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Prophylactic Double Mastectomy Patient Gives Great Post-Surgical Advice

15 Feb

We were told about this posting, from a really impressive woman who has some great suggestions here for recovering from any surgery (she also was kind enough to give guided imagery a shoutout), in response to an interview with E.D. Hill which she saw on The View.  Hill is a TV journalist who chose to have a prophylactic  double mastectomy in order to prevent getting breast cancer, because of her intense family history.  You can see the original interview here. Here are her comments, written directly to E.D. Hill:

Dear E.D. Hill,
I caught The View today - something I usually cannot do as I work FT  [full time] as a Women's Health Director.  The reason I am home is that I'm two weeks post double mastectomy and beginning reconstruction - for the same proactive reason that you are doing yours.  The entire fall of 2009 was one of multiple medical opinions - funky changes to my mammograms/ultrasounds/MRI after 10 years and eight biopsies.  In the end I simply had to decide, as there was no true diagnostic differentiation that clearly helped give an affirmative "let's go".
 
I admire your courage to tell your story on TV today, and wish you the very best in recovery.  I found that guided imagery was very helpful, and it's not too late to listen to Meditations to Promote Successful Surgery by Belleruth Naparstek.  I only had time for about 4 listens, and it made an enormous difference.  I also wrote a blessing and asked for grace and good intentions from my surgical team which was read in the OR right before they put me under.
 
And...if you have drains in ( I was lucky enough not to have them) I had also prepared little cards for my family to give the nursing staff thanking them for their competence, honoring that they were caring for me and asking for special attention to help me avoid infection from the drains.  
 
You will be in my prayers for the next 2 weeks as you join the "sisterhood".  The pathology of my breast tissue showed that cancer was ready to form at any moment - all had atypical cells and some areas were very early morphing, so my decision was fully the right one for me.   I hope this message will reach you.
 
P.S.  Almost too hot towels held to the chest after your incisions heal really helps muscle spasms if you have them.  Blessings.
 
[Ed. Note:  Our amazing quadruple threat goddess, Karen Kowal - nurse,  massotherapist, aromatherapy mavin and pillow-maker - tells us that her large, heart pillow  is another tool that is perfect for post-surgical healing - heat from the microwaved pillow soothes wounds and speeds healing.]

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award