I lived with physical and mental pain every day for years after being treated for breast cancer. I began to accept that the pain I went through every day was normal. I told myself that being alive was more important than regaining the breasts that I lost.
At the time of my bilateral mastectomy, I chose reconstruction with silicone implants. Eight years later, on my 42nd birthday, I went to my family doctor in severe pain. After numerous tests, my doctor discovered that I had a ruptured silicone implant. My family doctor referred me to Dr Christopher Williams and Dr Jeremy Williams for a consultation.
Dr Christopher Williams and his wonderful staff educated me about all of my reconstructive options, including DIEP Flap reconstruction. Soon afterwards, Dr Christopher Williams and Dr Jeremy Williams performed the 12-hour DIEP Flap reconstruction surgery. The pre-and post- surgical support from both doctors and the entire staff at Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery provided was phenomenal.
Words cannot express the gratitude I feel regarding the amazing gift Dr Christopher Williams and Dr Jeremy Williams have given me through the DIEP Flap reconstruction procedure. Because of the transformation they have given me, I now look forward to each new day. I am no longer in pain, and I feel amazing every time I look in the mirror at myself and see a beautiful “whole” woman looking back.
Picture this…life is moving along beautifully. You are seven years out from your final chemotherapy session with no signs of the return of breast cancer, your children are heading into their college careers, you are re-entering the dating world and your 22 year old daughter is thinking of getting breast implants and wants your opinion. Life is good! I decide that my oncologist would be the best person to ask regarding my daughters options. She again suggests that I take the genetics test to see if I carry the BRCA gene. No problem, I think, I will do this for my daughter; besides, it will come back negative because I don’t have a history of breast cancer in my family other then myself and my half sister on my Dad’s side. You could have picked me up off of the Dollar Store floor when I received the phone call that the test had come back positive. I had never really considered how I would feel if it came back positive. The simple inquiry about my daughter and if she should have implants had all of a sudden became “about me”.
After some genetic counseling, I chose to have a complete hysterectomy and mastectomy - in that order and in the course of six months…you know how insurance dictates your decisions due to their deductibles and co-insurances! The hysterectomy went smoothly and I was then on to making the next decision - who would I use for my mastectomy, who would I use for my reconstruction, and which procedure would be best for me. SO MANY OPTIONS! Latissimus Flap, TRAM Flap, DIEP Flap, yes implants, no implants and on and on. I went from doctor to doctor educating myself and trying to make a decision. The first doctor I had an appointment with began showing me his photo album full of people and their final results. I immediately began to panic-I can’t do this! I don’t want to look like those women! Nothing looked natural, symmetrical or even somewhat close to original. I also had the added complication that whichever doctor I chose had to deal with radiated tissue on the side that I had the cancer on. Not an ideal situation by any means and was told that this would negatively alter my final results.
After visiting a plethora of doctors, someone mentioned Dr. Jeremy Williams. I wasn’t sure I could handle one more option. My mother continued to say, “Just go and find out what makes him different and that way you won’t always wonder, ‘What if’”. I conceded and made an appointment with this “Dr. Williams” even though I had already decided on someone else and was already working with his receptionist to schedule a day for the surgery.
I AM SO GLAD I WENT! Why are mothers always right?!? Not only was Dr. Williams extremely patient in explaining his DIEP Flap procedure thoroughly, he was so personable which is very important to me. His staff was just as outstanding. In the process of discussing the procedure, I mentioned that my surgeon was planning on doing a nipple sparing option since I wasn’t actively fighting cancer. Dr. Williams was open to trying this along with his plan even though it had never been done before. After my appointment, I went home and called the references the office staff had given me and heard nothing but wonderful comments on all levels regarding Dr. Williams and the clinic.
My decision was made – I was going to have the DIEP Flap procedure and I was actually excited about it! My breasts were going to feel normal, have a normal body temperature, have minimal scarring, have the original nipples and the bonus…a flat tummy!!!! Who would have thought that this situation could have such a positive outcome?
