If you walked into our offices on Sunday and didn't know about our Patient Empowerment Program event, you might have thought you stumbled upon some sort of Santa's workshop satellite office or a secret sewing society. With flashy fabric, elastic and velcro covering every inch of available space in the conference room and lounge area, music playing, women busily running their sewing machines, and others cutting fabric...what else could it possibly be? After rubbing your eyes and things came into focus, you would have realized the elves were really a great group of volunteers working together to make a positive impact and create stylish gifts for women just beginning their journey with breast cancer.
A few years ago, one of our young patients, Erica Misorek, was facing her own mastectomy and reconstruction process. One of her concerns was the impact of the drains on her young children because the drains people have to wear after surgeries can be unsightly at times, and she thought they might scare her kids. So, being a creative dynamo, she designed and developed the unique femPower Belt to conceal her drains while making a fashion statement.
Erica received wonderful praise after revealing her creation to her doctors and nurses. Seeing the positive reactions from all around her, she was inspired to create more femPower Belts for other women undergoing their journey. And after realizing the positive impact the belts had on other patients, our physicians immediately wanted to support Erica's amazing creation and assist in providing them to all of our reconstruction patients.
To be able to help more women with their journey, Erica founded the femPower Foundation. Ever since she made her first belt, the Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, PC doctors have been major supporters of Erica and the foundation. Together we have been able to help more people and provide a silver lining to the otherwise dreary process of getting fitted with drains.
As part of our Patient Empowerment Program, we are happy to be able to give all our patients their own femPower Belt. Even better, we found that making the belts for other women has positive healing effects on belt creators. So started the femPower Belt Workshop. Patient Empowerment Program events, such as this workshop, serve to foster a very special community and connectedness among our patients. Several women commented on Sunday that they had arbitrarily placed themselves at a work table and felt an instant connection with the others seated there as if it were meant to be.
The following are just a few comments I received after Sunday's workshop:
"I am so glad I attended yesterday's event. It was the first time I had ever spent time and talked to women in a 'support group' type of venue. I know...where have I been for the past 19 months! It was wonderful to share experiences and feelings with those who can relate. I look toward to future events and thank you for all your efforts!"
"Hi Mollie - thanks for a wonderful afternoon and I made some new friends!! Could not believe the instant connection with the others at my table...it was the spirit of Sisterhood personified"
"It's the combination of all of the tools this practice provides that helps us work towards feeling emotionally and physically restored. In speaking with my friends who have sadly gone through this process, I am the only one to have been most fortunate to have found a treatment team who is both so surgically skilled and sensitive to the needs of my healing...they're one of a kind. It's been the silver lining in this most difficult time of my life."
For more information, visit the femPower Foundation Facebook page.
A lavish and delish brunch was donated by the owners of BAGEL BOSS OF ROSLYN...this is the second time they have sponsored our femPower workshop. We are most grateful for their support and generosity.
Thank you to everyone who participated!
Clinical Director, Patient Empowerment Program
Photos: (top) The femPower elves, (middle) Dr. Jonathan Bank, Carmel Bank and Dr. Randall Feingold, (bottom) Erica Misorek and yours truly