Friday, November 13, 2009

Breast Cancer: Now What?

The Pink Ribbon Place (our new Breast Cancer Resource Center serving Riverside and San Bernardino Counties) hosted its first professionals panel entitled "Breast Cancer: Now What" this past Monday night. I was tasked with moderating the panel, but hey, they hardly needed me. The panel was comprised of the physicians a patient encounters in dealing with breast cancer: surgeon, anesthesiologist, oncologist, radiation oncologist, and plastic surgeon (breast reconstruction). In the first photo is the good and great Dr. Amer Karam (surgeon to the stars, or, er, to me...and many other lucky UCLA patients; but he treats us all like stars), Dr. Candice Ruby (onocologist), and Dr. Jean Sprengel (anesthesiologist and author of "Chemo Companion" which is a fantastically practical book that she wrote when she was helping her sister deal with stage III breast cancer).  In the next photo is Dr. Janet Hocko (radiation oncologist; and more specifically, my radiation oncologist!) on the far right, and Dr. Ben Childers (plastic surgeon) at the podium. (Oh, and I have no idea why I look so frightened in the photo, but yeah that's me to the left of Dr. Childers; okay, I'll admit it--I was just intimidated moderating all those doctors!).

There were 53 folks in attendance--most were breast cancer patients in various stages of treatment and their family members. We had a very lively question and answer period and we asked the audience to write their questions down and hand them in (to protect privacy) on index cards. We had more cards than we had time, but the doctors all hung out afterward and answered many questions from many inquiring minds. Significant, practical information was shared and each of the doctors was compassionate and very "human" in their responses and in how they took the time to explain complicated medical matters in terms a lay person could understand. Really, really impressive.

I think the whole Pink Ribbon Place advisory committee (we call ourselves the "BRA" committee--Breast Resource Advocates) was proud of what we put together. The doctors were all from various organizations (UCLA, Kaiser, Loma Linda University Medical Center, Vantage Oncology, etc.) and all gave freely and graciously of their time. Rosa Olaiz, the program director of The Pink Ribbon Place also secured a Spanish translator so we had several Spanish speaking breast cancer patients who were able to participate as well. Several folks made donations to cover the food and drinks; Captain Meredyth Meredith from Riverside Police Department secured the Community Room at RPD for the event. The whole evening was also videotaped (for free!) by Captive Audience productions and will become part of the library at The Pink Ribbon Place. And look at the "gift with attendance" that was put together by volunteers and handed out at the end:

Yeah, baby...that's chocolate!

The Pink Ribbon Place is going to make a big difference in our community and I'm really grateful and happy about that. When I can I will post a link to the video. Also, our "survivors" video is complete and we played it at the beginning of this panel. I'll link to that when it's available as well. It's too good not to share.

For now though, I'm going to enjoy the martini Chris just made me. Other than Monday night's event, this has been a really, really crappy week. Really.  But hey, here's to a good weekend. Cheers.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on a great event. You are a master at making things happen. I just got a flyer from the Komen Foundation that referred to the message board on their web site, referring to informational support, emotional support, and practical support. All of which make me think of the Pink Ribbon Place. It might be worthwhile to see if a reference (as a local resource) on the web site can happen. Just a thought...


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