All through the pre-op appointments, surgery and post-op appointments, I never felt alone. Dr. Williams and his staff were there anytime I had a question, concern or simply needed someone to talk to. I didn’t feel like just another “standard” procedure to them; I was treated as if I were the only person they had ever performed this on. Although the recovery was a bit daunting, I think it would have been the same with any other option I may have chosen.
I recently had my final two-year follow-up appointment and couldn’t be happier. If there is anyone who has questions, concerns, fears or simply curiosity regarding this amazing procedure, feel free to ask for my phone number. I would love to talk with you and answer any questions you may have-I’m not a very modest person. In addition to all of these wonderful outcomes, I have also been able to jump back into the dating pool with confidence – and even experience success! I have found a wonderful man that loves me inside AND out!
I can’t say thank you enough and will do anything I can to spread my positive experience. Thank you all, thank you all, THANK YOU ALL!!!!
I came to Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery in September of 2010 as a newly diagnosed breast cancer patient facing a double mastectomy. From my first phone call and thru my recovery, Dr Chris and company have made this year completely stress free. Dr. Chris and his amazing nursing staff helped me deal with and recover from my DIEP Flap and Chemotherapy. The DIEP Flap procedure gave me beautiful new breasts and a flat stomach. Dr Chris has an incredible passion for his cancer patients and his knowledge, patience, and techniques are second to none.
As far as the actual DIEP Flap surgery, it was much less traumatic and painful than I thought it was going to be. Dr. Chris had gone into detail about all the potential complications and I was so nervous going into surgery. Coming out of surgery was much easier than going in for me! The cancer was gone and I had new breasts all in the same day. The ICU and the extra day in the hospital was no big deal and I was glad to get home.
I cannot take pain medicine but the pain was very manageable. The only thing I despised were 4 drains in my breasts and stomach. My kids nicknamed me Medusa and I couldn’t wait to have them out! Through the next couple of months, Dr. Chris and staff became my friends! I also started chemotherapy so going to PMCS became something I enjoyed. They always said I looked beautiful even though I was bald! I also went to physical therapy and that was very relaxing.
Eight months later, I had a minor surgery in the office to get nipples and some fat grafting. One word of advice: Don’t wear those nipple protectors at the TSA screening because you will get stopped. I think they thought I had a bomb on my nipples! Two months later, I had my last treatment to get tattooed to have perfect breasts. During this year long process, I had no complications other than a small wound issue and now my breasts look amazing.
I have learned through this “journey” year that having breast cancer is not the end of my life. In fact, it has reenergized me and I feel like I received a new lease on life. So many people come up to me and complement me on how much better I look. I don’t want to tell them it was breast cancer and chemotherapy but I do tell them I received a new body because of Dr’s Williams and their team of nurses and support staff. I feel like Dr. Chris is Michelangelo and I was his sculpture!! Thanks for making this breast cancer survivor whole again.
When I was diagnosed with a second breast cancer ten years after the first one, I was simultaneously shocked, angry, and sad. The first time, I had chosen to go the route of lumpectomy, radiation, and chemo. This time, I chose a double mastectomy, feeling like I couldn’t do this a third time. I researched my reconstruction options and had pretty much decided to do nothing…until I met with my surgeon. She directed me to the Drs. Williams and told me that I should at least check out my options since they were doing some pretty spectacular surgery.
From the moment I called, I was totally impressed with the kindness and professionalism of the staff. I was grateful as they juggled appointment times so that I could be seen quickly. As my husband and I met with Dr Jeremy Williams, we immediately felt comfortable and hopeful for the first time in a number of weeks. We were impressed with his kindness, honesty, and his ability to explain the surgery he was proposing. He and his entire staff were so gracious and hope-instilling that it was impossible not to leave feeling positive, supported and excited to have found a reconstructive alternative that was reasonable to us.
