I am thankful
for MD Anderson for so many reasons. After I had anal cancer ,in
November 2017, I went to MD Anderson in The Woodlands for follow-up treatment.
Easy access anal
cancer treatment: My oncologist,
Dr. Douglas Nelson, said I needed four months of simultaneous chemotherapy and
radiation therapy for my anal cancer treatment.
I was relieved
to know I could continue to come to MD Anderson in The Woodlands for my
post-surgery therapy. I was 72 at the
time, and only my older brother was available to drive me to my appointments.
We couldn’t have managed the two-hour drive to MD Anderson’s Texas Medical
Center Campus from my home in Onalaska, Texas, five days a week for four
months. MD Anderson in The Woodlands was significantly closer, making it much
easier for me to get to and from my appointments.
Finding peace of
mind – and support through side effects: When I started
chemo and radiation therapy, I had a lot of questions about my treatment. I was
very fortunate to have a care team that explained every step of the process;
this took a lot of worry off my mind. I
didn’t have to wonder why something was being done; the care team kept me
abreast of every aspect of my treatment, explaining every detail with
compassion, humor and kindness. They reassured me, which alleviated much of the
fear I had before beginning chemo and radiation therapy.
When the side
effects of radiation therapy started to take their toll, the staff did
everything they could to help me. The location of my cancer made it difficult
to sit or lie down after radiation therapy. My care team tried to put me in
several positions to help mitigate the intense burning sensation and encouraged
me to sit in warm water for 5-10 minutes after every treatment. That soaking
suggestion made all the difference in soothing my pain. I was also prescribed
penicillin for the third-degree burns that developed on my stomach and given pain
medications to reduce my discomfort.
environment: I really
appreciated the staff’s attentiveness: Early in my
treatment, I was given a chemo pump (with thorough explanations how to use it),
which I loved because it allowed me to continue my treatment at home. Shortly
after I began using the pump, it started leaking. I called my care team and
they told me they would have a replacement pump ready and waiting for me ASAP.
When I arrived at MD Anderson in The Woodlands, the nurses raced to replace the
pump and were very apologetic as they washed the chemo leakage off my arms,
hands and legs. I was overwhelmed by their caring and compassion; the
experience felt like I was being taken care of by family. It was amazing.
And the staff
cared for me beyond my medical needs. Midway through my treatment, I was
struggling to cope with the stress of cancer and everything else happening in
my life. When I voiced my temptation to give up, the nurses encouraged me to
keep fighting. Each time I went to MD Anderson, they would stop by to chat and
comfort me during my infusions, which made my experience all the more
wonderful. Even though they had other patients to care for, I never felt alone.
My MD Anderson family truly did everything they could to comfort me and keep me
from slipping into depression.
cancer-free since June, and I don’t think I could’ve come this far without the
support of my family and my care team at MD Anderson in The Woodlands.
diagnosis is the beginning of a journey that is full of fear, uncertainty and
unknowns. The professionalism,
compassion and kindness (mixed with a lot of hugs and laughter) of my care team
and the entire staff at MD Anderson in The Woodlands made my cancer journey a
lot less frightening. My successful treatment
and recovery from anal cancer is proof that if you are in the right atmosphere,
even in the midst of darkness, there is joy and hope.
From the first time I walked into the front door of MD Anderson in the Woodlands to this moment, I am truly thankful for both quality of care I received and the endless encouragement I was given. I believe, without hesitation, the positive outcome of my cancer journey is the result of the benevolence and compassion I received during my therapy at MD Anderson in The Woodlands. For that positive experience, I’m truly thankful.