Thursday, August 13, 2009

Keep the care in healthcare

Happy Thursday!

This past week a long time friend of mine passed along a link to a petition hosted on the Lifetime TV network's site. This petition is in support of the Bipartisan Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act - basically protecting women's rights and ensuring mastectomy surgeries do not become labeled as outpatient procedures. The thought that a mastectomy could be an 'in and out' type of procedure is astounding and horrifying. It begs the following question, "what does this mean for reconstruction procedures?" Would they too become in and out surgeries?

The average breast cancer patient undergoes multiple procedures, none of which are pain free, often involving loss of movement and feeling, swelling and blood loss. Monitoring and post op physically therapy support is key. And these are just the physical side effects - what about the emotional?

I recall how disoriented I was both physically and emotionally following my lumpectomy. The physical therapist visited with me for 5 minutes to walk through the post op exercises I needed to complete. Later when I was at home, I could not raise my arm to even shoulder level. With tears trailing down my face I earnestly tried to make sense of the exercise diagrams provided by the therapist. After several tries I gave up and was immensely relieved when my vascular surgeon enrolled me in a hands-on physical therapy program.

The surgeries and treatments women (and men) undergo for breast cancer are difficult, painful and cut you to your core - physically and emotionally. During this difficult period of time, patients need quality care in order to sustain their strength and dignity. My vote is to keep the 'care' in health care!

Please take a look and consider signing the petition.

Cheers to survivorship!

Tara Jensen

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