I have had nothing but the most positive of experiences this past year as I’ve recovered from my DIEP Flap and subsequent surgeries. The warmth of each interaction has made my journey an easy one. I appreciate that, at each step, Dr Jeremy Williams has made me feel that my recovery is the most important thing there is. I was sharing with him my last visit that I feel fabulous about the results of my surgery. I know that I could change clothes in a locker room quite easily without anyone even knowing that I chose a double mastectomy to fight my breast cancer. As a mother of two daughters, I am so grateful, not only for me, but also for them, that there is a surgery that maintains self-esteem and a sense of femininity and that Dr Williams and the staff are dedicated to a medical practice that preserves this.
I was diagnosed with infiltrating ductal and infiltrating lobular breast cancer. Upon learning that a mastectomy was my best chance to survive, I was counseled to consult plastic surgeons right away in the event I would choose breast reconstruction at the time of the mastectomy. It was all moving very fast, but I knew I had decisions to make. After visiting with several area plastic surgeons, I had emphatically decided not to undergo breast reconstruction. Then I met Dr. Christopher Williams and Dr. Jeremy Williams.
When I heard that there were two doctors performing new, state-of-the-art breast reconstruction procedures, I reluctantly scheduled yet one more plastic surgery meet-and-greet to find out if there was a stone I’d left unturned. Upon leaving the Williams’ office, I began considering breast reconstruction for the first time.
They sat with my partner and I for over two hours and, using a DVD designed to educate patients, explained in detail the procedure they recommended. They carefully and candidly answered all of our questions. I was impressed that they each shared their personal reasons for choosing to specialize in breast reconstruction: the plastic surgeon’s road less traveled. Within less than a day I had decided I wanted the DIEP flap breast reconstruction and we scheduled it.
It happened that during surgery, the doctors discovered that I had the perfect vascular anatomy for one of the rarer new techniques called the SIEA flap. The procedure is rare only because a very small percentage of women have the vascular anatomy it requires. It is also a less invasive surgery and results in a bit shorter recovery time. The Williams’ ability to discover this rare anatomy, alter the surgical plan in the moment, and forge on to perfectly perform a very rare procedure is a testament to the focus, the impeccable attention to detail, the confidence and the skill that these doctors embody.
Dr Chris and Dr Jeremy are not only brilliant surgeons with a rare combination of advanced micro-surgical skills; they are kind, empathic, and respectful humans. While I know I would have continued to love my body with or without breast reconstruction, I am very pleased with my decision and with the results.
Hearing the words “you have a rare form of breast cancer called metastatic Carcinoid tumors” can be the most frightening phrase a woman will ever hear. A range of emotions from fear, to anxiety and especially uncertainty start to take shape. Thankfully, there are treatments and medical professionals who live right here in Colorado who dedicate their lives to helping women survive their diagnosis. I researched and interviewed several.
I feel that I was extremely blessed to encounter Dr Christopher Williams, a plastic surgeon at Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery. Despite the trauma of the emotional pain at that time, meeting with Dr Christopher Williams soon put me at ease. I was impressed with his knowledge, professionalism and kindness. He not only explained the benefits of reconstructive surgery, he provided me a CD for me to watch which enlightened my educational process. Additionally, I liked knowing how many breast reconstructive surgeries he had already performed. I learned that I was a candidate for the DIEP flap procedure, the most advanced form of breast reconstruction.
My reconstructive surgery lasted ten hours. Although that may sound like it was grueling for me, it was heart wrenching for my family was well. Dr Williams was wonderful. He appointed a special nurse to keep watch over me in the OR. She, in turn, provided hourly updates to my husband and both of my daughters. After he had completed the intricate procedure, he continued to monitor my vitals while I was in the ICU via his smart phone. He even provided my family with his cell phone number.
Carcinoid cancer can provide some unique surgery challenges. Unfortunately, my body presented Dr Williams with some of these challenges. I can’t praise him enough for everything he did for me. Through each one of my surgeries and each one of my challenges, his optimism, professionalism, respect and kindness also resonated through the Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery staff, including patient coordinator, office receptionist, experienced nurse personnel, and appointment schedulers. If I entered the office upset or fearful, I left feeling calm and secure. I would never have dreamed that this journey would have such a positive impact on my life. I am so pleased with my reconstruction. I have the body that I really never had before the mastectomy. I have smaller breast and a flat stomach!
