Patients share their stories

    Breast Cancer Survivor- 2012

    Today I begin a new chapter in my life, giving thanks to God for all he has blessed me with during this long struggle.  Without my faith I would have never succeeded in beating this disease.  I can humbly say that I am a brave and strong woman because I have emerged victorious. 

    I didn't go up against just any rival.  I confronted possibly one of the strongest - and it is called cancer.  Cancer chose me and I want everyone to know that I was never afraid.  When this battle began as my own leader I always stood my ground.  first and formats I put my life in the hands of God.  Today, I can proudly say that I am a different person.  I've learned to appreciate each and every day that God allows me to live and not to take anything for granted.  I see life with completely different eyes.  the air I breathe is different, the things I experience throughout my day have more meaning.  I am ever more appreciative with my life because God has given me a second opportunity at life. 

    I believe god made each and everyone of us perfect individuals.  When I lost my hair I didn't feel less of a woman or sad at the fact that I lost my hair.  I looked at myself in the mirror and realized that loosing my hair was worth the battle I was fighting.  My best weapon of defense was a combination of chemotherapy, radiation, and the wonderful people that surrounded me thought my experience.

    Now that it all has come to an end; I can begin to heal.  Not physically, but deep inside myself to my very soul.  I am not mad or questioning why this happened to me.  I believe everything happens for a reason and God choose me to make a difference in someone else's life by sharing my experience.

    I dedicate this letter to a great remarkable person that with his help he has changed my life:  Dr. William P. McKay, MD.  ---E.M., Breast cancer survivor

    Kim Brown

    Story in Hh Fall 2010 - Wound Care

    After being diagnosed with breast cancer, Kim underwent chemotherapy, a bilateral mastectomy, and 33 treatments of radiation therapy in February 2009 to conquer the disease. A year later, however, Kim began experiencing pain in her right chest wall that steadily worsened. It was discovered she had a large hematoma that had to be surgically removed.

    To help avoid excess scarring, the hematoma was removed through the same  incision site as the mastectomy. Everything seemed to be going smoothly—until a month or so after the operation. Kim’s surgical site failed to heal.

    “Radiation therapy is designed to kill cancer cells, but unfortunately, it can also destroy good tissues in the affected area, as was the case for Kim,” says Angela Bradley, RN,

    Hyperbaric Safety Manager at Hamilton Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center at Hamilton Medical Center. “When good tissue is damaged, it also injures the blood vessels, preventing wounds from healing properly.”

    Kim began receiving her treatments at Hamilton in April 2010. By May, she was finished and her treatments were deemed a success. “The staff is incredibly caring,” says Kim. “They made the whole experience pleasant and always ensured I was comfortable. Every time I went for treatment, it was as if I were visiting friends.”

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    Baby Kylor Gable

    Story in Hh Summer 2010- parents Adrienne and Brad Gable - NICU

    Kylor Gable wasn’t due to come into this world until April 27, 2010, so when Adrienne began experiencing contractions on February 17, there was great cause for concern.

    Adrienne started having complications with her pregnancy in her third trimester.
    “I went to see my doctor after waking up with severe contractions,” says Adrienne.
    While being monitored, the staff noticed Kylor’s heart rate dropped significantly with
    each contraction, so Adrienne’s doctor ordered an emergency C-section.

    “I arrived at the hospital at 11:57 a.m., and Kylor was born at 12:02 p.m. with his
    umbilical cord wrapped around his neck three times,” recalls Adrienne. “He was
    10 weeks premature.”

    “We’ve been blessed with great care,” Brad says. “With everything happening so quickly, having a NICU close to home gives us the ability to come home and receive the rest we need to get through the next day. We are very thankful for all the doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapists involved in Kylor’s care.”

    Kylor spent two and a half months in the NICU with two surgeries to treat hydrocephalus (buildup of fluid inside the skull that leads to brain swelling). He was discharged into the care of his parents and went home on April 29—two days after his original due date.

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    Larry Satcher

    Story in Hh Spring 2010 - SICU

    September 15, 2009, seemed like just another workday for Larry Satcher, a 60-year-old school bus driver from Cohutta. After dropping his students off at school,  however, Larry’s day took a dramatic turn.

    Pulling out of Northwest High School’s parking lot, Larry turned onto Highway 201.  Minutes later an empty logging truck jackknifed, hitting Larry’s bus head on. Dr. Steven Paynter was traveling on the same road when the accident occurred. He
    rushed to the scene and stayed with Larry until the emergency responders arrived. They spent 45 minutes removing Larry from the mangled bus. Thankfully, he was the only person on the bus at the time.

    Once freed, Larry was transported to the Emergency Department (ED) at Hamilton, a level II Trauma Center. Upon his arrival, the trauma team quickly assessed and treated his injuries.

    “I suffered numerous injuries, including a broken leg and pelvis,” Larry says. “At the ED, the physicians and nurses took exceptional care of me while spending several hours to help stabilize my injuries.”

