Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Nicole Cyrille

Breast cancer - Stage III

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

No case is typical. You should not expect to experience these results.

Nicole & Maurice's journey with cancer

My story

My name is Nicole Cyrille and I reside in Somerset, New Jersey. I am married and the mother of two beautiful, grown daughters. I have always been healthy. Eating well and exercising moderately has always played an important role in my life. I breast-fed both of my daughters, 12 and 18 months respectively, never used birth control medication and through the years made certain that routine medical checkups were a part of my lifestyle.

Therefore, it was with absolute shock that I received the news in November 2005 that a further investigation of a slight abnormality in my yearly mammogram revealed cancer. It was, to say the least, unexpected. To my knowledge there was never any history of cancer in my family. Heart disease was a concern on my father’s side of the family. However, my mother was 90 years old, her mother lived to be 103 years old and her grandmother lived to be 118 years old. To further exacerbate my dismay and anxiety, and foster a feeling of foreboding, was the metastasis of this small, 1.5 cm, diagnosed cancer to a stage 3A classification breast cancer, affecting at least 14 of my lymph nodes.

I contacted two leading cancer hospitals and a local oncologist to arrange for follow-up. In addition, because of an acquaintance who claimed her breast cancer had been successfully treated a number of years ago solely through alternative medicine, I sought the advice of a friend in the nutritional business. My friend could sense that while I wanted to include alternative therapies in my cancer treatment, I wanted standardized medicine to be a significant part of my treatment. Knowing this is exactly what Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) offers, she suggested that I contact CTCA.

Fortunately, my diagnosis and surgery on December 19, 2005 coincided with the opening of CTCA at Eastern Regional Medical Center in Philadelphia. My husband spoke to an Oncology Information Specialist at CTCA late in the evening on January 2, 2006. He gave my husband the information requested, and as assured, we received a return call the next day. CTCA immediately set up an appointment for me for the following Monday, January 6. A scheduler at CTCA took care of arranging all of my appointments at Eastern Regional Medical Center. I had a medical evaluation, as well as consultations with the pain management, mind-body medicine, pastoral care, nutrition and naturopathic medicine staffs.

Because of my ongoing communication with my care manager at CTCA, Fran Boston, I felt very much at ease upon my arrival at Eastern Regional Medical Center. I was confident that I was at a first-class medical center and very secure in knowing what to expect. I was able to register in a timely fashion and receive my entire schedule, which was prepared for me before I arrived. All of my exams and tests were professionally and comprehensively administered. The courtesy, efficiency and diligence of everyone had a profound effect on my husband and me.

On the first of the initial three days I spent at Eastern Regional Medical Center, the oncology nurse supervisor warmly welcomed me. Subsequently, I met with Dr. Rudolf Willis, a medical oncologist, as well as a radiation oncologist. Both doctors showed patience and understanding in answering the inordinate number of questions my husband and I posed. They were articulate, thorough and informative. Reverend Michael Barry, who heads the Pastoral Care Department, also visited me on that first day and provided the spiritual renewal I so very much needed.

After three days of seeing the compassion and commitment emanating from my care team at CTCA—which also included a surgical oncologist, psychologist, naturopathic clinician, pain management coordinator and nutritionist—I was convinced that CTCA was where I should be. I promptly cancelled my appointments with the other cancer hospitals.

By January 17, I had completed the required lab tests evaluating my case, undergone surgery for port placement and received the first of eight chemotherapy treatments.

The complementary/supporting components of my treatment provided me with the physical, mental and spiritual tenacity I needed to endure the aggressive, conventional cancer treatment I required. On my first day of treatment, Rev. Barry invigorated my spirit with a prayer of hope and faith, and to my delightful surprise, my mind-body therapist visited me at the onset of my chemotherapy infusion to quell my anxiety. She reassured me that I was receiving the utmost in quality care.

After completing my chemotherapy treatments, I underwent an additional 35 sessions of radiation, over a seven week period. Nevertheless, with the exception of hair loss and a slight darkening of my extremities, I experienced minimal side effects. Considering the potency of the chemo and numerous radiation applications I had received, I can only attribute my resilience to the wonderful emotional, spiritual and nutritional support integrative oncology provides. With the overall leadership of Dr. Willis and the ongoing, natural healthcare counseling, I am confident I will not succumb to this insidious disease and will most certainly be healthier overall. I also thank my husband Maurice for his unwavering support and companionship.

My cancer diagnosis and CTCA experience has made me much more protective and nurturing of both my body and mind. I’ve become acutely aware of their connection. I am exceedingly thankful to CTCA for an environment permeating love, compassion and optimism. I feel empowered within the CTCA family. To Mr. John McNeil, CEO of CTCA at Eastern Regional Medical Center, and Mr. Kane Dawson, Senior Vice President, for being so accessible; and to Nicole, Judy, Kristin, Michael, Sharon, Arlene, Lena, Frank and the entire CTCA family for putting patients first, you have my eternal gratitude.

I have been cancer free since my treatment and am happy to reaffirm without reservation my absolute faith and confidence in the integrity, competency and quality of CTCA care. With God’s blessing, the exemplary efforts of all involved will ensure that the good work at CTCA continues.

September 24, 2010

In December 2010, I will be celebrating five years since my breast cancer diagnosis and on January 28, 2011, my 40th wedding anniversary. I am as healthy and energetic as ever and have been sharing to the fullest the companionship and affection of both family and friends. Enjoying the theater, opera, and the stimuli of participating in a monthly book club form the staple of my post-treatment leisure activities. I've been doing a lot of traveling across the country and to the Caribbean, and have been active in my community and church. A Cancer Fighter, currently serving on the CTCA Patient Advisory Council, I have been the subject of a website commercial, highlighted on the cover of the patient information packet at the Eastern Regional Medical Center and representative of CTCA at several functions, including a Somerset Patriot baseball game in New Jersey, where I threw out the first pitch. Also in my profession as a fashion designer, I have been keeping pretty busy making formal gowns and outfits for weddings, bar mitzvahs, galas, etc. It is with profound gratitude that I thank CTCA for all it has done and continues to do in the fight against cancer.

Since the completion of my treatment, two of my sisters have developed breast cancer, one of whom is currently being treated at Eastern Regional Medical Center. In an effort to determine whether the competence, timeliness and efficiency I experienced when first arriving at CTCA remained undiminished, arrangements were made for an initial consultation, in which I accompanied her without revealing my history. The experience was not simply replicated, but improved upon because of the implementation of the Patient Empowered Care® format.

My sister is absolutely flabbergasted by the compassion, understanding and love shown. Being welcomed into the CTCA family and undergoing integrative care has made for an experience she is eager to share with anyone willing to listen. The Mother Standard engendered in the CTCA experience is unquestionably extraordinary, and if I could shout for one and all to hear, it would be loud and clear: “CTCA Rocks”!!!