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Helping Cancer Patients Reclaim Their Sense of Self

Cancer Care
Author name: Lee Health

Cancer Patients Cookie's Boutique Graphic

The side effects of cancer treatment can be devastating, with physical challenges such as hair loss, changes to the skin, and in cases involving those who undergo a mastectomy, the loss of breasts.

But one boutique in Fort Myers is helping people with cancer look and feel their best during their journey: Cookie’s Boutique at the Regional Cancer Center.

“People with cancer need extra special care to feel better about themselves,” says Jacylin Friedman, coordinator of the boutique’s services. “We see many of them right after they’ve gotten news of their cancer surgery. We’re here to let them know they are not alone, that we’re with them every step of the way, and that everything in our shop is for them. Everything we do is for them.”

A boutique unlike most, Cookie’s features more than 100 wigs, postsurgical and mastectomy forms and garments, bathing suits, essential oils, candles, hats, and scarves.

Cookie’s Boutique is a special place of hope, healing and recovery

Friedman says for many women who experience a mastectomy, a breast prosthesis is a natural-looking and comfortable way to regain body symmetry. Friedman is one of the boutique’s two certified mastectomy fitters who are specially trained and educated to perform custom fittings.

The transition to wearing a prosthetic can seem daunting, but the experts at Cookie’s Boutique nurture and support their guests, Friedman says.

“We have the unique opportunity of providing a different type of care to help give men and women choices and control over how they look and feel,” she says.

“Myself and Pamela McCrone, our other specialist, explain the features and benefits of each prosthesis and why the density, shape and weight are crucial for that person,” Friedman says. “We offer private consultations to help them choose the products that are right for them. We want to make the process as easy as possible by supporting them every step of the way.”

She says fittings, whether for wigs or prosthetics, are made by appointment and are conducted in a supportive, safe and private setting that helps restore the mind and empower the spirit.

“We spend many of our days measuring, fitting, and offering garments to women and men of all ages to help them maintain their dignity and find normalcy on their journey toward recovery,” Friedman adds. “It’s not just women, but men also. We offer an extensive selection of adjustable wigs and postsurgical garments such as compression stockings, sleeves, and shirts in a variety of styles, colors, and fabrics.”

Other Ways Cookie's Can Help

The associates at Cookie’s also coordinate with physical therapists to ensure that their patients receive the most appropriate lymphedema garments. “We help the patients with selecting the garment most appropriate for their needs.”

She and McCrone also help patients figure out the financial end of things with the help of nurse navigators.

“In cases where insurance does not cover, or there is a financial hardship, our nurse navigators can do an assessment of the patient’s financial status to see where we can help,” Friedman says. “At the Regional Cancer Center and Cookie’s Boutique, we strive to alleviate a patient’s concern about financial matters so they can focus all their energy on healing instead.”

Cookie’s Place is named after Cookie Needle, a former cancer patient who opened a store at Lee Memorial Hospital to help cancer patients look and feel better about themselves during treatment. Cookie’s legacy lives on in this special boutique.

Learn more about Cookie’s Boutique in this video.