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Sherry Biggham

Breast cancer - Stage II

This testimonial includes a description of this patient’s actual medical results. Those results may not be typical or expected for the particular disease type described in this testimonial. You should not expect to experience these results.

View CTCA treatment results for breast cancer

Overview

My story

Going through cancer treatment requires a lot of strength—physical, emotional, and mental. To stay strong, it’s important to have caregivers, both family and healthcare professionals, who continue to see you as a whole person, rather than focusing solely on the disease. I found that kind of care at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA).

After feeling a sharp pain in my breast one night, I made an appointment to see my primary care physician in my home town of Las Vegas, Nevada. She referred me to a breast specialist in the same building. Two weeks later, a sonogram indicated that I had breast cancer, and a subsequent biopsy confirmed the diagnosis. The disease was at stage II, and my doctor recommended surgery. However, I was troubled because I was not presented with options and I was not ready to rush into a decision. I also saw an oncologist who told me to have a port placed in preparation for chemotherapy, which was not something I’d discussed with the first specialist.

I decided to ask a friend who had been diagnosed with colon cancer a year earlier about her experience with her care. She was treated at the CTCA location in Arizona.

When I arrived at CTCA, I noticed right away that the facility was not like an ordinary hospital. It felt like a resort. Everyone treated my caregiver and I like family. It didn’t smell like a hospital. My schedule was arranged, and I had several doctors come meet with me—they came to me—and explain their treatment plan. They treated me as a whole person. That approach, combined with the ability to see all the different care providers in one location during the same visit, contributed to my decision to be treated at CTCA.

I underwent eight weeks of chemotherapy followed by eight weeks of radiation. I continued to work at the clothing store I manage when I was back in Las Vegas between treatments. A naturopathic clinician suggested supplements that helped counteract some of the side effects of the medications I was taking. My dietitian showed me how empowering it is to eat right, and taught my caregiver what foods to prepare for me while I was going through chemotherapy and afterwards. My mind-body therapist helped me deal with the challenges that arise when coping with a cancer diagnosis. Acupuncture helped ease the neuropathy I was experiencing during chemotherapy, and massage therapy helped reduce aches during that treatment.

At first, I always wanted my caregiver with me when I went for my treatments at CTCA. But today, I don’t need that because the staff there is like my family. When I arrive, they know me. We hug each other, we smile, we call each other by our first names. A patient that I met during my treatment is now one of my best friends. Having this kind of support is invaluable. My care manager, Marcy, and I would exchange e-mails and laughs. I took pictures during my treatment that I would send to the nurses to thank them for helping me through it.

Today, I am a member of the patient support network Cancer Fighters, and I try to meet individually with patients from time to time. It is so important to stay positive. Cancer is your personal fight, and you want to win that fight. That means never giving up, and staying close with your family. At CTCA, the healthcare professionals and entire staff are like family.

One of my sons turned 21 and the other turned 16 since I completed my treatment. My teenager still gives me a kiss goodnight every night and makes sure I make it up the stairs to bed. It was hard for him to watch me going through cancer, and I had done a lot of explaining to him at the time that his job was to not worry, and that if he did his job, I would get healthy and strong. I told him that I was getting the best care and the best treatment, and that I would be okay. I got the best care and treatment at CTCA, and today I am doing better than okay—I am doing great.

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