Finding a brilliant specialist for your breast or ovarian surgery can feel all too similar to being back in the dating game – it’s awkward, you’re nervous, you’re uncertain of what you’re going to get, and even if it’s a bad one, you end up having to cough up for the bill after it’s all said and done.
So where do you begin? Just like dating, finding a specialist you connect with and believe will deliver you the best outcomes is all about following your intuition.
How someone talks to you, greets you at the first appointment or makes you feel within the first few minutes is usually an insight into the type of relationship you’ll have moving forward.
Here are Pink Hope’s top tips for landing a specialist:
1. Do your research: Most specialists now have websites and Facebook pages which leaves them open to reviews and feedback. Combine this with the state-based Pink Hope online support groups and you have a plethora of patients to gather first-hand experience from. By connecting online with women in similar situations to yourself, in similar locations you can quickly gather a short list of names of potential surgeons to see (or avoid, though hopefully not!)
2. Shop Around: Just because you met with one specialist doesn’t make him or her the one for you. Most good specialists would encourage patients to take this step to ensure that when they do make a decision, the patient has full confidence and trust in their choice.
3. Ask Questions: Using Pink Hope’s check-list of specialist questions bring them to your initial appointment to walk through and ensure you build the confidence that they are well equipped, experienced and able to handle your situation and desired outcomes.
4. Ask to speak to a few patients: When it comes to the very serious decision to have a mastectomy, understanding and establishing a realistic expectation of outcomes, especially if you opt for reconstruction, is essential. Not only should your surgeon be willing to show you examples of their work but take them up on the chance to call and even meet with past patients to discuss their own experience with the specialist. If you’re unsure of the type of cosmetic outcomes you can expect, it’s also worth checking out Pink Hope’s before and after online support group to get a better idea.
5. Look for a connection: Perhaps second to seeing the quality of your specialist’s work is to ensure you feel comfortable in their care. Be on the lookout for someone who truly listens without interrupting and is empathetic and understanding to your needs.
Trust your instinct.
Finally, trust your instinct. Whether you attend the appointments with a husband, partner, friend or even head there solo, remember that at the end of the day it is your body and your future, so following your gut rather than the opinions of others will help you to feel comfortable with your decision long-term.