SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A breast cancer diagnosis can lead to many changes for a woman. There are both physical and mental impacts.
A doctor diagnosed Leanne Ratzlaff with breast cancer five years ago. Soon after, she made the decision to have a bilateral mastectomy.
“It’s a big decision. No one wants a diagnosis of breast cancer and, and once you receive it, it’s very important that you have people that surround you and help you make the right decisions,” Ratzlaff said.
Dawn Foster quickly became one of those people.
“We want to make sure that they are, that their needs are being addressed. And if I can help them do that with a partial prosthesis or a bra or compression, then this is a service that we can make sure that they are getting,” Foster said.
Foster is a certified mastectomy fitter at Sanford Health. She offered post-mastectomy services for Ratzlaff, and maybe even more importantly, confidence.
“You know, radiation, chemo, maybe a mastectomy, whatever it is, you need to be surrounded with people that you truly have confidence in,” Ratzlaff said.
Foster’s services go far beyond physical support.
“Sometimes even just to hear their journey and to help them through is just an essential thing that we can be doing for them,” Foster said.
And even though years have passed, Ratzlaff says the support hasn’t been forgotten– writing in her journal just how much it meant.
“Right after I came home from my mastectomy, I wrote from the very beginning, my mammogram, my biopsy, my ultrasound, I never felt alone. Sanford offers a team of medical specialists who are ready and able to help you,” Ratzlaff said.
A relationship Foster says is personal, emotional and rewarding.
“It goes without saying that they have had so many things taken from them. It’s one more thing that we can be giving to them. Should they choose to have that,” Foster said.
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