1. Get multiple opinions and choose your breast surgeon wisely
When I received my cancer diagnosis, I needed to quickly find a breast surgeon and reconstructive surgeon. I reached out to friends who had traveled this journey, friends in the medical industry, and of course the internet. I felt fortunate to live in a city with some of the best medical care in the world, and I soon gathered referrals. For me it was important to meet with multiple experts, compile information, then decide who I was going to hand my life.
2. Know your Insurance Plan inside out.
Not all of my referrals were ‘in-network’ for our insurance plan (which by the way is a top-tier PPO). Along with a devastating cancer diagnosis, I also faced unknown medical expenses. Each doctor we met was brilliant, talented, and we’d trust any of them with my life. Well, except the reconstructive surgeon who dropped equipment throughout the whole consult, and said “Sorry, I’m clutzy today, but promise I’m a good surgeon!” (Seriously, you cannot make this up)!
3. Do you have good chemistry with your doctor? You are going to be spending a lot of time together after your cancer diagnosis.
Ultimately for me, it came down to chemistry. When I met Dr. Kristi Funk at the Pink Lotus Breast Center in Beverly Hills, she had me at hello. She was smart, had brilliant advice, and most importantly we had chemistry. Of course it didn’t hurt to discover during my internet research that she was Angelina Jolie and Sheryl Crow’s surgeon. Brad had nothing on Hot Hubby, and I couldn’t help but feel if Angelina and Sheryl trusted her, then I felt comfortable putting my life in her hands.
Hot Hubby and I left the consult feeling confident in my breast surgeon. I felt the same connection with my reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Tiffany Grunwald. She held my hand, listened to my fears, eased my mind, told me her job was to take care of my body after this, and that she would help me recover and look as perfect as possible. Sold!
5. Once you have your plan, do not second guess it.
We decided to move forward ASAP, and within ten minutes her nurse navigator had coordinated my surgery with Dr. Funk and St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica.
Dr. Kristi Funk saved my life, and she and her husband are striving to help women with no insurance or who are unable to afford services, with the newest chapter of her practice, The Pink Lotus Foundation. This is a nonprofit organization that enables underprivileged women to receive free breast cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment services. Simply visit their website, pinklotusfoundation.org, to apply for care. Please, don’t let your insurance or your financial situation prevent you from getting a mammogram for you or a loved one.