    After spending two weeks in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU), Larry was well
    enough to begin rehabilitation. Today, he continues receiving care at Bradley’s  Whiteside Rehabilitation Care and is able to walk with the assistance of a walker.

    “My experience at the Hospital was tremendous,” says Larry. “I can’t say enough about how wonderful everyone was, especially Jana Brock, Donna Elmore, and the other nurses in SICU. I’m glad Hamilton was there to help me through an extremely difficult time in my life. I will always be grateful.”

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    Marnie Dodd

    Recently I went to Hamilton for a cardiac stress test that turned up some minor problems. I ended up in the cardiac cath lab and then as a patient on the cardiac unit.

    I knew from the start that I was in good hands. I have been in several hospitals over the years, and I can truthfully say that I have never received better care. It was obvious that the doctors and the staff knew what they were doing. They were extremely professional and competent, and more importantly, they treated me like a person.

    Hopefully I won’t have any further problems but if I do, I won't hesitate to trust my heart to Hamilton.

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    Debbie Phipps

    Story in Hh Winter 2010 - Cancer Care

    When Debbie Phipps, 55, a native of Dalton who works in a local dentist's office, heard her doctor's words, "You have breast cancer," she knew there were two paths she could take. She could give in to the overwhelming emotions and feel defeated. Or, she could fight back. "There's so much emotion that comes from hearing life-changing news," says Debbie. "But after my shock, I asked my doctor what I had to do to beat cancer. I never looked back. This is what I had to do for myself and my family." Debbie had a double lumpectomy followed by 35 radiation treatments that lasted for seven weeks. "I've had to take it easy a bit and let my body heal from radiation and surgery," says Debbie. "For the next five years, I'll need to take hormone-blocking medications and have more frequent mammograms, but I feel very positively that things are going well, and I'll continue on this path." Dr. McKay and his team also treated Debbie.

    "Dr. McKay was absolutely wonderful, and the entire team was so professional and great at everything they did," says Debbie. "Dr. Eric Manahan was the breast surgeon who helped me, and I was so impressed with his compassion and kindness with my diagnosis and treatment planning—I can't say enough wonderful things about everyone within the Hamilton Health network."

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    Julia Lansing

    Story in Hh Winter 2010 - Cancer Care

    Julia Lansing, 72, of Dalton, has successfully beaten cancer two times—first becoming a survivor in 1995 and again in 2006. "In 1995, I was first diagnosed with cancer in my right breast," says Julia. "I underwent a lumpectomy and radiation treatment, and I was cancer-free for 11 years before receiving the bad news that my routine mammogram found another lump in my right breast." After two occurrences of breast cancer in the same breast, Julia and her husband made the difficult decision to go forward with a bilateral mastectomy—a procedure in which both breasts are removed. "We knew that I could not have radiation treatment again, so my husband and I talked about it and prayed, and ultimately decided that a bilateral mastectomy made the most sense," says Julia. "Not long after the surgery, the pathology report came back showing some indications for cancer in my left breast, so I felt very grateful to have made the right decision." Julia feels that a difficult situation was made better by the personal attention and compassion she felt from the clinicians at the Hospital.

    "Both times I was treated for cancer, my radiation oncologist was Dr. William McKay," says Julia. "Everyone at his office and at the hospital was wonderful. They were professional enough that I had great confidence in the care they provided, but casual enough to make me feel very comfortable." Today, Julia participates in the Hospital's support group for cancer survivors and is planning to begin volunteering at the cancer center. "Human touch and caring is an enormous part of healing," says Julia. "I'm looking forward to taking the volunteer course the next time it's available and becoming a part of the Hamilton Health community."

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    Peggy Mashburn

    Story in Hh Winter 2010 - Cancer Care

    After brushing her teeth and noticing a sore spot in her mouth, Peggy Mashburn's physician recommended that she gargle with salt and baking soda. After two months of gargling, there had been no improvement. So Peggy, 68, was referred to an otolaryngologist. "The minute he looked in my mouth, he said he thought it was cancer," says Peggy. "Those were the last words I wanted to hear. I was referred to Dr. McKay, but I wasn't ready to move forward with treatment." Peggy instead went home, unplugged her phone, and worked on a plan of action. "I lost my husband to cancer," says Peggy. "We had both always been very healthy, and when I learned I had cancer, I felt both scared and devastated, and I was not ready to jump into a treatment plan." After two months of thinking and preparing herself for the road ahead, Peggy knew it was time to begin radiation treatments. "When I took some time to be by myself, something kicked in that made me decide that I was going to beat this disease," says Peggy. "I'm proud to say that I did." After being cancer-free for a little more than a year, Peggy decided to start volunteering at the cancer center. "Volunteering is so important, and I love to talk with patients and help them through the experience," says Peggy. "Sometimes, when you have cancer, all you have is hope. I want to share this with others."

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