A new program at Lee Health is helping patients cope and prepare for their breast cancer treatment. Martha Albert took the one day mastectomy pre-op education class to better understand what the next few months would entail. “You don’t really have any preconceived notions of what it’s going to be like.”
It was July when Martha Albert noticed a lump in her breast. “I understood right away that this was going to be bad.” After meeting with her doctor, Martha decided to have a mastectomy.
“If you have never been in the hospital and never had surgery, it is pretty scary,” said Liz Bachoo-Garib, a nurse navigator at the Lee Health’s Regional Cancer Center. Every day, she works to educate and support patients, like Martha, through breast cancer treatment.
The mastectomy pre-op education class teaches patients what to expect before, during and after surgery. “It really decreases their fears and knowledge is always power,” said Bachoo-Garib.
For Martha, the class has helped her prepare for her recovery. “I was not aware that I would have limited arm ability. I’m right-handed and that’s the one I’m not going to be able to use much,” said Martha.
Nurse navigators also teach patients exercises they can do after surgery to help with their recovery. “Patients can actually practice how to move around without using their arms, before surgery,” said Bachoo-Garib.
Nurse navigators say its important patients understand what their limitations are after surgery. “Your mobility is limited and restricted during the time of recovery. So really just to give an idea of what can I wear? What can I lift? How can I take care of myself? Can I cook meals? Am I going to be able to do vacuuming or house cleaning,” said Bachoo-Garib.
The class is designed to address the unknowns of breast cancer surgery. Through education and support, health experts use the program to help patients develop a plan for their treatment and recovery.
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Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care.