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Breast Cancer Survivor Joins Memorial in Promoting Patient- and Family-Centered Care

Diagnosed with stage II breast cancer, Judith brought the same focus and determination to dealing with cancer that she brings to her career as a lawyer. Referred by her physician to the Memorial Breast Cancer Centers, Judith prepared for what was ahead.

"Waiting for a diagnosis and then preparing for surgery was an anxious time," says Judith. "My husband is both my soul mate and law partner so as part of coping he focused on the research and preparation, including our wills and finances and I stayed busy with work. While we were competent in handling the details, it was the support and compassion of the Memorial physicians, nurses and staff that we needed to keep marching on."

Following a double mastectomy, Judith underwent chemotherapy and radiation therapy. She credits Memorial Breast Cancer Centers' physicians, nurses and staff with helping her prepare and cope during her treatment.

"When I was diagnosed, it was like getting hit by a ton of bricks with so much coming at me at once," says Judith. "Thankfully, I was warmly welcomed into the "sorority" by other breast cancer patients. Most importantly, the staff supported and educated me on what to expect including chemotherapy. I was given the reassurance I needed."

Following her treatment protocol and recovery, Judith is feeling great and in remission. With renewed strength and perspective, Judith is enjoying spending more time with family, traveling, painting and dedicating time to helping her "sorority" of breast cancer patients and their families.

Advocating for Others

As a breast cancer patient, Judith quickly recognized the importance of advocating for patient education and she welcomed the invitation to join the Breast Cancer Centers' Patient and Family Advisory Council as vice chair. Judith soon found some of her skills as a legal advisor translating into the role of patient advocate.

"In addition to receiving compassionate care, patients and families need preparation and education to guide them through the world of cancer care," says Judith. "Whether it's a 'what to expect' type manual for patients or a guide for physicians on preparing patients for surgical placement of a port, the Patient and Family Advisory Council plays such an important role in helping patients and families."

The participation of patients and family members on Memorial's many advisory councils is about enhancing the quality of the healthcare experience. Council members work closely with the Memorial healthcare team to help tackle issues that are easier to see from "the other side of the bed" and identify opportunities to improve services.

"To me, the Patient and Family Advisory Council is a testament to that standard of care. Working alongside the medical team, we are experienced patients advocating for the best interest of the next generation of patients. It's what patients can expect at Memorial," Judith says. "Memorial has set the bar very high – and I'm helping raise it even higher."

 

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