Dialogue with the health care system

So today I got up at five o’clock to travel to Aarhus, because I had the honor of being invited to talk at the annual national breast cancer conference in Skejby. The talk was aimed at nurses, representing all hospital departments in Denmark working in this area and the interest for my viewpoint was overwhelming; talking about one of the things that has been dearest to my heart for the last year, the flat reconstruction after mastectomy.

Main conclusions of the talk

  • You can only choose things that are visible to you
  • The flat option is possible to perceive as a beautiful option for the patient
  • If you choose to not reconstruct, this is a valid choice that should not be questioned
  • The obvious positive physical advantages of flat reconstruction should be equally important as the psychologically negative of the beauty norm
  • Even small signals and gestures by health care personnel can have a big impact on how the patient think of their choices to reconstruct or not

I felt that the talk was very much appreciated and that I had shed light on things they had not considered before in their busy everyday work life and that this would be something they would bring home to reflect upon. I was honestly moved when one nurse asked if she could have a picture of my flat reconstruction to fill in a pamflet she was already preparing for reconstructions, but now was inspired to include the flat version too. All in all they were genuinely interested in my version and several of them came up to me afterwards to ask if I’d be interested in doing more of these talks at other conferences in Denmark, where both doctors and nurses would be present, to spread this particular perspective on reconstructions. This was more than I had dared to hope for and right now I’m so happy, feeling I’m really making a difference on this matter, making flat reconstruction as available a choice as the other reconstruction options are already. Seems that there is a demand for more of my inputs at least.

I’m very grateful to the organizing group of this conference who had read my chronicle in the autumn and reached out to me to make sure this viewpoint would be represented at the conference

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