In January, 2021, a year after the start of the pandemic, I started feeling like I may be going through my change of life. I contacted my doctor to see about getting hormone therapy treatment to help give me some relief. My doctor noticed that I was overdue for a mammogram and wanted me to have the mammogram, first, before my appointment.
At my mammogram appointment, the tech started taking more images than normal. As a nurse who works with pediatric oncology patients, I knew something was wrong. The next step was an ultrasound and I could see the tumor in one breast on the screen. The radiologist, Dr. Caroline Daly, said she was 98% sure it was breast cancer. The last test I had was a breast biopsy which confirmed Dr. Daly’s diagnosis; it was breast cancer. At that point, Jodi, became my breast health nurse navigator. She was wonderful. Jodi supported me through my initial appointments and helped me understand what to expect.
I thought I would need to have a mastectomy, but Dr. Mika Reschke at Bronson Breast Surgery Specialists said a lumpectomy was the better option for surgery. Surgery went well, and my next step in the journey was an appointment with oncologist, Dr. Sunil Nagpal. He reviewed my case and also consulted with the University of Michigan and Mayo Clinic. Both hospitals confirmed Dr. Nagpal’s recommendation that the best treatment for me after the lumpectomy was chemotherapy and radiation.
At the Bronson Cancer Center in Kalamazoo, Kristen was my oncology nurse navigator. Previously, Kristen and I worked together so it was comforting to have her by my side. Nurse practitioner, Kelly Smith, was also a member of my care team and would always greet me with a smile on her face. Between Dr. Nagpal, Kelly, Kristen, Jillian and the rest of the Bronson Cancer Center team, I couldn’t have asked for a better care team.
I finished my chemo and radiation treatments in September 2021 but continued to have immunotherapy infusions every three weeks. It was such a good feeling to be done with my treatment program at the end of March 2022.
Bronson lived up to my expectations by providing me the best care possible. I am forever grateful.