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The Limits Are Only Where We Decide To Set Them!
You’re a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend. A husband, a son, a brother, an uncle. The technologist who performs the mammogram. The radiologist who reads the mammogram and explains the results to the patient. Or… you’re a breast cancer survivor working for a healthcare company…like me.
Back to work after 1 year of treatment, I know today that we all “miss” something in our understanding of patient journey and experience.
Looking back to my own story, I’ve had at minimum 120 medical appointments by now, i.e. a mix of surgeries, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, various check-ups, screenings, blood tests, regular hormonal injections, reconstruction(s) with a few complications to make it “funnier” etc. By adding my complete view as a patient to my professional background/experience, I do feel that I have the best cards to play with.
I speak up for my beliefs.
I have had the chance to meet a lot of extraordinary women and men. We shared our stories, listened to each other, learned and lived these difficult times together, cried, laughed, complained. I want to give something back to work to improve their lives, win back some trust and help to fill all the gaps I know they have in their journey, from routine control and all the way down to healing. Generally, the places I spot for improvement, lies in the level and complexity of information everyone receives, non-personalized experience and waiting time, routine tech exams and lack of advice for non-medical supportive care, money…
I’ve always tried myself to be a step ahead on cancer and treatment side effects, to be a role model to my family, friends and other patients I still know, and I meet them from time to time. I want them to realize the power they have in between their hands without them knowing it. I want to inspire them and to transfer some positive attitude. It’s such an important piece for healing.
Acceptance, mental preparation and information is one of the best painkillers I personally know about.
No one has enough time for us to go into details in the beginning of the journey, we rarely have a coach to prepare us for the fight. I want to be that coach…
Hospitals move into “industrialization” with high expectations on return of investment with the acquisition of medical imaging machines i.e. More patients/day, no downtime allowed, well, you know the story. Therefore, I am a bit provocative and want to challenge ourselves, on why we do things, and for whom, make sure we understand all their needs.
Breast cancer healing is possible thanks to early detection and heavy medical treatment.
Healing is known as well to be partially impacted by ourselves, our positive mindset and time we need to take just care about our self, i.e. adapted nutrition, exercise, group discussions etc. But not everyone knows that, so who takes the time to tell all the women that?
Cancer hits women from so many different horizons and environments, some have low to no access to internet and other social media, some are old and already very weak, some with no or low revenues to access any kind of media…so how can they know about detection, and more, how can they know who to turn to for this little “extra help” on top of their treatments.
For me it was, and still is, a tragedy to speak with women that have no clue about all this.
I would do anything to inform all women and patients, from Day 1. The only place I see where we can guarantee that the information is being given to all patients is… the waiting rooms! A dedicated, warm and caring space, with experts being available to support the fostering of a better and personalized breast cancer journey as soon as the bad news are announced.
Just because we are all the most precious pieces of the equation, THE Every day HEROES”, we can find the best win-win approach ever against cancer. The limits are only where we decide to set them, together as a team…
Thank you for reading my story,
(3) Pisano et al. Diagnostic Performance of Digital versus Film Mammography for Breast –Cancer Screening. NEJM 2005;353:1773.