Maria Watson: I had basically been having problems for about a year. I was diagnosed in 2009, October of 2009, and had been having some issues the year prior just seemingly unrelated; rash around the eyes just weird things. And it wasn’t until October of 2009 that I had started having some excruciating pain and went to the doctor and he took an MRI and told me that there was an abnormality. I was hospitalized they ran some more tests on me and basically had discovered that I had cancer at that point in time but did not know what type of cancer. They took a biopsy this was at the hospital in Naples, and I decided because my back was getting worse I had two lesions on my spine that had compressed fractures that I needed to move very quickly, I couldn’t wait because if it got any worse then it would make it difficult for me to travel. Well, my daughter works for Cancer Treatment Centers of America and I’d seen many commercials on television in Naples, and I just knew that I needed to be with Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Call it intuition, I just knew that it was the place I needed to be.
Anthony Perre: When I first met Ms. Watson she had been previously seen by other physicians back at home. She was frustrated, she was in pain. I think the part that she was most frustrated about was the fact that she was a person who really was able to do things for herself without requiring help from other people, and here she was suddenly confronted with pain that had disabled her to the point where she was relying on people that she otherwise would not have relied on.
Alora Brock: They confirmed that it was stage four non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. When we saw her PET scan which you know she never had a PET scan done in Florida, but of course she had one right away here so we could see where the cancer was and it was just everywhere. I really knew that this is the best place for her to be, we’ve got it together. Our team works together very well, very quickly, and that she would get the best care and so really right away I knew that she needed to be up here.
Kathy Small: Well, we were all on the same page, we all knew what her issues were. We all knew that she was coming here for treatment of her cancer and the complications of that and we were able to put a plan in place and execute it in a timely manner. So, she was you know within a 24 hours she was already feeling comfortable, she felt safe here, she felt that everybody had her best interest at heart, and everybody was we were collaborating so everyone was on the same page. So she felt like secure that everybody knew exactly what was going on with her.
Maria Watson: Typically, when you go to the doctors and you have to see more than one person you have to make sure you can get onto their schedule and that can be a problem cause people may not have openings. You may have to spend all day going from one person going to another. I’ve got a care team. They’re all aware of what’s going on, they all communicate with each other on a regular basis. I go to one location for my appointment; I see the doctor, I see the my care manager, I see pain management, I see the naturopath, and the nutritionist. Whoever I need to see they come to me and its just much more convenient for me. When you’re not well it’s just a wonderful thing to be able to consolidate it all in an hour an hour and a half’s amount of time. That way you can go home and rest or do whatever you need to do.
Anthony Perre: We discussed the details of Ms. Watson’s treatment everyday. That is part of what Cancer Treatment Centers of America really looks at is what’s important to patient care. Communication is vital and so as a person whose involved with her care intimately we need to know what the other members of the team that can add to her benefit may suggest.
Rudolph Willis: You know that the individuals involved in that team all have one purpose in mind and again it’s the focus on the well being of that patient.
Maria Watson: You’ve got a team of people that communicate on a regular basis with each other. So, you can call and get information. If one person’s not available then you can speak to someone else, and that’s the beauty of having a team of people that communicate with each other is if you need to get to someone quickly and their not available then you can speak to someone else and get the information through to them and get information back from them.
Cheryl Butman: Maria was going to be receiving chemotherapy. The chemotherapy that she was going to receive of course was going to cause some side effects; things like hair loss, nausea, potential gastro intestinal problems, pain.
Kelly Prall: We were able to work with the pain management team to make sure that her pain was under control. As well as the constipation because those are two things that automatically usually go hand in hand. We were able to work with the naturopathetic team in making sure that Maria was able to tolerate all of her supplements because she was having a lot of issues with nausea in relationship to the quantity of supplements that she was taking in, and we were able to work with the medical oncologists team at the time to make sue that her nausea and the vomiting was under control too so that she could eat.
Aminah Keats: We actually made a few adjustments for Maria because during her treatment she did experience quite a few side effects, the main one being nausea and with natural supplements we defiantly want to make sure that we prioritize and limit the number of pills that patients take because that can actually exacerbate nausea. So, we did have to kind of prioritize and take some things away at certain points and come up with a plan that was appropriate for her.
Maria Watson: If something doesn’t work they’ll try a different approach and I just feel very important. I feel like I’m treated as a whole person. When my daughters schedule allowed she would come with me for anything simple as having blood drawn, to sitting in when the doctor, the care management team was sitting in on an appointment. So, she was aware every step of the way what was going on and if she wasn’t physically there she could call and ask questions.
Alora Brock: I’m able to ask questions, and typically they’ll actually answer my questions before I get to ask them. So, they defiantly take the time to make sure that I’m comfortable and that I understand everything that’s going on with my mom as well. The patient empowered care model is been for my mom and I really a blessing.
Maria Watson: They took, they took wonderful care of me, and I know the last PET scan was clear and I know that for the next few years I’ll continue to come in and get tested to make sure that the cancer stays in remission. And I have complete confidence that if something were to happen and it were to come back that I’m in the right hands.
Gwen Salkind: Maria really is inspiring, and she’s been through so much and if you would see the before Maria and now the after Maria what a difference. Since we’ve been treating her she’s like a different person. She’s whole again.
Maria Watson: I feel like their my friends, I feel like their my family. Their wonderful, wonderful people. Their my heroes. It’s amazing the strength that people have when their put to the test, it’s amazing and you I don’t think anybody comes out on the other end of something like cancer without being changed. It changes you. You just appreciate so much more than you used to appreciate before. You just look at it through different eyes.