Dr. Sullivan Joins Compassion That Compels, Part 1
Stewart: My name’s Kristianne Stewart, and I’m the founder and CEO of Compassion That Compels. We’re a non-profit, and we provide hope and emotional support to women battling any type of cancer, one compassionate act at a time. I wanted to talk a little bit about myself and about what brought me to form Compassion That Compels and touch the lives of thousands of women worldwide. It’s my distinct honor today to present my gifted and talented surgeon, Dr. Scott Sullivan of the Breast Center, thebreastcenter.com in New Orleans, Louisiana. For those of you that don’t know about the Breast Center, not only are they pioneers in surgical procedures, but they really have an all-encompassing approach to restorative care. Introduce my surgeon, Dr. Sullivan.
Dr. Sullivan: Oh, it’s incredible, the first time I’ve been here. Of course, I’ve known you for a while, and your inception of this idea was remarkable at first and how you’ve grown it to what it is, a number of thousands of lives you’ve touched and counting, and the countries you’ve extended to — mind-boggling.
Stewart: I’m often asked as the founder of Compassion That Compels not only my story but the story of my two sisters-in-law and my sister. One of my sisters-in-law battled metastatic breast cancer, and it was around the time that I was having my double mastectomy, and you were really instrumental in guiding me through that process. I’m not going to cry.
Dr. Sullivan: It was a tough time for you. I remember when you came in, you’d had the mastectomy and implant reconstruction at an outside institution from the Breast Center. You were like most of the patients when they come and see me. It’s just a very dim light. The person is almost faded. It’s just a flicker of a light. Besides, it’s emotionally taxing on everyone. We want to make sure to try to help guide you through and get you through a difficult situation.
The fulfilling part in my career, my profession, has been just that when you see these wonderful people who are totally overwhelmed, overcome, beaten down, and physically wiped out. Much hope may be lost. Facing their mortality, that’s a tough place to be. That’s a dark place to be. Fortunately, a lot have family support. They have spiritual support as well, which is very important.
Understanding their diagnosis helps a great deal. Understanding their options for treatment is very important because today there are a lot of really great treatments, not just surgically. Obviously, the business I’m in on the reconstructive side, the innovations have been pretty profound, but on the cancer side, on the lifestyle side, nutraceuticals, things like that.
So, it’s much more advanced than it used to be. It does obviously create a difficult challenge for patients, but I like to relate some optimism because there is. Many times, patients come out, particularly in the reconstruction, and they could even look better than they did before, but it does help to have support.
Stewart: It is October. It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. What if someone doesn’t have that support system?
Our own Dr. Scott Sullivan joins joins Kristianne Stewart, founder and CEO of Compassion That Compels, to talk about support systems for women facing breast reconstruction.