Care bags to support cancer patients - New York News

Care bags to support cancer patients

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She went from doctor to patient and now a New York physician has come up with a way to make recovering from major surgery a little easier for other people.

Dr. Elizabeth Thompson knows first hand what it's like to be a patient.

"I had a mother, a great-grandmother with bilateral breast cancer, it was coming and I was worried," Thompson says.

She wanted to make sure that she wouldn't develop the disease, and would be around for her children, so Elizabeth decided to undergo a prophylactic mastectomy to reduce the risk of getting breast cancer.

It was during her recovery that Thompson came up with a way to help others who underwent breast surgery.

She created the BFFL bag, which stands for Best Friends For Life.

"When I was trying to figure out the name of our company I wanted to embody to feeling of friend to friend," says Thompson.

The bag is filled with items a woman needs for both in-hospital surgical recovery and any post-surgical chemotherapy or radiation she may need.

There's everything from gauze, a drain care kit, and a water bottle to toiletries, socks, and a pillow.

"All the things we put in there are really essential for recovery we have important papers with important cards and a drain log in here so as the patients are recovery they can write down what goes on with their drains which are pesky and difficult to track," says Thompson.

She says the bag helps make the process a little easier.

That many patients are thinking about the surgery when they go into the hospital, and don't think about recovery until they are going through it.

"I don't think people are worried so much about their bag when you are going into the hospital for a mastectomy they worry about do I have a competent surgeon what am I going to look like when I come out are they going to get all the cancer out," says Thompson.

Elizabeth also found that many people didn't know what items they'd need for their recovery process.

Thompson's patients would ask for a list of what she brought to the hospital for her own surgery.

"So what I did was I complied that list and brought all those products into one unit," says Thompson.

Thompson began making the bags in her basement, and in September of 2011 she expanded to a warehouse so that the BFFL bags could reach more people.

It seems to be working, hospitals have started buying them to give to their patients.

Breast cancer survivor Leslie Garcia received the BFFL bag two days after her mastectomy

"It's wonderful you know it gives people support and it put you in an up mood that's really what's all about," says Garcia.

After seeing the positive response to the "breast" BFFL bag, Thompson decided to create bags for patients recovering from brain surgery and hysterectomies. She plans to expand the line to other surgeries as well.

A portion of the profits from each bag purchased is donated to breast cancer related charities.

A breast BFFL bag runs $100 and a brain bag sells for $120.

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