a typical doctor's office or hospital. Reuniting with Dr. Massey was wonderful yet nerve wrecking thinking of the surgery and recovery ahead. However, she and her staff were so warm, welcoming, and helpful that you forget you're there for surgery. In addition we were able to relax at dinner at nearby Zea's and had the luxury of getting picked up in style! The limousine service was prompt and friendly. The drivers often acted as tour guides. We also stayed one night at the Hope Lodge which also helped cut down on traveling cost. With eased minds we went to sleep awaiting the surgery the following morning.

The stacked DIEP surgery went very well. I was super happy to receive the morning and night visits from Marga. Not only did it show she cared but it also gave me an opportunity to thank her for doing such an amazing job. Within a few days I was checked out of the fabulous hospital and into Hotel Monteleone in the French Quarter. I was able to walk the NOLA streets before flying home to Wisconsin. Months later I happily returned for another planned phase of the surgery. I feel so blessed to have found her. Her assistant Jenny kept in touch and checked on my recovery frequently. The incisions were nominal and healed well. My tummy was the donor site and I was ecstatic to relocate that fat! Needless to say, I am highly pleased with my surgery results and she's impressed my other doctors who've had a chance to see her work during our routine checkups. Most importantly, her gift and talent restored my femininity and gave me a sense of ‘normalcy' that I missed since the mastectomy two years prior. When people asked why I traveled so far for surgery I happily advised, because she's the best at what she does & she is more than worth the journey. Beyond her medical, artistic, surgical skills, she's a wonderful soul who naturally builds rapport and connects with you like no medical professional I've ever known. She's like your best buddy or a fun & long lost girlfriend you wish you could hang out with often because she's just that cool and caring. Dr. Marga Massey is heaven sent!

With my deepest gratitude,
Qiana

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Lymphedema / Lymph Node Transfer / Breast Reconstruction / Mastectomy