April 12, 2012
Elyn Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor and certified cancer coach. When she was faced with a mastectomy she made several decisions to help her get the best treatment for her specific cancer. After going through the experience herself, she now shares her wisdom with others just like her so they will be empowered to do the same.
To view the video, please visit: http://www.breastcanceranswers.com/breast-cancer-coachs-tips-for-mastectomy-elyn-jacobs/
Elyn Jacobs: I have three tips for you if you are facing mastectomy.
Tip number 1 – Get a second opinion. You have time to get this right. Surgical options vary from doctor-to-doctor and amongst cancer centers. So second opinion is very important. It can offer you more options and it can offer the chance to regain control.
A second opinion can also help give you confirmation of a suggested protocol. Doubt brings stress and fear, neither of which is conducive to survivorship and healing. Confirmation allows you to go forth with confidence.
For me, a second opinion made all the difference. First doctor walked in, was very nice, offered me no options and simply handed me the name of a plastic surgeon to go and see.
The second doctor walks in, lays out several options and then asks me several lifestyle questions. He suggested that we do the incision via the inframammary fold, which means hiding the scars in the bra line.
I then asked him if I could keep my nipples, and he said, “Well yes, I believe you are a candidate for that also”, and he asked me if he’d like the plastic surgeon to come in now so that I don’t have to come back for yet another appointment – my hero!
She walks in, lays out several options and then she and I together discussed which would be best for me, for my body, for my cancer. I leave there feeling that these doctors really care about me, not just my cancer – me, as a person. I will come out of this whole; I am now confident and empowered.
Tip number 2 – Know your options. I had never heard a surgery via the inframammary fold so I never would have known to ask. I also had never heard of the nipple-sparing mastectomy, and there are so many other options.I can’t tell you how many people I have talked to since then who have gone through surgery only afterwards to find out that they had options their doctor never even mentioned. I was lucky. Now I make it my goal to make sure that other women know that they have options.
Tip number 3 – Ask questions. This sort of goes back to knowing your options. If your surgeon says that an option is not available to you, you want to ask him, “Is it not available for me, for my cancer? Is that why it’s not available, or it’s simply not offered by that surgeon?” It’s a big difference there.
So you want to find the best doctor that you can and find one that offers you options, and bring a buddy. When you are nervous, scared, vulnerable, you may not feel that you can question your doctor. Bring someone with you who can make sure that your questions get answered, to make sure your voice is heard.
You have everything to gain and nothing to lose by gathering information and being an active participant in your care. Think of the power when we say, “This is what I am doing to beat cancer”, as opposed to “This is what they are doing to me”.
Hi, I am Elyn Jacobs, a breast cancer survivor and a certified cancer coach. I am also the Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation. You can find me at www.wordpress.com. I am also on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn @ElynJacobs, or you can email me at Elyn@ElynJacobs.com.
This information should not be relied upon as a substitute for personal medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Use the information provided on this site solely at your own risk. If you have any concerns about your health, please consult with a physician.