Cancer doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man, woman, young, or old. It doesn’t seem to matter if you have a healthy lifestyle or not. And it doesn’t matter if you work in healthcare or some other industry. Healthcare employees are susceptible just the same.
Sharon Sanders, a former employee of AEGIS (a partner company of Hunt Regional Healthcare) and lifelong crusader for women’s health, is no exception. She received the dreaded breast cancer diagnosis in 2010 after a routine mammogram and biopsy at Hunt Regional Medical Center.
Sharon turned to two medical professionals at HRMC who she had worked with in the past – James J. Petrikas, D.O. and Meera Shreedhara-Vasudha, M.D. The doctors gave Sharon several surgical referrals and she was asked whether she wanted a referral to a larger hospital in the Dallas metroplex. Sharon declined.
“I knew that my options were as good or better here,” Sharon said. She felt comfortable with her physician at Hunt Regional, who “as good as anyone the doctors had ever worked with before.” Sharon was also attracted to the knowledge that HRMC offered the sentinel node procedure – an innovative procedure used to determine if a particular cancer has spread from its original location to the lymph glands.
Becoming a Fighter
It’s not unusual for a cancer diagnosis to spur all kinds of feelings and emotions – from sadness and grief to anger and denial. For Sharon, she felt one emotion: fury.
“I wanted it gone,” Sharon said. “I was mad that the bully cancer had picked on me. I would fight it until the end.”
Luckily, Sharon’s doctor helped provide the optimism she needed. He told her she had caught the cancer early due to her diligence with her annual mammograms. She also had no history of breast cancer and an otherwise healthy body, and because of that, a lumpectomy became a viable option.
“I listened to my surgeon, I listened to my oncologist,” Sharon said. I chose the lumpectomy and I have no regrets.”
So, her battle against breast cancer began. Surgery came first, then radiation. When the side effects of treatment rolled around – like the dreaded burning sensation from radiation – Sharon’s doctors and nursing staff were there to help, offering advice on home remedies. She credits the medical team for her recovery, including their relationships and communication with each other, as well as their knowledge and expertise.
“There were no egos out there,” she said. “[Not] when patient lives were at stake.”
Learn more about breast cancer treatment or other cancer services offered at Hunt Regional Medical Center today.