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Topic: Work-Life Balance

Reflections on 2016

I can’t believe how quickly the year flew by! It was a whirlwind full of personal and professional highlights. I am so grateful for my career and all my wonderful patients, colleagues, and friends. Here are a few of my reflections on 2016:

My professional goals are always changing, but I’m proud of all the work I put in this year. My article “Quality of Life and Patient-Reported Outcomes in Breast Cancer Survivors” was published in the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and in February, I traveled to Ottawa for the Allergan-sponsored 2016 Ottawa Chief Resident Review Course lecturing on breast reconstruction techniques. It was an incredible experience to be around so many talented and inspiring surgeons while passing on our knowledge to the next generation of plastic surgeons.

I am proud that we have continued to provide our patients with the newest in technology so they can make informed decisions on potential procedures. My favourite is the Vectra 3D Imaging machine, which allows patients to visualize the possibilities of their aesthetic procedures during the consultation process.

One of my personal milestones this year was celebrating my 40th birthday. 25 of my closest friends joined me for a birthday spin at Ride Cycle Club. I’m so thankful that I have such supportive and caring people in my life. Growing older is just getting better, and I can’t wait for what the next decade brings.

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I’m an advocate of making sure you keep your mind and body healthy through a worklife balance. Staying active is very important to me, and I spent 2016 conquering local hikes like The Chief and the Grouse Grind while continuing my yoga and spin regimen. I’ve also been working on keeping mindfulness ‘top-of-mind’, taking in moments I once took for granted and learning to appreciate the little things.

In April, I became a proud dog owner to my new best friend Luna, a beautiful silver lab. I also recently moved to Kitsilano, and Luna and I have been enjoying our daily beach walks.

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October was a big month- I became an aunt to my nephew Ethan– one of the most rewarding experiences of my life thus far.

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October was also Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I hosted the 6th annual Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day on October 19th . It was great to see my former reconstruction patients and provide information on the surgical options for women considering breast reconstruction. For BRA Day awareness, I tested my public speaking abilities on a segment on breast reconstruction on Global with Sophie Lui and Amanda McNally from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF). I look forward to continuing my work with breast cancer survivors and BRA Day in 2017.

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I’m already enjoying the holiday festivities this month and excited for everything to come in 2017. Every year my goals change and I find myself doing things I never would have imagined. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings!

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Reflections on 2015

As I look back on 2015 I feel grateful for my wonderful patients, my family & friends and all of the little things that I usually take for granted that contribute to making my practice and my surgeries a success.

This year we have continued to offer the most up to date surgical techniques to our patients. I am continually in awe of the strength that I see in my breast cancer patients who this year ranged in age from 26 to 76. The impact of a breast cancer diagnosis is life changing and to see my patients go through the process of acceptance, information-seeking, body-changing surgery and finally recovery is humbling. I appreciate the connection I share with them and the long term relationships I form from the point of diagnosis to the final stage of nipple reconstruction and tattoo.

In October of 2015 we hosted the 4th annual Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day. This year was a great success and I was able to engage the media and spread the word through Stephen Quinn (CBC), Linda Steele (CKNW), CTV News and Erin Ellis (Vancouver Sun). Thanks to all of you for helping us educate the public about their options concerning breast reconstruction. I also want to thank our 24 models who participated in a private, women-only show-and-tell where women were able to see the results of breast reconstruction in the flesh. This takes extreme courage and empowerment.

In Uganda I was inspired to a level I did not think possible. There, I was able to push my boundaries as I operated in a completely different environment and on patients with problems of a nature not commonly seen in North America. I realized how lucky we are in Canada to have a state-of-the art medical system with operating theaters that run smoothly and the equipment we need to give patients the best care possible. Most importantly we are able to offer breast reconstruction to everyone in need; this is not the case in many other countries and it is important to remember this.

Being a surgeon is not always easy as there are many demands, complications and expectations that come with the job. This year I balanced this part of my life with time with my family, a dedication to hot yoga & spin classes and travel. Each year I try to see at least two new countries and this year Uganda and the Netherlands made the list. In Amsterdam I reconnected with Dr Breukers who was our breast reconstruction fellow in 2013 and has now gone on to start his own practice. It is wonderful to remain connected to the international fellows that we train with knowledge transfer happening in both directions.

It’s been a great year. In December 2014 I could not have imagined that I would be involved in the first breast reconstruction in Uganda, become a medical consultant on a movie and become guardian to a baby chimpanzee! I wonder what 2016 will bring?

With one of our incredible patients at BRA Day 2015

With one of our incredible patients at BRA Day 2015

Teaching with the UBC team in Uganda

Teaching with the UBC team in Uganda

Operating with the Ugandan Orthopedic residents. Transferring knowledge across borders.

Operating with the Ugandan Orthopedic residents. Transferring knowledge across borders and specialties.

Fun day with the chimpanzees and the UBC team in Uganda

Fun day with the chimpanzees and the UBC team in Uganda

Stationary cycling on the Georgia Viaduct with Ride Cycle Club and Dr Esta Bovill

Stationary cycling on the Georgia Viaduct with Ride Cycle Club and Dr Esta Bovill

The look of achievement after cooking the perfect turkey with my sister Lindsay Macadam

The look of achievement after cooking the perfect turkey with my sister Lindsay Macadam

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