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Fast & Fearless or Drive-Thru Service?

Women's Health. It is at the forefront of many conversations, social media, and the internet. This blog will be both personal and curious, as are your thoughts. Many of you know my breast and health history. Thankfully, as I compose this blog, I am healthy and have no abnormal cells or malignancies in my body. However, through this process and my continued journey and

mission to advocate and empower women to optimal health armed with information and have a collaborative relationship with your wellness team is strong.

As an African-American female, I am clear on the disparities in healthcare amongst women and people of color. This is not news. What I have found quite interesting through my journey and future medical decisions is that the approach in healthcare amongst women has blown my mind. So, I'm going to get right to it. 

Did you know that when a woman receives a bilateral or unilateral mastectomy, she is sent home the same day?!!! W T F??? Yep! You heard me. I didn't understand this rationale, so I embarked upon a quest to understand why this is. I asked, "You mean to tell me a woman can come to SAME DAY SURGERY at 7 am with both her breasts and get discharged at, let's say, 3 pm with no breasts and prescriptions for pain management? (Mouth gaped) 

So, I asked women I knew , who were gracious enough to share their experiences and thoughts about what I call "drive-thru surgery." A few had gone through the surgery more than ten years ago with a different medical experience than most recent. The common threads were loss, coupled with grief, a bit of relief, and a sense of hope for their future. Think, growing up as young girls, most of us were excited to see little buds sprout up on our chests and the excitement of our first training bra, a wardrobe essential that many of us came to loathe as we got older. (LOL). "Set the girls free!" Regardless of what breast size we were, it has been a significant part of our womanhood. One that we complained about or compared in gist or otherwise. So, to be informed that by personal choice or medical necessity, all of the women's emotions are felt. 

I then embarked upon medical research as to why many states, including my own, (NC) chose this route for such a life-changing procedure. I learned quite a bit.

Pull out your thesaurus for this.

The acronyms:

  • Surgical Home Recovery (SHR) 

  • Unplanned Return to Care (RTC)

  • Enhanced Recovery after Surgery (ERAS) 

  • Length of stay (LOS)

  • Outpatient mastectomy (OM)

  • Traditional Recovery after Surgery (TRAS)

Recent studies have shown proof or support for the benefits of patients going home on the same day of surgery. Clearly, there is validity in touting the facts that patients would rather be in the comfort and familiarity of their own homes, information being given prior to the surgery, and advances in wound care. (See links below)

Though medical studies support the rise in SHR, I do wonder what "harm" would it be for an overnight stay; not to mention a possible psychological consult with a professional to listen or talk through immediate thoughts surrounding this after surgery. I'd like to call it assurance. 

  • Is it cost? 

  • Can the patient be given the option? 

  • What if there is no one in the home when they are dropped off after recovery? 

  • Are the pharmaceutical companies the ultimate determining factor?

  • Is concierge healthcare the way to go?

Interestingly enough, when it comes to women's healthcare, medications or therapy often required to improve a woman's overall health, such as Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), is not covered by most insurances, although that is slowly changing. However, Viagra, Cialis, and other male-enhancing performance drugs are covered under certain generic names.

Finally, though this example may be extreme for some, a partial or full penectomy is allowed up to 5 days of hospitalization. Clearly, there is a bit more involved in this surgery; a minimum of 2 days is recommended. Both surgeries require at home with drainage tubes, swelling, and pain management. (

What are your thoughts on this? There are many determining factors to consider in any major surgery pertaining to your health. What if any, are your experiences? I'd love to hear from you.

Live Well, Be Well,

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