I sincerely thank everyone at Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery for their dedication to me and to each and every one of their patients. The slogan that both Dr. Williams’ wear on their surgical caps, “We Care DIEPly”, the double-entendre is a true representation of how much these doctors care about their patients.
“Yes these are fake, my real ones tried to kill me!” This is a t-shirt slogan that really speaks to me. Seven years ago plastic surgery was something that was not even on my radar. I never thought of myself as a plastic surgery kind of girl. However, sometimes life gives us challenges that we weren’t planning for and for me that challenge was a diagnosis of breast cancer. Over the past seven years the term “boob job” has taken on a whole new meaning.
In early 2006 I had a mastectomy followed by several months of chemotherapy and radiation. In the initial days of that process I was referred to Dr. Jeremy Williams to see what my options were in the area of breast reconstruction. From the first appointment with Dr. Jeremy I felt I had an advocate in negotiating the frightening situation I found myself in. Over the last seven years that feeling of having an advocate has only gotten stronger. Dr. Jeremy has been a constant source of encouragement and “possibility thinking” as I have gone through the various stages of treatment. I have never been made to feel like I was just another number in a long line of patients, never felt like Dr. Jeremy was speaking to me with his hand on the doorknob of the exam room trying to get me to hurry up so he could move on to the next person.
Over the years I have had more revisions than a high school term paper! I originally had an implant and many surgeries were done to try to remove scar tissue that continued to form around it. Dr. Jeremy talked to me about his new partner, Dr. Chris Williams and their extensive training for a new type of surgery called DIEP flap. He explained how this would be a good option for me and would give me my best shot at not needing any more surgeries to achieve the type of appearance I was hoping for. I wanted to be the first one in Colorado to have the surgery! However, it took time for my schedule to match with the doctor’s schedules and I had the surgery in 2010. I had a mastectomy on the other side at the same time as the DIEP flap surgery and I have never regretted the decision for a minute. I love going to Mexico as often as possible and I love that I can wear a two-piece swim suit and be happy about the way I look.
My experience with Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery has definitely been great! I am so glad I chose to go to this particular practice. The doctors are kind and skilled. The office staff and nursing staff are the best of any doctor’s office I have been to. I walk in feeling like I am their favorite and leave having had some fun conversations. I am so thankful that women with breast cancer can have surgeries for reconstruction paid for by insurance and I am very thankful for the folks at Park Meadows.
This testimonial is a very emotional thing for me to commit to paper. I want people to hear my story though.
I went for a routine mammogram in July 2009 never expecting to get news that would change my life. I was told that a lump was found in my right breast and that I would need to go for a biopsy. I received the news that I had CANCER the middle of August. It struck me like a thunderbolt. I then had a tough decision to make - lumpectomy or mastectomy. After talking to friends, family members, doctors, and after lots of internet research, I decided to opt for a double mastectomy with reconstruction, even though the cancer was in a very early stage (1A.) I chose this option because I didn’t want to wake up every morning wondering if this was the day the cancer would come back. Several of my friends who had lumpectomies, later had a recurrence of cancer.
On August 31, 2009, with my husband, two children, and future son-in-law in tow, I went in for the surgery that would remove both breasts and give me implants instead. After 10 hours of surgery, I woke up to a few new body changes. The cancer was removed and I didn’t have to have radiation or chemotherapy, but I do to take Anastrozole (Arimidex) for five years. It inhibits the production of estrogen.
