Georgia was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999. To treat it, she underwent a mastectomy of her right breast, reconstructive surgery, and chemotherapy. In 2001 she was diagnosed with a new cancer in the left breast. She had a lumpectomy, radiation, and chemotherapy. After that she lived cancer-free for eight years. Then, after testing positive for an abnormal mutation of the BRCA1 gene (which represents an increased risk for breast and ovarian cancers), she had a complete hysterectomy.
Georgia had undergone all her treatments at home, in Maryland, but when she later developed skin cancer, she began to look for other options. She went to Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) Eastern Regional Medical Center in Philadelphia to seek a second opinion. In 2009 Georgia had a second mastectomy, on the left breast, and then chemotherapy at CTCA.
Georgia appreciated the friendly, competent care she received at CTCA, especially the collaboration that brought together professionals from a variety of disciplines. "They take care of every need, and everybody is right there," Georgia says. "The nutritionist ... and the naturopathic doctor talk to you about supplements; there's occupational and physical therapy ... they work as a team."
Georgia's treatment continued. In September of 2011 she had radiation hyperthermia. She has a port implanted in her chest to deliver chemotherapy to the site. She goes in about three times a month for her treatments, driving five hours round trip, nearly always in the company of a friend or relative. Sometimes she stays overnight at a hotel arranged by CTCA. "What I say to patients who are concerned about the travel is that it's really worth the travel. You've got to invest in yourself and your health," Georgia says.
"At CTCA, they’re not treating the cancer, they're treating you," she continues. "It's a friendly, positive, nurturing mind-set and community. I'ts a place for hope."
Last updated on 5 December 2015
Before Leaving the Hospital: Get All the Paperwork
Impatient to be gone, and often suffering the woozy side effects of surgery and post-operative pharmaceuticals, patients too often find themselves back at home later, missing important documents that could have more easily been obtained on site. So before you hightail it out of your hospital or clinic, be sure that you have all of your important documents.
Generally, larger hospitals provide complete medical documentation as part of the standard exit procedure. However, some smaller clinics may rely more on verbal instructions, and they are less likely to build and maintain a dossier on your case.