Marian, who had just moved to Texas the year before, had a lot on her mind during that busy day in May 2019: It was the last day of school for her son, Miles, and her husband, Matt, was still working in California near their former home. The day was already stressful even before Marian’s follow-up appointment at the CHRISTUS St. Michael Imaging Center. A mammogram just a week earlier at the Imaging Center had revealed a suspicious area in her left breast, and she had an appointment that day to go over the results.
Though Marian had a strong family history for breast cancer and carried a genetic mutation that increased her risk for the disease, she still wasn’t prepared for what she would learn that day: She had stage 1 breast cancer.
“I always figured I would get breast cancer because of my family history, and that’s why I always knew it was important to get mammograms,” Marian said. “But I was still in shock.”
Marian calls her early diagnosis lucky, but her commitment to getting mammograms was really what made the difference. Because Marian had been proactive about annual mammograms and thanks to advanced imaging through 3D computed tomography, the team at CHRISTUS St. Michael Imaging Center was able to see the subtle changes in the tissue in her left breast that indicated cancer was present.
The Right Treatment at the Right Place
When it was time to begin treatment, Marian discovered that CHRISTUS St. Michael wasn’t just the nearest place for her to get a mammogram; it was also the only comprehensive cancer center in the area. She wouldn’t have to travel to Shreveport or Dallas for advanced care. The doctors and nurses she already trusted could also handle her treatments — and she knew she would never be just another patient to them.
As soon as Marian was diagnosed, she was matched with Diagnostic Patient Navigator Tamara Henderson, RN. Tamara helped Marian schedule her appointments, answered Marian’s questions and helped her navigate the treatment process.
“Everybody was very nice,” Marian said. “They try the best to make you comfortable. Tamara calls just to see how I’m doing.”
Tamara has been a nurse for over 25 years, and she loves her job as a patient navigator because it is another way she can extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ.
“Patients are never alone here at CHRISTUS,” Tamara said. “We’re going to be with them 100% of the way through their journey. We’ll help them, we’ll call them, and we’ll pray with them. We’ll do whatever they need.”
Heshim Hazin, M.D., Marian’s medical oncologist and the medical director of the W. Temple Webber Cancer Center at CHRISTUS St. Michael, guided Marian through her treatment journey. After undergoing a lumpectomy, Marian had a 12-week regimen of chemotherapy followed by 25 radiation treatments.
These days, Marian is back to her busy lifestyle and enjoying time with her family. She will always be grateful that she carved out the time necessary for the mammogram that saved her life.
“Take charge of your health,” Marian said. “You have to be around for your family.”
Ask your physician to schedule your appointment for your 3D HD mammogram today by calling 903.614.2273