From OHC

November 21, 2023

Life is full of opportunities and challenges that come along every day.  Those challenges provide you with the chance to learn something new, to impact your world view.  For cancer patients, we’ve heard how people learned to be more present in their lives after their diagnosis – how they valued the time with loved ones more and cared less about other concerns.  That’s a common reaction for those diagnosed with serious illnesses – their perspective on what’s important changes.  When an OHC employee becomes a cancer patient, their perspective of what their patients are experiencing takes on an entirely new lens.  While they experience the same care they themselves have provided to patients, they are afforded a new understanding, a new appreciation for they are now walking the same path, and for that, they are thankful.  November is the month of thankfulness, and we will be highlighting several employees who chose OHC for their care when they were faced with a health challenge, and how that experience impacted them personally and as a healthcare provider.

Thanksgiving this year will be special for OHC Eastgate patient care coordinator GeAnn Berry.  GeAnn felt a lump in her left breast in July 2022.  She had a history of fibrous breasts so assumed it was a fibrous cyst and because she was busy caring for her mother, she decided to hold off a few months to have it checked out.  In October 2022, GeAnn scheduled a mammogram. After her mammogram results came back positive, GeAnn knew who to turn to and reached out to OHC breast surgical oncologist Nicole M. Melchior, DO, FACS. A biopsy was scheduled immediately which revealed, “GeAnn had invasive ductal carcinoma with areas of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), ER/PR negative, HER2 positive, stage 2A.  Her cancer team and I worked together to determine the best course of action, which included neoadjuvant chemotherapy, meaning she would receive chemotherapy before having surgery.  After completion, she underwent a left skin-sparing mastectomy, sentinel lymph node biopsy, and tissue expander placement for reconstruction,” explains Dr. Melchior.

GeAnn’s OHC medical oncologist and hematologist was D. Randolph Drosick, MD.  “After surgery, her pathology report indicated she was cancer-free,” explains Dr. Drosick.  “She then received 6 more months of target-directed therapy which she will complete before Thanksgiving. GeAnn has completed her treatment and remains cancer-free.  We could not be happier.”

The entire OHC Eastgate team has been a blessing according to GeAnn. “The nurses and staff from the breast team checked in with me constantly, coming downstairs to see how I was feeling, as well as the nurses in the treatment suite.  Even when I was in my office working, they’d come over and check in to make sure I was doing well,” adds GeAnn.  A 20-year employee of OHC, GeAnn knew the company, “I saw the values in action, how they treated people, the excellent care.  I think you must be a special kind of person to take care of people when they’re sick and I’ve seen that my whole career at OHC. To now be on the receiving end and receive the same loving care makes you feel grateful as a patient and as an employee.”

When asked about how being a cancer patient has changed her as an OHC employee, GeAnn is extremely thankful for being able to better understand what patients are going through.  “I’m able to understand how being a patient makes you feel, receiving different treatments, what they can do for you.  For example, when receiving fluids, patients always said it felt like a ‘miracle drug’ because of how much better they felt afterward.  Now, after receiving chemo and then spending days recovering, I would come in and get hooked up to receive fluids and it really did make a difference, I see why they say that now,” says GeAnn.  “I like to think it helped patients to see me receiving fluids or chemo, having hair loss, and experiencing what they have gone through.  I hope it helped them seeing someone they knew caring for them was receiving needed treatment and fighting their same battle,” adds GeAnn.

A cancer diagnosis can be devastating and for GeAnn, the staff at OHC became her second family, helping her through treatment, keeping her spirits up, and making sure she was supported in any and every way possible.  “For me personally, it truly was a blessed experience.   I already knew what we offered our patients, but being a patient made me more aware of our impact on patients,” recalls GeAnn.

OHC provides patients with everything they need to fight cancer, including compassionate care and support.  If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with cancer, or to request a second opinion, please call OHC at 888.649.4800 or visit ohcare.com.

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