It is difficult enough to deal with the enormity of a cancer diagnosis, let alone managing the recovery issues follows a mastectomy and breast reconstruction. As part of our Patient Empowerment Program (PEP), complimentary workshops and lectures are offered once a month to meet the needs of our patients. The specialists presenting are experts in the specific topics which are pertinent to the physical and emotional aspects of healing. These professionals provide information that can help our patients make informed choices. We have consistently seen how this aspect of our Patient Empowerment Program serves to empower our patients.
Most recently, the lecture: “Breast Cancer Rehabilitation and Lymphedema Management” was presented in our conference area. The specialists presenting this topic were:
DAVID LIGHT, MD
Our own Dr. Light is one of a few surgeons nationally who performs vascularized lymph node transfers to treat lymphedema of the arms and legs. Dr. Light completed his plastic surgery training at the world renowned Cleveland Clinic and also completed a microsurgery fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, a program known to have pioneered lymphedema surgery. Dr. Light participated in this special presentation, by fielding questions and providing his perspective in the management of lymphedema.
RANDEE ZERNER, OTR/L, CHT,CLT.
Randee is a New York State Licensed and Board Certified Occupational Therapist as well as a Certified Lymphedema Therapist. A major focus of Randee's practice is treating patients with breast cancer who are dealing with a variety of issues, including decreased shoulder range of motion, chest wall tightness, surgical scars and cording. She works with patients on a number of different therapeutic issues such as the treatment of lymphedema as well as their return to exercise and work. She also focuses on patient education and addressing various aspects of the ongoing healing process.
MICHAEL ALATRISTE, LMT, CLT.
Michael is a New York State Licensed Massage Therapist and a Certified Lymphedema Therapist. He began treating patients with lymphedema in 1998 under the direction of Robert Lerner, MD, and has since become the Clinical Director of “Lymphedema Preventive Care & Treatment,” a boutique clinic in midtown Manhattan. In his16 years of dedicated practice, Michael has focused on both the prevention and treatment of lymphedema. He has also developed a certification curriculum for Lymphedema Management and Lymphatic Therapies, which he presents in partnership with the Swedish Institute, College of Health Sciences in New York City. Michael has spent the past year focusing on treating patients requiring surgical management of lymphedema.
So many questions about recovery and rehabilitation remain for patients following mastectomy and reconstruction. Our presenters were able to provide the answers needed to questions including:
• “Why do I still experience pain and/or numbness?"
• “Will I get back my motion in my shoulder?”
• “Will be I able to do all the things I was able to do before my surgery?”
• “Is there anything to do about my scar tissue?”
• “Can therapy help me during my treatment?”
• “Am I at risk for Lymphedema …and if so, what do I need to know?"