1. How much pain should I experience and for how long and how will it be handled?
2. How long will I be in the hospital and will there be a drain and how will I handle that and how long will it be in?
3. Is lumpectomy for me or mastectomy and what are my chances of recurrence in either instance?
4. What will I look like after the surgery and do you have pictures?
5. How long before I can go back to my regular activities and what kind of undergarments do I use? Will I need help when I get home and for how long?
6. What is a sentinel node biopsy as opposed to a full node dissection? Which one will I have and how is it done and what are the long term outcomes from either?
7. Can you give me a name of an expert, if I want a second opinion?
8. What kind of reconstruction would be best for me and how long is the whole process?
9. Is there someone I can talk to about all of my concerns?
10. Will my insurance cover the costs and are there other costs that I can anticipate?
Now by all means, that is not all the questions that you might be thinking but hopefully it will get you on your way. Most hospitals have a nurse navigator or breast health educator or patient advocate as well and they can be a good resource as well as support groups. Know that there are differences for everyone in their expectations and what their treatment entails but it is important that you make the right decision for you. Our treatments, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, etc. have all come a long way and survivorship is the goal. Cancer is now considered a chronic illness like that of diabetes. Follow a good diet, getting exercise, eating right, limiting alcohol intake, getting rest, and handling stress more effectively is what will carry you through. I hope and pray you find the answers you need and in the end that it will make it a good day! Blessings this Thanksgiving time, eat well, enjoy family and friends and allow your