Posted by: bcconnections | July 19, 2013

Meet Dr. Hildy Agustin

Dr. Hildy AgustinGreetings! I’m honored that BCC asked me to contribute to their Blog to help people deal with the emotional challenges of diagnosis, treatment and recovery from breast cancer.

About me (Hildy Agustin, Psy.D.): Some of you know me as the facilitator of Breast Cancer Connections monthly Thursday night Recovery and Renewal Group or from my previous incarnation as the facilitator of the Recovery and Renewal Group or the Triple Negative  Breast Cancer Support group. I’m also a psychologist in private practice in Menlo Park, CA. In addition to my specialty in helping women with breast cancer, I also work with people who have a wide variety of medical issues, such as cancer, head injury, spinal cord injury, dementia, and chronic pain conditions. I also provide neuropsychological testing for people who have questions related to their cognitive capacity, and evaluate for conditions such as Alzheimer’s or ADHD (so yes, you can count on me to talk about chemo brain and other brain fog topics down the road).

I’ve worked in this field for around fifteen years, and, over this time have generated a lot of insights that I’m excited to share with a wider audience. Working with people with health issues is my passion.  If I didn’t get paid for it, I’d still be interested in having these conversations. I also love to write and share my ideas, and I am looking forward to the dialogue that we will share about a topic that means so much to me.

Let’s get talking about what you can expect from my blog contributions.  While I have a lot of opinions about all aspects of breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery, I’m particularly passionate about talking about the time after active treatment ends, when people have to discover a “new normal” for themselves.  I’ve noticed that when someone is diagnosed with breast cancer, the outpouring of support can be overwhelming (and sometimes, far beyond what is needed or even wanted). But when treatment ends, suddenly, it all stops. No more calls from the nurses to check in, no more casseroles and scarves dropped off at your house, and you no longer receive the solicitous offers to drive you to appointments or listen to your struggles.

In some ways, life can actually be harder when the terrible treatments end.  The loneliness and the fear can be overwhelming. Though the treatment for cancer can be painful, frightening and disruptive, there is also comfort in the sense that you are doing something active to combat the disease, and that all other aspects of your regular life can be put on hold so you can focus on your treatment. When treatment stops, people often expect you to resume “real life” right where you left off, but you may feel like a completely different person.  You might not be ready to dive back into your responsibilities-you might be exhausted, still in pain, and overwhelmed by what just happened. You might worry that without the protection of treatment, the cancer could return at any moment.  In addition, you may have grown close to your treatment team—doctors, nurses, technologists and friends and family who are all working together to battle cancer.  What happens when they all congratulate you on a job well done and leave you alone?

I hope to bring to this blog the same kind of amazing, open conversations that happen every day at Breast Cancer Connections. These conversations aren’t happening frequently enough in the outside world, and I want to have these conversations here on the blog with you. I’ll try to do so with sensitivity, humor and compassion.  I welcome suggestions, feedback, and respectful exploration of differences. Bring your own perspectives of what you’ve learned, and your challenges that you are still trying to figure out. Let’s get some dialogue going about what happens after treatment ends and what you can do to transition successfully to the next phase of life.

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Responses

  1. nicely stated, Dr. A!


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