Getting back to my job as a physician meant the world to me - something I was not certain would be possible again during bilateral breast cancer treatment and chemo brain. Beyond that came opportunities to be a voice for Cancer Care in Cancer Care Ontario as a Regional Lead and now in the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care as Clinical Prevention Leaders Network. Helping doctors connect with each other in sickness and cancer is in progress to change where I have been. Believing in what you do takes this to the next level as we influence the next generation of medical students in a course in communication and professional competencies as an Assistant Clinical Professor at McMaster University. Not all cancer patients have the positive outcomes that I have experienced but we can all change small parts of our world. Advocacy for palliative care will change the future of cancer care and community support innovation in our survivorship programs is bringing breast reconstruction awareness to the forefront of cancer care. When we all work together, we can change this disease.
This is where my journey began. Going outside my comfort zone to wear a wig, shave my head and eventually to learn to blog and tweet my way through obstacles of recovery. Genetic BRCA1 discovery and how it affected my family put me on a trajectory of change. Look Good Feel Better is now where my heart goes in the next part of my journey - to be a change-maker and connect experts to make difficult conversations come directly to the patient.
BothSides Connects at Look Good Feel Better - coming soon
Look Good Feel Better is bringing back the womanhood to women in cancer. That includes difficult conversations of sexuality and physical wholeness after mastectomy and other hormone depriving treatments and surgery. New guidelines were released to discuss sexuality with cancer patients but cultural and personal barriers have realized that conversations with health care providers are often prohibitively difficult. My motivation to change this came when asked to do a presentation on it 6 months ago. That took this to a Primary Care Conference where we knew this conversation had to go straight to the privacy of the patient on-line via Look Good Feel Better. • Most patients will experience some change in their body image and sexual function because of their cancer treatments • Only 10 % of patients will raise sexual concerns with their HCP (Park,Norris & Bober, 2009) • Only 2% of HCP regularly speak to patients about sexuality even though 96% believe it is part of their job (Robinson & Lounsberry, in press) • Patients/partners can experience feelings of isolation, anxiety, depression, inadequacy, distress, poorer QOL, or a sense of emotional distance from their partner if sexual activity within the couple relationship disappears or is diminished post-cancer (Gilbert, Ussher and Hawkins, 2009).) Let's change this and bring the conversation to every woman. Starting in September, I will connect with specialists to bridge this gap as we ask difficult questions and connect you.