Leslie Peek's Inspiring Journey with UC Davis’ All-Natural Breast Reconstruction
Hello dear readers,
Today, we're sharing a truly inspiring story of resilience and hope. Meet Leslie Peek, a breast cancer survivor, an athletic mother of two, and the first patient at UC Davis Health to experience a new 'all-natural' breast reconstruction technique known as the PAP flap procedure.
In 2023, during a routine mammogram, Leslie found herself face-to-face with a breast cancer diagnosis. As a career counseling team manager for pre-med students at UC Davis, Leslie knew the importance of in-depth research. She decided on a bilateral mastectomy, removing both breasts, for her peace of mind.
Then came the critical decision about breast reconstruction. “I knew my body would expand and contract as I enjoyed the rest of my life, so a natural reconstruction was appealing to me rather than breast implants,” says Leslie. But due to her athletic lifestyle and lack of extra abdominal fat, traditional methods weren't feasible.
Enter the PAP flap procedure. This innovative technique uses thigh tissue, which Leslie had in abundance. The tissue, fed by small blood vessels sewn to vessels in the chest, is then molded into a breast shape.
Conducted by plastic surgeons Ara Salibian and Michelle Zaldana-Flynn, Leslie's surgery was a success. “The ability to offer this surgery has allowed us to expand the options for patients to have a natural breast reconstruction after a mastectomy who otherwise would not have been candidates for this type of procedure,” said Salibian.
Leslie bounced back remarkably quickly. Within days, she was up and walking, and within weeks, she was back managing her career and caring for her kids. The result? "The symmetry of my breasts is great, and I feel like myself,” shares Leslie. “After the procedure, I felt hope for the first time—like I was going to be okay. For me this was the right choice.”
Today, Leslie is back to doing what she loves – playing softball and running. She's even planning to enter Sacramento's annual Davis Turkey Trot with her family, a Thanksgiving tradition she couldn't participate in last year.
Leslie's story serves as a beacon of hope for women facing similar challenges. It shows that with early detection, the right medical team, and the courage to make informed decisions, one can overcome anything.
Remember, if you or someone you know is navigating a similar journey, explore all your options. You might just find a solution suited perfectly for you. Stay strong, stay informed, and take care!
Sources: UC Davis Health
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