Thursday, July 16, 2009

They're coming out of the woodwork now!

I went back to the NJ hospital where I'd originally scheduled my mastectomy, the one that wasn't nipple-sparing. This time I chose a different surgeon there, just got his name off the hospital website...and he absolutely thinks I'm a candidate for the skin/nipple sparing mastectomy (S/NSM) and would do essentially the same one that they are offering me in Westchester. I like him, and he trained at Sloan Kettering so he's got good oncological cred.

Suddenly there is a plethora of people willing to give me what I want, I hardly know what to do with myself!

So, if you're confused, here's how it stands now: I could have my S/NSM at either the original hospital I planned but just switch cancer surgeons, or I could go to the new hospital I spoke of in my last two posts. I like all the doctors involved, both the cancer docs and plastic surgeons at either place.

There are some differences but so far the main glaring one is between facilities. One hospital is a university medical center the other is a small (and I mean small) community hospital. The docs at the small hospital are renowned and people do travel there from around the country just to have breast reconstruction. But on the other hand being in a big university hospital, like the kind where they fly you in by helicopter if it's serious, well, that sounds good to me if something were to go horribly wrong. While I've never had a blood clot yet (knock wood) I do have two of those pesky mutant genes just waiting to potentially express themselves.

I truly can't decide...this is tough.

I'm going to make appointments to see both breast surgeons again ASAP. I'm fairly confident in all the plastic surgeons involved, so now it's time to concentrate on the cancer issues...things like sentinel node biopsy methods, clear margin measurements, DVT monitoring...all that stuff that is the important part of this ordeal.

As of right now, I could have the mastectomy in either facility w/in two weeks. TWO WEEKS! Time's moving VERY fast!


Autumn said...

I know I don't comment much these days (or post much!), but I've been following your blog closely. I admire you for taking this by the horns and controlling it YOUR way. You have a positive attitude and it's inspiring. Good for you for doing your research and all this legwork. It just proves that a second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth (or even more!) opinion is totally worth it when it comes to something like this.

To hell with cancer.

Jean said...

Better to have a choice between two suitable good docs, than have to choose the best out of a bad bunch. Go with your gut instinct, it's served you well so far.

Much love to you x

Imogen Lamport, AICI CIP said...

I have to admit when I had my kids I opted for the the big hospital with all the facilities that was slightly further away, than the small one that would have to transport if somehthing went really wrong.

I like to know it's all on hand if necessary - but that's me - go with what feels right for you.

Fantastica that you've now found two surgeons who you're happy with!

Steph H said...

Make sure before you commit to a surgical team you ask the following very important question: "How many of these (exact same) surgeries have you done?" You want to make sure you are going with a team that is experienced in the kind of surgery and reconstruction you want. If you hear, "You'll be my first" then think twice. Ask about nipple necrosis. Ask about revision rates. Ask to speak to a patient that has had your (exact same) surgery. Ask to see pictures.

Also, when it comes to community hospital vs. teaching hospital, ask this: "Who will be doing my surgery?" At the teaching hospital, it could be a resident or student. And do you want that?

I'm not trying to sway you either way, and I hope my suggestions are helpful. I want you to get not only what you want, surgery-wise, but I also want you to have the best team do it.

Good luck! XOXO

Brenda said...

Having just spent 4 days in a great hospital, but not my regular one, I would say go with the best you can get. Its sometimes the small things that make a difference. The size of needle they use to draw your blood, the experience with pain control, nurses who are used to teaching, nurses who are experienced at IV's. . . I could go on and on. For me its worth a 2 hour drive to go to the best-care-I-can-get in my area.

But like others have said, its a very personal decision.

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