Last week I watched an innovative breast surgery webcast from Baptist Health Breast Center, partly because I am a member of the Baptist Health South Florida marketing team and partly because I am always curious to see what my tolerance levels will be.
I always like to challenge myself, see how far I can push the envelope, so to speak; and watching live surgery can push the envelope pretty darn far. (The surgery took place in August and the webcast took place three months later.)
As a person who cannot even look when they stick a needle in my arm to draw blood, you can imagine my squeamishness just thinking about watching Dr. Anna Voltura make that first incision. Actually, a few days prior, she and I were talking about the webcast and she had a CD in her hand. She asked, “Want to watch it now?” I said, “No, I have to psych myself up for this.”
And psych myself up I did.
I watched the entire webcast from beginning to end, and was only a little weak in the knees and jumpy in the stomach while they showed the various stages of reconstruction. Those scars were difficult for me. Dr. Voltura assured me I was not alone. Scars can be difficult.
The surgery itself was a piece of cake. I distanced myself by thinking of the patient on the operating table as a doll. The patient’s skin looks doll-like, plastic and pliable. Unlike the old-fashioned dolls, however, the patient didn’t have that rubbery stuffing coming out of the incision. There was nothing pouring out, actually. When you consider that they were performing surgery, there was really not too much blood, as they kept suctioning it out. Horror and war movies are much more graphic.
And then it was over, and we got to meet the patient, Kristin Aguilera, who looked very happy and healthy. She survived her ordeal and pulled through with flying colors. She had nothing but praise for Dr. Voltura and the entire Breast Center team.
We also met the other Breast Center surgeons – Dr. Robert DerHagopian and Dr. Gladys Giron – who, along with Dr. Voltura, answered questions about the surgery, other types of reconstructive surgery procedures, breast cancer risks and genetics.
And all uttered repeatedly the most famous breast cancer words of all: GET A MAMMOGRAM – EARLY DETECTION SAVES LIVES!
HEED THE WARNING!
Muriel, a four-year, 10-month survivor
PLEASE JOIN THE CONVERSATION
As a part of our mission to make The Journey a powerful voice for everyone in our community, we invite each of you to consider joining the conversation and sharing your journey with comments and feedback. You don’t have to be a breast cancer survivor, you can be a caregiver, or a friend, or a concerned citizen. What we are looking for is meaningful and helpful conversations that will encourage other people as they travel along their journey. Sharing is caring and very cathartic. I sincerely urge you to take part.