The type of surgery recommended in any given case of breast cancer has significance for postoperative therapy. Breast cancer surgery may be less extensive or radical where the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or to other parts of the body; the use of chemotherapy and radiation therapy may then be more aggressive. Breast cancer surgery recovery time depends on the procedure involved.
More commonly, the cancer is localized. The patient's options may, in consequence include: surgery only, surgery with radiation, surgery with chemotherapy, surgery with a combination of these treatments; or radiation or chemotherapy without surgery. However, breast cancer surgery recovery time would differ depending upon the kind of surgery they had.
If the lesion is malignant, the surgeon proceeds with the mastectomy. Depending upon the seriousness of the case and the procedure recommended by the surgeon and the pathologist, the operation may be a simple mastectomy, a radical mastectomy, a modified radical mastectomy, or any of a number of other forms of breast operation.
Cancer Cures & Cover-ups provides a riveting synopsis of numerous suppressed therapies that have fallen prey to a disturbing quagmire of corporate greed, intellectual arrogance and politics at its worst, primarily expedited by Big Pharma's control of dimwit government regulators, and the machinery of "techno-medicine" spinning out of control.
In the United States, until recently, radical mastectomy was the usual procedure for breast cancer treatment. Today at least seven different types of mastectomy, some more widely accepted than other, may be performed namely: lumpectomy, simple mastectomy, modified-radical mastectomy, halsted-type radical mastectomy, radical mastectomy, super-radical mastectomy. All may be recommended in different cases depending upon the type of cancer, its invasive potential, or ability to spread, and other factors.
Most patients have deep concern about many aspects of breast cancer surgery recovery time, including the cosmetic effects. For that reason, it is important to select the appropriate type of surgery. The rates of survival appear to depend as much on timely use of pre and postoperative radiotherapy and postoperative chemotherapy as on the type of operation. But the kind of operation may determine whether the patient will be able to function and recover normally in a relatively short period of time.
Four Keys to Recovery and Healing
When faced with cancer, there's usually a feeling of shock followed quickly by a head-spinning sense of "lack of control". Suddenly, you've been thrown into a nightmare. It's easy to feel like you're at the mercy of the disease, the surgeries, the treatments, and the pills. (You're not alone in those feelings - even though you may feel alone.)
Here are three, easy things that you can do to take back control and boost your healing and recovery:
Try to think of prayer away from its religious affiliations, and instead, think of prayer as the thoughts you think. It's important to pray as though you already have what you desire - in this case, health or perhaps a smooth surgery. It can be difficult to get to that place when you've got cancer at your door. Don't deny your fear, but don't pray from a place of fear or from a place of begging and mourning.(The sages have always told us that we don't have to beg when we pray, we can declare a thing and have it be so.)
If you've tried prayer and decided that it doesn't work, really examine your prayers. If you pray with an attitude of "I don't want this situation", you encourage that situation. Instead, pray for health or that the surgery goes well. Pray for the doctor's hands, but don't pray something along the lines of, "I hope nothing bad happens during the surgery, or I hope I don't catch an infection after the surgery." Pray in the positive.
The same goes for visualization. If you are visualizing and your imagination starts running away with you, stop the visualization and come back to it later. Do not let it continue. I got great results from visualizing for my first surgery - amazing results. However, there were quite a few times when my imagination started taking me to some dark places as I visualized the surgery. When that happened, I stopped and came back to it later.
Let your prayer and visualization be a place where you see yourself as having successfully and victoriously conquered cancer. Picture it happening, and then pray thoughts of thanksgiving.
2. Take Charge of Your Health
There's a tendency to abdicate all authority to the medical staff. Yes, the doctors are there to assist you and facilitate your return to health, and you need the knowledge and wisdom they possess, but you're the one in charge. You are the one with the illness, and after all, it's your body. Work with your doctors as you would any other consultant. Being passive with cancer and letting it happen to you isn't in your best interest. Be informed.
I was the one who recommended that I have a double mastectomy. My doctors recommended a more conservative treatment, but I knew what was right for me. (The doctors conceded that if I were willing, then the more extreme procedure was a better choice - even though it wasn't warranted by the facts at the time.)
Cancer can be an opportunity to get back in touch with your intuition, with you as an authority in your own life. Many of us lost that at some point growing up. Cancer can be a harsh (yet, oddly freeing) exercise in regaining that authority.
3. Ask For Help
This one is so hard for many women who are accustomed to "doing it all". See cancer as a great excuse to get help. When people offer to help, take them up on it. Let them cook dinner, clean your house, drive you to appointments, and watch your children. Take all the help you can get - and then ask for more. As you learn to ask for and accept assistance, you learn to be a gifted "receiver" of good things, and this can help immensely in accepting and facilitating the return of health to your body. Asking for help creates receptivity. (I now have a weekly housekeeper thanks to cancer.) Give yourself permission.
Breast Cancer Recovery - The Role of Prosthesis Fitters
Maro Melkian isn't a rock star but she has the following of one. Her fans number into the thousands, and many have followed her throughout her career as a prosthesis fitter/post mastectomy. She has listened to hundreds of heart-breaking stories from women who have felt that their doctors and other health-care professionals failed to fully educate and inform them of all their options before and after surgery. Some women who had experienced a lumpectomy, for example, were not informed that they could receive a partial rather than a whole prosthesis. Others told Maro that the issue of when to get a prosthesis was never raised.
Other complaints in the literature about breast care services in the United States and the United Kingdom have involved cases where improper fit has led to a lopsided, lumpy, and unnatural appearance. Improper fit can lead to serious health issues such as chronic back pain, headaches, and fatigue. It can also discourage a woman from wearing a prosthesis which doctor's refer to as non-compliance. Proper fit is crucial for body symmetry and balance as well as mind/body healing and recovery. Not all women who undergo surgery will chose to wear a prosthesis, but those who do deserve to be informed.
Providing useful and timely information on breast care/post mastectomy can prevent unnecessary grief and anguish in the aftermath of surgery. I was surprised to learn that the American Association of Breast Care Professionals was formed only 3 years ago in 2007. I was equally surprised to discover that it has been just 12 years since the passage of the Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act. Standards of care have been slow to emerge but are improving. The result is a more comprehensive approach to services designed to help women feel that their needs and concerns are heard. Prosthesis fitters, such as Maro, play an important role in these services.
A Certified Mastectomy Fitter is someone who is trained to fit breast prostheses and bras or carriers to surgery patients. The American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics (ABC) defines a CMF as follows: "A Health care professional who is specifically educated and trained in the provision of breast prostheses and post-mastectomy services."
In her humorously titled article, "Bra Ladies? Not on Your Life," Rhonda Turner PhD calls post mastectomy a necessary specialty." She points to the recent development of custom breast forms and technological developments in design and manufacturing which require specialized knowledge and training. These advancements, Turner adds, along with good listening skills allows fitters to offer their clients the most appropriate and effective care. Maro would agree.
Maro began her career in the 1970's as a prosthesis fitter at Garfinkel's in Washington, D.C. When that store closed, Woodward and Lothrop hired her and provided her with a new, private office where she could meet with her customers. Maro was presented to the public through a half-page announcement in the Washington Post and billed as the "woman you depend on after breast surgery", and "Washington's most trusted prosthesis fitter." She is an original in a profession that now routinely provides specialized services to women, and sometimes men, who have had breast surgery.
Maro currently works for Nordstrom in Arlington, Virginia. She plans to continue her work past her retirement date at Nordstrom and wants to focus exclusively on post-mastectomy care. This article is dedicated to the women who work as fitters/post mastectomy and provide strength, courage, and compassion to others when they need it the most.