Nicole Cyrille: My name is Nicole and I am a breast cancer survivor. When I went and got my mammogram and they discovered something, I was really shocked but at that moment I thought it cannot be cancer because I take care of myself so it cannot be cancer. I don’t smoke; I don’t drink, and there’s a lot of things I don’t do. I said, “No, no, no, that’s not me”.
They told me I have to have a chemo and I said, “Let me build myself. Let me go to a nutritionist first.” She is the one, my nutritionist – she is the one who would tell me, “Did you hear about Cancer Treatment Center of America?” My husband and I saw their website and we called right away.
When I went there I was very impressed because I feel the team who welcomed me was so compassionate. My doctor is Dr. Rudolph Willis, that’s the oncologist who saw me the first time. They explained to us what he is going to do and how he is going to approach my cancer because everybody’s cancer is different. And then so he told us that we will have a port put on by the surgeon and then we will start chemo.
Then at that time I took all the supplements my nutritionist had given to me – I took them to the naturopathic doctor who is Michelle Qaqundah on that. So when I brought them to her and I started talking to her and I said, “By the way I love that place. I was looking for somebody like you”. So I went back downstairs and I saw Dr. Rudolph Willis and I said to him, “You know, you are going to treat me. That said, that’s the place for me”, and they started all the tests and that’s how I ended up in CTCA.
They do the chemo and they also do the naturopathic medicine – all combined. That’s what I was looking – everything under one roof, and also I feel good. I feel this is the place, when I am driving to, I never feel anxiety – never, never, never. I could say until now when I am driving, that is I am going to your favorite grandma house.
One thing I have to tell you about the Cancer Treatment Centers of America – you are really the patient first. They really care for you and they are very warm people. They make you feel welcomed everyday. It’s just like you are their family and they will pray, whatever belief you are, they will pray, they will hold your hand and pray for you.
Kristin was my patient coordinator. I did it today – I saw her husband in the lobby and I said, “Oh my god, I didn’t have no news. I don’t’ know what’s going on”, and then her husband Michael said, “Oh no, no, no problem we will get you a TV”, and then I said, “No, I was just joking”. The next thing I know Michael and Kristin, they are pushing their old TV in my room.
I was very impressed for my very first chemo, so because the mind-body doctor came to the infusion room and she held my hand and then we worked to visualization, she did that with me. It was the best experience for me and then I said, “Oh, that’s the way chemo is done – no problem”. So I’ll have my eight chemo with no problems, you know.
My husband was allowed to be with me all the time and he was asking questions and we never felt worse. When they took all their time, Dr. Rudolph Willis took all of his time with us and asking all of the questions and then you know, like I said, it became like a family to me.
When I met Michelle Qaqundah she was so warm - to prove to you what type of dedicated doctor she is. My husband was in a health food store and he was buying a tea and he called me and said, “Well, I am buying that tea is good for cancer”. I said, “No, you are not buying any tea until you talk to Dr. Q”, and then you know my husband stayed there at the health food store. My husband called her and then she answered the phone and then my husband said, “Well, you know I am buying this thing”, and then she said, “No, don’t buy it. This is the worst thing for her”.
The team that I met, they were very warm, they are very caring, very compassionate. I have to tell you I was really, really scared because you see the devastation that chemo does for people I was scared, but I felt better after I listened to the team of doctors that I met at Cancer Treatment Centers of America and then because they gave me hope and that’s the important thing. They give me hope.