A beautiful letter from a nurse to her patient.

I’ve been reading a lot of articles, blogs, academic papers-you name it, and I stumbled upon 

thewebelongproject.com/blog/open-letter-mastectomy-patient-a letter written to a patient about to undergo a mastectomy, by her nurse. This letter touched me. 


This whole website is worth a browse through: thewebelongproject.com/about/


I wish *all* breast cancer units & teams could stop, and just think about the meaning of what their patients are about to go through. And how important it is to get to get to know your patients-as people. And not just as “cancer patients”.


Whilst I have faith in my team’s *clinical* skills, the decision-making process, the clinic appointments, and other aspects of my care have felt rushed, somewhat impersonal (confusing facts about me with another patient), and on some occasions, gravely lacking in compassion. No two patients are the same and rather than a nurse/doctor making assumptions about a patient’s circumstances-asking the Q. would be a much more compassionate way of establishing a relationship with their patients. 


Without wishing to focus on the negative, I was inspired to read about the We Belong Project and think that many breast cancer teams would do well to take a leaf out of this project’s book, specifically re-the collaborative nature, the compassionate nature & the very personal nature of their approach.


Addendum: any reference to Brené Brown thewebelongproject.com/ gets my approval! :). 




Absolutely beautiful, brought tears to my eyes. Had a double mastectomy, 2nd only 3 weeks ago due to brca 2 gene.

That letter is so poignant, very emotional read. I’ll be thinking of it when I go in for surgery on 5/11 xx


I’d have just found it nice to be on a breast ward with nurses who knew wgat waz happening when I had my mastectomy instead of being stuck on a urology one in a different part of the hospital.

Yeah they had no bed for me despite me phoning them and telling them that as a diabetic I’d need to be admitted the day before, not go in as a day case. When I had my pre op assessment on the Monday before a Wednesday op they decided I was right. So the next afternoon I presented myself to the breast ward as advised to be told no beds and sent to a different part of the hospital where I went 22 hours with no food or wate toll after my op which was a lot later than it should have been as they couldn’t find me.


I did have mega moan about it. I do love a good old moan.

Wow! Made me cry.  It is good to be told that we are not ‘just a patient’.  It is often the smallest things that healthcare professionals do that make the biggest differenece ( theletter is not small, but…).  

The biggest thing for me was that just before anaesthetising me, the anaesthetist looked at me and said ‘i promise to take very good care of you’.  I immediately relaxed and felt cared for, even though I was going to be asleep and unknowing of what they were all about to do.  And I still remember that, more than anything, 2 years on.