Having never been touched by any kind of cancer in any generation of my family, it came as a shock to learn of my breast cancer diagnosis confirmed at Mayo Clinic January 2012. I felt I was going through seven stages of grief in trying to reconcile this new phenomenon happening within my body. Emotionally it knocked me totally off my feet.
More importantly, what brought me upright again was the care and comfort I received at every turn in every appointment with every doctor, tech, nurse, receptionist I came into contact. Just saying the words “I have breast cancer” brought me a whole new gush of tears.
I am a very lucky woman. To live within fifty miles of the Mayo Clinic and be able to be entrusted into Mayo’s care for my breast cancer, something I consider to be an unexpected and emotionally terrorizing diagnosis, is an experience I will never forget. At every corner my fears were allayed by the comfort and gentleness of each doctor and practitioner with every test and procedure required for the expected lumpectomy I was about to undergo. No stone was unturned in analyzing and arriving at my diagnosis. In finally meeting the surgeon in the steps of my new found journey, the act of getting ready for surgery brought the highest dose of reality to my condition. To put it mildly I was scared out of my mind.
I can’t adequately thank enough Drs. Nicole Sandhu, Marilyn Morton, Paula Schomberg, Katie Jones to name just a few of the many physicians I came in contact who ordered and performed the tests necessary in preparation for the surgeon. Their kindness and empathy was utmost and could not have been more heartfelt.
The “day of reckoning” arrived. Dr. James Jakub, the surgeon, was the best not only because of his medical talent, but also because he was the most understanding and compassionate yet I have ever encountered. In the surgical suite he held my hand, smiled down at me and calmly promised he would take good care of me. His words were the most comforting words I could have asked for in the emotional stress of what was happening to me. My fears truly were allayed and the next thing I knew, I was awake in the recovery room. It turned out to be a blessed and happy day in my life’s experiences. Kudos and bravo to Mayo Clinic who dedicates itself day after day to the caring and needs, no matter how large or small, of the patient.
Written by: Mary Rohrer