Hope can come in many forms, but for breast cancer survivors it often comes in the hope of a return to normalcy, and that’s where Newton Medical Center’s Hope Boutique comes in.
The boutique, which is located in the Women’s Diagnostic Center on the third floor of the Physicians Pavilion, offers wigs, hats, turbans, scarves, camisoles, bras, prosthetic breasts, drain bags, protective pillows and lap blankets.
"Most of all, we offer educational material and a whole lot of TLC (tender loving care). We just need to love on them so they can learn to love on the next one," said Kay Goff, who founded the boutique and runs it. "Goodness ripples."
The boutique opened in 2006 with the help of the hospital, local merchants, volunteers and the American Cancer Society. Women who have no insurance or those in financial need — and Goff said that list grows every year — can get prosthetic breasts, which cost hundreds of dollars, for free. Other cancer patients, who may needs wigs or other items, are welcome, too. Goff said she’s recently helped patients with lung, thyroid and ovarian cancer.
"We never turn anybody away," Goff said.
If a woman comes in right after surgery, she simply needs to provide a doctor’s prescription.
"The boutique is very intimate and tiny, and it needs to be. … It’s just me and the patient or the caregiver, and a lot of times I’m the first person who sees their body after surgery and I’m the first person to see them after their hair is cut off, and it’s a very emotional time. I get them fitted (with a prosthesis), and we have bras on site. It’s an amazing experience," Goff said.
Goff had one memorable patient who had had one breast removed and developed a limp over time because her walking was affected by the fact she was imbalanced.
"I got her fitted and put the gown on her, and shut the door — there’s a full-length mirror behind — and when she saw herself, she went to her knees and held her hands up and said, ‘I am whole,’" Goff said. "That’ll make you get up and go to work every day."
The Hope Boutique is open Wednesday mornings and other days by appointment. Goff prefers women to make appointments no matter when they want to come, so she can know the woman’s needs..
Women can call the Women’s Diagnostic Center at 770-385-7820 or leave a voice mail message with Goff at 770-385-4169; Goff will return the calls and set up a time to meet.