Laura Martin - Dr. Marga's October 2011 Mermaid of the Month

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Laura Martin

I call this story my healing journey. In August 2007, I was told I had LCIS (Lobular Carsonoma In Situ) in my right breast. I was devastated thinking and knowing that I had irregular cells growing in me. But they were contained and my oncologist encouraged me to begin monitoring and taking an estrogen blocking medicine. This treatment would in five years reduce my chance for getting breast cancer in half. Meanwhile, my sister Neva (December 2010 Mermaid) and I had genetic testing and counseling. Testing revealed that we genetically did not have the BRAC 1 or 2 so I continued with my treatment at the time instead of considering a bilateral mastectomy.

For the next three years, I had mammograms and MRIs and follow-ups with the oncologist until October of last year when a MRI showed that I had a small nodule in my other breast. After an ultrasound biopsy, I was told that I had DCIS (Ductal Carsonoma In Situ) and the small nodule was papalliary carsonoma. It was difficult hearing this news after all the preventative tests and medicine regiment. I distinctly remember the office visit where my oncologist, my husband and I decided that the best thing for me to do was to have a bilateral mastectomy.

Afterwards I saw two surgeons, one who discussed lumpectomy and radiation treatments and another one who talked about implants. I was just not getting the warm and fuzzy from either one of them. So I continued to research into all my options including tunneling of tissue and free tissue transfers such as the DIEP Procedure. In mid-November, I went to Edisto beach with my husband. My sister, Neva came for the weekend also. On Sunday we were talking about her recent lymphedema surgery, where a physician rebuilt the lymph node system under her arm using lymph nodes from her groin area. Before her surgery, I remember that her arm had gotten at least two-three times the size. She told me all about the details of the surgery. I was amazed. I knew she had undergone the surgery because I had sent her flowers and had called her during that time, but I did not understand exactly what she had gone through. She said that I ought to go on Dr. Marga's website and look at the other procedures she performs because Dr. Marga was just fabulous. I will have to admit that her arm looked so much smaller already and the surgery had been a success.

Returning from the beach that Sunday evening, I looked up Dr. Marga's website. After reading a few pages, I decided to use the "email the doctor form" on the website. I sent the message straight to Dr. Marga and told her my situation and that she had taken care of my sister, Neva that past summer. She sent me back a message within a few minutes. I was stunned. What physician e-mails the patient I thought? She stated that yes it was late, but that she was up and that she had loved taking care of my sister and she would love to take care of me. She further wrote that she would have her personal care coordinator contact me the next day with some information. She said we could be sisters too.

Within a few days, Ashley had called. We had a discussion and she set up a phone consult with Dr. Marga and me. After several phone calls and a consult visit in Charleston, I was on my way to a new me! On January 12, 2010, Dr. Marga Massey performed a bilateral mastectomy with breast reconstruction using the SGAP procedure. I had my surgery at the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery in New Orleans and it was the best choice I made along my journey. I never looked back and when they put me to sleep I had breasts, but more importantly when I woke up I had breasts. The hospital in NOLA provided me with excellent patient service. My stage 2 surgery was performed at Roper Hospital in Charleston. Stage 3 and hopefully my last surgery will be performed in Charleston next week. I have all the faith in the world in Dr. Marga and I know my outcome will be good. I work in healthcare and have met a lot of physicians in my profession, but never have I met one as skilled as Dr. Marga.

God has blessed me and at one point my sister, Neva, stated that maybe she got breast cancer to give me a road to follow. I do know that God has a plan for everything and she sure has been a blessing to me in my journey. I have also had tremendous support from my husband, family, church and work friends. But when Dr. Marga said to me during my consult, "I am sorry I keep looking at you, but you look just like your sister Neva except with brown hair", I knew I was in good hands and I was.

I appreciate you, Dr. Marga.

Love,
Mary Margaret

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Lymphedema / Lymph Node Transfer / Breast Reconstruction / Mastectomy