October Q&A: Let’s Not Forget About the Caregivers
Posted September 25, 2019
Let’s Not Forget About the Caregivers
Breast reconstruction is the re-creation of a breast after a lumpectomy or a mastectomy procedure. At Bellissimo Plastic Surgery & Medi Spa we are passionate about reconstruction and the part it plays in our practice. Dr. Antimarino believes strongly in not only being part of the process that treats the woman but also in helping them to regain their sense of identity and femininity. It is important to Dr. Antimarino that he explain to the patient that they will be taking this journey together, from beginning to end, and he will be at their side throughout the entire process. One lesson that Dr. Antimarino learned early on in his career was to be sure and include the patients’ support team, such as family and significant others, in the discussions and progress. He found that the medical team becomes so focused on the patient that many spouses and significant others can feel left out in the cold. This is a major oversight on their part as physicians because the understanding and support from them is important in helping these women fight through the struggles of surgery, chemotherapy and, possibly radiation.
“I think we forget how difficult it may be for a spouse or significant other to watch the person that they love and cherish go through so much, physically and emotionally, and there isn’t much they can do to help.” Dr. Antimarino has found that many men can begin to feel insignificant and useless in the process. “One husband told me early on in my career that ‘no one seems to recognize how hard it is to watch my wife suffer and I cannot protect her or shield her from it in any way. To make matters worse I don’t have a clue as to how to help her.'” We, as the medical staff, have been trained to deal with the physical and emotional rollercoaster that comes at every patient but sometimes this causes the patient to laud us with praise and gratitude that would have normally gone to the spouse.
“For the past 15 years, since my discussion with this husband, I always address the significant other and discuss what may be down the road for them as well as the patient. I also make sure that I address them at the follow-up visits and offer my assistance should they need it, just as I do with the patient.” Dr. Antimarino believes that the entire medical team should be much more conscientious of how the process affects everyone involved with the patient and supporting them helps to bring about the best possible outcome for all involved.