Free Domestic Shipping on all orders with promo code TOGETHER
 

JOURNAL

COVID-19 & Breast Cancer: Live Chat Recap

April 10, 2020

Last week our founder, Keira Kotler, sat down with Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Karen Horton, MD, in a live Zoom chat to discuss breast cancer in the face of COVID-19. In case you missed it, we've rounded up a few highlights from the conversation that spanned such subjects as which surgeries are considered elective now, implant concerns and safety, and ways of managing stress when dealing with both cancer and Coronavirus. Now, more than ever, we all need a safe place to talk openly and come together as a community. Here are a few excerpts from the chat, and stay tuned for more live events to come!  

Why do you love about being a plastic surgeon?

DR. KAREN HORTON, MD:

“I love doing breast reconstruction because it’s gratifying for me to help women that are facing breast cancer see the positive side of things. I can help them look at reconstruction as the silver lining. Making lemonade out of lemons. Because plastic surgery is all about body image. And body image and self-esteem are very closely intertwined. I can help women have less of a scary time and hopefully, learn to embrace the changes that breast cancer brings. I hope that I can make women feel as whole as possible, symmetric, feminine and be able to get back to their life still knowing that they’ve gone through breast cancer, but hopefully, not having a visual and physical reminder about it every single day. I’m so fortunate to do what I do and help women.”

What does Everviolet stand for?

KEIRA KOTLER:

“Everviolet's mission is to help women renew or redefine a sense of self and femininity following breast cancer and other major life events. As a breast cancer thriver myself, I am personally driven to empower women to find acceptance, comfort and confidence in themselves - a positive body image. We all go through physical changes in one way, shape or form, whether it be due to illness, surgery or aging. And even though these experiences can be challenging, I believe there is also beauty and strength to be found in them. That's what Everviolet stands for. ”

Are breast reconstruction surgeries taking place during COVID-19?

DR. KAREN HORTON, MD:

“The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) has come out very strongly, recommending against any elective surgery, which includes immediate and delayed reconstruction, implants, and microsurgical procedures, like DIEP flap. Of course, if there’s an urgent breast cancer case – if a mastectomy is required and if tissue would be required to close the wounds (say a very radical mastectomy) – then, that’s a different procedure because you’d have to cover up vital organs. But for most cases, if the mastectomy skin needs to be closed, primarily a patient could come back another day for reconstruction.”

What’s the reasoning behind the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ recommendations against elective surgeries?

DR. KAREN HORTON, MD:

“The reasoning behind these general recommendations is that every single patient that comes into the hospital is using resources. They’re using nurses. They might be staying in the hospital one night or up to seven nights. They’re using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and taking up hospital beds that may be needed for a COVID-19 patient. For implant cases, even if they were to be discharged and go home the same day, there are usually weekly followups in the surgeon’s office, so that could be putting the surgeon, their team and their families at risk if there ever was an exposure. I know at the two hospitals where I bring patients, there’s a committee that’s been put forward, where, say if I had a patient, where I thought they needed surgery, I would have to bring it to that committee, and then, they would make the decision: is this a surgery that can be postponed for a month or two, or does it need to proceed? It’s really on a case by case basis.”

How is COVID-19 affecting your practice or business?

DR. KAREN HORTON, MD:

“With the first Shelter in Place order, it was supposed to end on April 7th. We were hoping to start booking surgeries on April 10th. But now that that’s been extended until May 3rd, maybe we can start on May 4th, but it really is all up in the air. My practice is 100% elective, even if I’m doing breast reconstruction. I’m not doing trauma cases or emergency cases. So, basically every single one of my surgeries have been put on hold. We’re just waiting to hear guidance from the hospitals. Waiting to hear from our mayors on how we can proceed. It’s really stressful for everyone.”

KEIRA KOTLER:

"In the face of COVID-19, we’re really wanting to support our medical partners and their patients as much as possible. So, we're doing events like these -  hoping to bring emotional and psychological support to customers currently facing breast cancer as well as those whose past experiences are being triggered by this pandemic. We're producing weekly content around ways of managing anxiety, asking for help and staying healthy, offering one-on-one peer support and providing optimistic tips and news through our social media channels. We’ve also waived shipping on all orders so women can more easily get the garments they need. We want everyone to feel comfortable reaching out if you need us. We’re here for you."

How are you managing anxiety and keeping yourself sane during COVID-19 times?

KEIRA KOTLER:

"Vitamin D. I need to get outside. Even if I just sit in my front or backyard. Usually, I try to get out and walk at least once a day. I have also realized that I need some sort of structure. In the beginning, I thought I could sleep in or start work later, or not workout the way I normally do. But now that this shelter is lasting longer, I’ve found that getting up at a regular hour and exercising at my usual time makes me full much more productive and does wonders for my mental state. "

DR. KAREN HORTON, MD:

“I’ve been jumping on the trampoline with my twins. It’s really great exercise and it feels so good to just laugh. I go into my office, alone, during the day. But when I go home, I’m in full-on mom mode and I’m enjoying spending time with my kids. I could easily hop online, continue working, but when I go home now, I’m really just trying to be present."

Do you have any closing thoughts on Coronavirus?

KEIRA KOTLER:

"I would like to believe there will be silver linings that come from all of this. These extreme measures that we’re taking – there's almost a return to basics happening. Whether it’s being with our families more, resting more or shifting our work schedules. Being more adaptive or flexible, or finding out that we need daily structure. My deep hope for all of us, on a global level, is that there’s some sort of correction taking place - personally, socially and environmentally. I hope we can all learn from this time and integrate some of these lessons into our lives once the shelters are released and (hopefully) COVID-19 is under control. Fingers crossed!"

SHOP EVERVIOLET