first_imgYet again, Krista Colvin lies in a hospital bed awaiting surgery. A year ago, the surgery was to remove her breasts. This time, the surgery will reconstruct them.Dr. Allen Gabriel walks into the room. “Hey, you ready?”“Yeah,” Krista replies. “This is the good surgery.”The 44-year-old Camas mother of two first discovered a lump in her right breast in early 2010. The cancer had already spread to her lymph nodes. Because her form of cancer was aggressive, she had both breasts removed.She and her husband, Mike, were somber and tearful in the moments before that earlier surgery. Their mood this time is almost giddy. They kiss goodbye, and Gabriel assures Mike he’ll call when the surgery is over.“There’s a different feeling to this,” Mike says. “I’m not really worried.”Gabriel began preparing Krista for reconstruction more than a year ago. He worked alongside the general surgeon during her mastectomy. He inserted expanders, which were later pumped full of saline to stretch her skin and muscle and create a pocket for silicone implants. The expanders gave her body a suggestion of the curves that reconstruction would eventually make permanent. But they were uncomfortable rock-hard lumps that strained against skin and scar tissue.That’s why, even after all the preparation, Gabriel spends the first part Krista’s reconstructive surgery carefully cutting away scar tissue.“This is almost like cutting through rock,” he says, working a scalpel through the web built up, in part, by six weeks of radiation treatments. Once Gabriel is satisfied with the pocket he creates on the right side, he moves on to the left, where the skin is more supple. Then he’s able to place the implants.last_img read more