PRMA Support Spotlight: DIEP C Foundation
Today we are honored to spotlight DIEP C Foundation, an amazing organization providing education and resources to empower women and men with information to make an informed decision about options for breast reconstruction after a mastectomy.
Can you just kick us of by sharing with us what DIEP C Foundation is?
I can, and first of all, thank you very much for having me this morning Courtney. DIEP C Foundation is an organization that I started 2 years after I had my DIEP flap breast reconstruction. I had the time, ability, and interest to be able to gather resources together for women and men who are considering breast reconstruction after a breast cancer diagnosis. I think that is where I find real gratitude, I had the time, I had the interest, and I have been gathering resources really for years since I have been writing my blog. So, women who are looking for resources after they have had a breast cancer diagnosis can be absolutely overwhelming. Where do I find a surgeon, this is part of the resources that we provide because I am able to talk to a lot of board certified surgeons. Where do I go for my reconstruction? What if I have to travel? Because I did travel for my reconstruction, it takes planning. What is this surgery like? I like to walk women through it, it is a scary event to even think about. What kind of support am I going to need? What if I don’t have family at home? Or what if I am working woman and I have to take off of work? What does that look like for me? Then I also like to keep up with the latest in surgical procedures, and what new innovations are coming out for plastic surgery and breast reconstruction. So I do a lot of research and try to keep my research evidence based. I have created a YouTube Channel and I am so fortunate that not only patients, but those outside of the healthcare profession have offered to interview for these videos and I host plastic surgeons also, so that we can discuss topics related to breast reconstruction and patients can watch these, and then understand what it is they are going to go through and be able to have those conversations with their plastic surgeons. So it is really, Courtney, a conglomeration of resources on different levels that I work to provide patients. That is what DIEP C is.
Terri, what sparked the fire in you to start this organization?
That is a really good question. I think in many ways I was prepared for this most of my life. I had wonderful parents who really nurtured and encouraged us to be compassionate people. I am one of 3 children, one of 3 girls, and they always nurtured a passionate spirit in us. But also, combined with that, they encouraged us to be lifelong learners. I have never stopped enjoying the learning process. So that ties into the research and resources and the understanding part of my foundation. The compassion comes in, wanting to help women and men through this process. I think of it in many ways as, I am an educator by profession, and I think of it as a community that has developed over the last, we are going on 4 years with our foundation. This community that has developed not just those that are affected by breast cancer, whether you have been diagnosed or are at high risk, it is also caregivers now. It is healthcare workers, tattoo artists, physical therapists, this global community of women and men, and surgeons and healthcare providers that are all involved in helping women through the breast reconstruction process. I have so enjoyed watching this community blossom, develop, and us support one another. So I think my background as an educator, and how I was raised to be a compassionate and kind person, and as much as we all can be. I think those two things collided and I think it has continued now with my foundation work.
How are patients able to connect with your foundation to get these valuable resources on breast reconstruction education?
I think the strongest way they find what the foundation is actually providing them is through our closed Facebook. The group is called DIEP C Journey Breast Reconstruction after Mastectomy on Facebook. That is one element. On Instagram I just had some patients message me this week because I like to do Instagram videos, I like to post my blog to Instagram. The blog, I get contact from there, it is DIEPCJourney.com/blog. I write about my experience, I also write about other patients’ experiences and share some evidence based information. The YouTube channel is growing because I think it is easy for women to sit and listen to a conversation that is being had with a plastic surgeon. On twitter, oddly enough, I kept my educator name, and my twitter name is @6state because I had teaching certificates in 6 states. I opened my twitter account a few years ago when I was diagnosed and going through my master’s in education. So all of those platforms, those social media platforms, is how I have been able to reach a global population rather than just regional. That is what I love about it, is it makes it richer, more interesting, you know global supportive community.
DIEP C Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization providing education and resources to empower women and men with information to make an informed decision about options for breast reconstruction after a mastectomy.