Video: Breast Reconstruction Project Featured on ABC News
Patient Lucienne Colombo and PEP Director Mollie Sugarman talk about decisions to undergo a mastectomy and breast reconstruction. Dr. Ron Israeli talks about how many patients prefer favor breast preservation over traditional mastectomy. Significant developments in reconstruction have helped improve many patients' body images after surgery.
Our integrative approach starts when patients come in for their initial breast reconstruction consultation. After learning about their surgical options, patients and their loved ones have the opportunity to meet with Mollie Sugarman, the director of our Patient Empowerment Program. A very personal treatment approach can then be identified that will incorporate not only the physical aspects of healing, but also the emotional aspects of recovery.
Connecting Patients with our Patient to Patient Caring Team
The beginning of the cancer journey is overwhelming and is coupled with concern and anxiety of the unknown. Many of our patients offer to share their stories and breast reconstruction with others, a true gift and a “pay it forward” experience. The Patient to Patient Caring Team members are matched by our staff with individuals who are planning to undergo similar breast reconstruction procedures.
Pre-Operative Guided Imagery and Relaxation Techniques Sessions
Relaxation techniques, coupled with guided imagery, have proven to be extremely beneficial during the reconstruction process. Having the tools to cope with powerful stages of life can help you to move through them with a greater sense of control and lower stress levels. Anesthesiologists and breast surgeons involved in the reconstructive surgery with our physicians have reported that patients who have elected to participate in this service are significantly more relaxed going into the operating room and consequently, find that it has impacted the ease of anesthesia.
Sisterhood of Support (S•O•S)
Laugh, cry, and feel safe to share your feelings in this nurturing environment that focuses on processing the multitude of emotions that surface while facing a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. The road to coping with the overwhelming issues related to a breast cancer diagnosis is a difficult journey. It is not unusual for women to struggle with seeing beyond the present or with recapturing their sense of “self”. While family, partners, and friends can offer tremendous support, women frequently find themselves wearing a “mask” to protect those around them. The groups offer an opportunity for support from others who are going through a similar process.
Spouse Breakfast Meeting
We also provide the opportunity for the partners/spouses of our breast reconstruction patients to come together as a group to share their experiences and to openly express their concerns in a safe and confidential environment. Both individuals in the relationship are impacted by the breast diagnosis and subsequent reconstruction process. Guiding partners to learn to listen to feelings and fears, to understand the various treatments, and to discuss their level of involvement in the surrounding the illness is extremely helpful to the couple.