Margaret - Dr. Marga's July 2014 Mermaid of the Month

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My "Mermaid" story began in May 2009 with an annual mammogram which was normal. At the End of July 2009, I noticed what appeared to be slight swelling of my left breast. It intensified over the next few days and I went in to see my OB/GYN for what I hoped was an infection of some type. I had already "Googled" SUDDEN BREAST INFLAMMATION and was distressed to see a rare form of breast cancer pop up as a possibility. After an ultrasound which showed no fluid or infection I went to see a local breast cancer surgeon who happens to be a close friend and she knew immediately what I had: "Inflammatory Breast Cancer"! A needle biopsy confirmed her diagnosis and I was immediately referred to an oncologist. That week is a blur to me but I remember hearing things like "neoadjuvant chemotherapy, hormone receptors, HER2 positive and an aggressive form of breast cancer that has a 2540% survival rate after two years"! Mind numbing, but I jumped right in and started chemo in midAugust, followed by double mastectomy in February 2010, Herceptin treatments, radiation and estrogen blockers. By May 2010 I was done and had given little thought to reconstruction because of my irradiated skin and what seemed like a long journey of scans, needles, ports, infusions, anesthesia, surgeries and "Star Trek" looking radiation machines! I had wonderful care and support and was content to sit back, relax and hope for the best...beating the odds and surviving! I wore specially fitted prosthetic foam "breasts" inside a mastectomy bra and, although they didnít feel natural, at least I had something!

After I hit the "two year" mark I started to think about reconstruction. My artificial breasts were hot and my clothes didnít always fit right. My surgeon had given me the information about reconstruction options during treatment but I just couldnít "get my head around it". I couldnít stomach the thought of more surgery, especially if it wouldnít prolong my life. When I hit the 30 month mark I reopened the subject with my surgeon. I thought that if I could make it three years without recurrence that I may indeed beat the odds and want my breasts back! Lucky for me (I like to think it was divine intervention), my surgeon told me about a patient of hers who had seen a microsurgical breast reconstruction surgeon and had AMAZING results! Although there are plastic surgeons in my area who have done flap procedures, my surgeon felt that I should see someone who does these procedures on a very regular basis. She gave me Dr. Margaís information and I had a consult with her in Charleston soon after. I knew immediately that she was the "gal" for me! A female surgeon, excellent track record, wonderful, caring staff and a website with awesome "Mermaid Testimonials"...What more could a girl ask for? I had a Diep Flap Stage 1 procedure in New Orleans in September 2012 (we had to postpone for two weeks due to Hurricane Isaac but Dr. Massey rescheduled me promptly and I came back more determined than EVER to get this done!) Three "follow up surgeries" later I had soft, full, warm, natural feeling breasts with NO REGRETS!! Dr. Marga is warm, caring, skilled, personable and a blessing to all of her patients! I am coming up on the 5th anniversary of my diagnosis (August 6th) and I canít believe its been 5 years!! God willing, I will continue safely on this journey and I canít thank him and my friend/surgeon enough for leading me to Dr. Massey!

Margaret Holland

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