The Race that is Set Before Me
There was a storm in my soul when the Wichita oncologist said 16 weeks of chemotherapy. Of course, I wasn't excited about doing chemo, but something was wrong. I needed more answers; more explanation. I knew we needed to look elsewhere. The Hubster and I made a short list of three other places we wanted to consult: KU Medical Center, MD Anderson and Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
As I checked my email the next morning, a pop-up advertisement for Cancer Treatment Centers of America appeared. I went to the website and started looking around. We had researched this hospital when The Hubster was first diagnosed with multiple myeloma. We assumed we would drive to Tulsa, their closest location. When I called the 800 number, the courteous customer service rep said CTCA had a brand new Breast Care Clinic at their Zion, IL location.
We set up a three-day initial consultation. There was no obligation, and they accepted our health insurance. CTCA paid for our airfare to Chicago, and a limo driver was waiting for us at the baggage claim. The facility is bright and cheerful. The employees are kind and smiling. Even the patients are positive. You can see it in their faces. After meeting with the care professionals, we knew we were home.
The hospital staff take a group approach. They all meet with you--some together, some separately. Taking a whole person avenue, these professionals listen and suggest ideas...never pushing. With each visit, I consult with a nutritionist, a naturopath, physical therapist, and a quality of life specialist, in addition to all the great nurses and doctors. They ask me questions, like "Did you eat a good breakfast?" and "How are you handling the stress?"
My care group gathered all the lab, pathology and test results from many sources I had, and even performed a few new ones. They made phone calls and asked questions. CTCA found details of my case that others had missed. I was Vitamin E deficient, part of the tumor in my right breast remained and the cancer was more aggressive than anyone had told me before.
Want to take a tour of the city? No problem. Always wanted to learn to play the piano or guitar? They'll make that happen, too. CTCA also has cooking classes, bingo, singalongs and animal therapy. There's a full-service spa and salon, gym and chaplain services. That's right...they are unapologetically Christian. And the cafeteria food is actually good, as well as good for you. (Ninety percent organic.)
My mom went with me to Chicago on my last trip. She was blown away by their compassion, efficiency and attention to the individual. I have a Care Manager (nurse) assigned to my case that calls every week. The surgical nurse, Ninfa, and I talk several times a week about my healing, and the plastic surgeon and I have an active email exchange. They have the latest in technology and new treatments, too.
And so, for me, the decision was simple. At CTCA:
I feel safe.
I feel acknowledged.
I feel peaceful.
I feel confident.
I know I am in the center of God's will for my life. This hospital may not be right for everyone, but it is right for me, right now. God has given His blessing on this place, and I am resolved and ready to fight for my life.
Today, I underwent a right breast mastectomy to rid my body of the last of the malignant tumor. Next week, I will return to begin chemotherapy. As long as God is by my side, and the rest of you are rooting me on from the sidelines, I am sure to win the race.
Hebrews 12:1 (KJV)
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.