Our patients say it all
As you learn more about Dominican Hospital's comprehensive Cancer Care program, you'll see that we're deeply invested in technology, advanced therapies and extensive education and credentialing for our staff.
But there's another side to Cancer Care: our patients' side. We want you to see through to the heart of our operation, and who better to provide that view than our patients themselves.
Diagnosed with an ovarian granulosa in 1994, Diane has run the gamut of Dominican Hospital's Cancer Care services.
She had surgery at Dominican in 2005, and stayed as an inpatient. In 2006, she started chemotherapy on the Outpatient Oncology Unit. She prepared for her treatments and life with cancer at the Bennet & Suzy Katz Cancer Resource Center, and stayed at Dominican Rehabilitation Services following another operation in 2007.
Diane's recurring cancer was a catalyst to a dark period of her life, she said. But at every step of the way, she received encouragement from Dominican staff members. After her surgery in 2005, complications left her devastated on her nursing unit.
"My nurses were so comforting," she said. "One stayed with me during a particularly hard time, saying, 'I'll be right here, holding your hand.' I could hardly talk, but she was there, and so loving and caring."
After collecting herself, Diane began to take advantage of the resources available to her. She'd heard about the Katz Cancer Resource Center, and resolved to check it out. She signed up for the information class on chemotherapy, "Chemo 101," and for the makeover workshop by the American Cancer Society, "Look Good, Feel Better."
"I decided to take advantage of whatever was available to me in my battle against cancer," she said. "At Katz, it was really great to meet other people who were going through the same thing."
An encounter with one of Dominican Hospital's working Adrian Dominican Sister Sponsors was key in turning her life around, said Diane. Sister Darylynn Costa, a physical therapist, "bounced" into Diane's room on the Restorative Care Unit one morning for therapy.
"I told her how depressed I was, and that I had just found out that my cancer was chemo-resistant," she said. "And Sister Darylynn just looked at me and said, 'Oh, I wouldn't let that stop me. God has provided all kinds of healers here. If one thing doesn't work, just try another.' Those kind words turned me around, and something clicked. I thought, 'That's right.' I never saw Sister Darylynn again. She bounced in and out of my life, but made quite an impact. My prayers had been answered."
Diane made a conscious decision to take charge of her life. She developed a plan for her days, a rhythm that kept her busy and healthy. She made sure to get out of bed, get her makeup on and leave the house every day. When she started losing her hair, she asked a friend to shave her head. When side effects of chemo sidelined her, she found ways to stay healthy.
"I took back my power," she said. "I amazed myself. I found out that I was stronger and more capable than I'd ever imagined I was."
These days, Diane's cancer is back, but not life-threatening. She still uses Dominican Hospital's services, including the Lymphedema Clinic and the Anticoagulation Clinic. When she sees oncology staff members, she receives hugs, kisses and good wishes.
"When you're sick, you become very, very sensitive," she said. "You can tell when nurses really and truly want to be there with you. The staff and services at Dominican are just amazing. When you get out of the hospital and are not ready to go home, you go to the RCU. Your physical and occupational therapists are there, preparing you to go home. But it doesn't stop: You've got Dominican Home Health and their services. I am here and still fighting because of the incredible care I received at Dominican Hospital."