There might not be a darker, horizon-less moment than when the diagnosis is cold and unambiguous: You have breast cancer and a mastectomy is recommended.
For some, at least, there is Dr. Charles Kays, with his palette, and his promise: “How do you want me to paint your portrait?” he asks his new patients, the ones dealing with the terrifying news. “I am with them before surgery and we reach a common ground. When this is over, you can look just like you want to look and you won’t need me anymore. You can go back to being a wife, a parent, a grandmother.”
Kays is a member of the four-person surgical team at Wilmington Plastic Surgery. He settled his family here almost 17 years ago because of the “warmth and friendliness” of Wilmington, but just as importantly because he could practice the complicated breast reconstruction surgery called Transverse Rectus Abdominis Myocutaneous (TRAM flap). His work in that area has won him praise from a growing community of patients who nominated him for the American Cancer Society’s 2006 Silent Angel award, emblematic of his care and dedication to them.