Katie - Breast Reconstruction - Kouris MD - Hinsdale, IL
My name is Katie. I had a prophylactic double mastectomy, and I chose Dr. Kouris for many reasons, one of them being he is a close person to my family and we hold him very near and dear to our hearts.
My journey starts kind of a while back. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was in high school. She actually had it twice, bilaterally, and then fast forwarding quite a few years after that, my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 27 which is very young. From there, a lot of the doctors kind of started thinking what to do about me, so I was screened with an MRI for many years, about six years. Then this past summer, I had actually just recently lost my father to a different type of cancer called glandular carcinoma, which is cancer of the bile duct.
Throughout my sister's journey is really when we met Dr. Kouris. My father and him became very close, and so did everyone else in the family. Dr. Kouris always promised that he would take care of us, so we really trusted him and with everything going on with my sister, it was just very difficult at the time. We trusted him, so he did her double mastectomy.
Then back in the summer, I started to notice some changes in myself, in my own body. I went for my annual MRI, and they found a nodule and although it was small, they wanted to do a biopsy just because of my history. So I allowed them to do a biopsy and it did come back negative, fortunately, but at the same time, all the flags were really there. Something's really going on in this family because three out of the four family members have had some sort of a cancer.
We went for genetic testing. My mom, my sister, and I all came back positive for the PALB2 genetic mutation. It's kind of like a relative of the BRACA mutation. My chances of having breast cancer in my life went up a lot, to about 60%, but I also had two people in my family that had the PALB2 genetic mutation and they had it young.
My team of doctors kind of said this is probably something that I should start thinking about. I have ran five marathons, so I'm very in tune with my own body. I realized that I was fighting a lot of inflammation. I could feel things changing within me, besides the fact that I had grown a nodule, probably due to a lot of the stress of losing my father.
So we put all of that together, the bodily changes, the PALB2 genetic mutation, and then the biopsy. I decided that this wasn't something that I wanted lingering over my head for many years. This was something I wanted to do now. I, of course, turned to my family and we had some hard decisions and some hard talks but we landed on this and I decided to go forward with the double mastectomy at that point.
Immediately, my sister said, "We have to go see Dr. Kouris. We need to make sure that you are in the best hands, that you're taken care of, and that you feel confident in your decision." I had only met him a few times when my sister had gone through her diagnosis with breast cancer.
I came in, I sat with him, and immediately I felt calm. I felt that it was the right decision. I knew I was in good hands, and that I could actually do this. He gave me that strength to know that. We talked about it and we formed a plan and then he did my double mastectomy back in December, and then because I was prophylactic, we were going to try to do it all in one, but I let the artist do his work and he knows what's best and I had to actually have the expanders. It all wasn't as bad as I had made it out to be. I was very afraid of the pain of all of it, but he took care of that and he was comforting and we moved forward.
I had the expanders for about two months and then I had my reconstruction, well, my reconstructive surgery back in March. I am now a week out of surgery, and I feel absolutely wonderful. I know that he took care of me. As a result, I look great and he did exactly what he needed to do for me. I love him, he's a great physician. As far as the rest of the staff here at Midwest Plastic Surgery, I can't say enough good things about all of them. Nurse Sheila is very comforting as well. She lets you know what you need to do in order to take care of yourself. Even when I met Jocelyn as well, when I was in the hospital, she was somebody who was very comforting and taught me how to take care of myself, to get myself to where I needed to be.
I'm very appreciative of everybody at this practice and most of all, to Dr. Kouris because he, and these are actually his words, he knew that I was making a tough decision without my father and he wanted to make sure that I was taken care of and he promised my dad that, and he lives up to his promises.