On December 17, 2009, I had to have another surgery because the left implant was falling. After that, I was in and out of the hospital three more times in my home town for infections and fluid accumulation. On July 1, I had to have the left implant removed due to a life threatening infection. After I healed, my cosmetic surgeon said he didn’t know what else to do for me because my body rejected everything he tried. He suggested I investigate Diep flap surgery. The closest doctors who performed this surgery were in Denver, Scottsdale, Arizona, and Salt Lake City. I decided to go to Denver to Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery because the information on their website answered many of my questions and the qualifications of the doctors were impressive. I went for a consultation in November 2010 and after talking with Dr. Chris (Williams), I knew I wanted to proceed. Dr. Williams told me he thought my continued problems were in a large part related to the stress of my job. I was a Special Education teacher for behaviorally challenged kindergarten to third grade children.
After much soul searching, I decided to quit my job at the end of the school year, a job, I might add, I loved with all my heart. But my health came first and I knew that if I didn’t make this change, I would continue to have complications.
I went to Denver to Sky Ridge Hospital and had a 14 hour surgery on July 2, 2011 to remove the remaining implant and use my abdominal fat to do the reconstruction. Dr. Williams was at the hospital at midnight to check on me and again at 6:30 AM. I knew I was in good hands. I stayed in Denver 16 days so Dr. Williams could perform follow up exams and to be close if there were any complications. In mid-July I was finally able to come home. I had nipple reconstruction and some liposuction on August 25, 2011, and tattooing on December 29, 2011. I have not had any complications and am so very happy with the results. Dr. Chris and the staff of Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery were always available by phone (I live 7 hours from Denver) any time I had questions. I owe these people my life. I would recommend Dr. Williams and all of the staff at Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery and Diep flap surgery for any cancer patient who is thinking of having implants. My resulting breasts look and feel like the breasts I was born with.
A cancer diagnosis certainly changes your life, but it doesn’t have to be a bad change. Hold on tight to family and friends and don’t be afraid to cry. Live day to day and have faith that things will get better.
I am willing to talk to anyone who is thinking of having this surgery or struggling with decisions relating to a diagnosis of breast cancer.
I want to shout to all the woman in the world that I’ am a Breast Cancer Survivor and only because of early detection. You have the power to help save your life and others by spreading the word about early detection. I’m very lucky to be here today to say this to all the beautiful woman in the world. Let’s fight all we can to find a cure for Breast Cancer and all forms of Cancer. Let’s not do this alone. I had a wonderful support group of family and friends that helped me get through my ordeal. And to thank the wonderful Team of Doctors who made it possible for me to feel natural and beautiful again. So as I take on a new chapter of my life I have the power to be a Survivor.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time in 11 years my immediate thoughts were “this means a mastectomy and then I will need to find some means of reconstruction.” I was not thrilled with the reconstruction techniques I was aware of. I did not like the idea of an implant which was a foreign matter in my body and would have to be replaced down the road. I understood that a TRAM flap would compromise my abdominal muscles which I depend on for an active life. My goal was to have a healthy body that could keep me active and to not have to get dressed with extra pieces for the next 50 years.
I was thrilled to discover the DIEP reconstruction option in my research and to discover a team doing this technique here in Colorado. From my first consultation with Dr Jeremy to my final appointment declaring that we are finished, I have felt supported and encouraged. Drs Jeremy and Christopher are knowledgeable, experienced, skilled and caring. The ladies on staff at Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery Center have all been supportive, professional, and capable. I have been treated as a real person and not as a body part. Even the hospital stay at Sky Ridge Medical Center was much better than any other hospital experience I have had in my life so far.
DIEP reconstruction surgery is a process and journey. There are several steps and it takes a year or more to get to the end. As with any journey there are ups and downs. But I am thrilled with the results and felt supported and cared for all along the way. I reached my goal of a cancer free body that has all its muscles still in the intended places functioning as designed. I don’t have to get dressed with any extra pieces. I had a unilateral mastectomy and reconstruction and the match with my native side is amazing. I just wore an elegant dress to my daughter’s wedding and had no concerns at all about how my new body looks. Thank you Drs Williams, Park Meadows Cosmetic Surgery staff and Sky Ridge for taking care of me.