Sue Marsh isn’t a single-minded woman — except when it comes to being positive. She’s a multitasker with lots of interests and hobbies: gardening, swing dancing, swimming, entertaining and selling jewelry. But if she had to pick her favorite activity, it would probably be golfing.
So at her annual physical in January, when her primary care physician felt a lump in her breast and said, “I think it’s probably just a cyst but to be sure, let’s schedule a MammoPlus* mammogram at Mercy Health,” Marsh wasn’t particularly concerned. MammoPlus offers a digital mammogram and a National Cancer Institute Breast Cancer Risk Assessment at no cost.
She did her monthly breast self-exams, got her mammograms regularly, and had even had benign cysts before. There was no history of breast cancer in her family.
Still, Marsh prepared herself for the worst, just in case. She was at home when the nurse from the Comprehensive Breast Center at Mercy Health called.
“You never really know how you’re going to feel until you get the diagnosis. I was shocked, but the nurse was wonderful. She walked me through everything, told me what the plan would be and what I could anticipate.”
The next step was to schedule an MRI and an appointment with the nurse navigator and Marsh’s breast surgeon and medical director of the Comprehensive Breast Center, Jessica Keto, MD. After the initial appointments with her providers, Marsh had peace of mind.
“We had a lot of questions, and they answered them so thoroughly. I wasn’t going to let myself get on that slippery slope of feeling bad for myself. I told my husband, ‘I feel so positive and good about this because I’m in good hands.'”
For Marsh, being diagnosed and treated at Mercy Health offered additional benefits. “I was born at Mercy Health and have had inpatient care here my entire life. As a Catholic, it is comforting to know that Mercy Health is a Catholic hospital and that the staff care about my spiritual and physical wellbeing.”
The decision about surgery comes at the time of diagnosis. “Fortunately we were able to diagnose Sue at an early stage of breast cancer, and she has an excellent prognosis. Sue had minimally invasive, breast-conserving surgery,” explained Dr. Keto.
Even though Marsh’s surgery and treatment were going to interrupt her summer of golfing, she was determined to make it through the surgery, chemo and radiation with enough strength left for mid-summer golf.
“I knew that once my radiation was completed, I could begin golfing again!” she said. During her journey, she kept asking her doctors, “When can I golf again?” and they’d give her some target dates. Finally Marsh was able to hit the links again in mid-summer.
“My experience at Mercy Health was great. I was impressed with everyone, from the schedulers to the medical professionals. My nurse navigator and I clicked…when she called it was like hearing from a friend. The care team treats patients — and their caregivers — with respect and dignity,” Marsh shared. In fact, whenever she is back at the hospital, Marsh stops in to say hello to the people she met during treatment.
Now back to swimming, golfing and volunteering, Marsh expresses her gratitude. “I’m so glad that they detected my cancer early. I’m glad that Dr. Keto was my surgeon. I just sell jewelry, but she saves lives. I feel blessed that I have very few side effects. And the survivorship program at Mercy Health is amazing.”
Attitude has a lot to do with the outcomes of treatment, says Dr. Keto. “One of the best parts of my job is getting to know each patient individually. Sue displayed strength, courage and grace throughout her treatment. She embraced her treatment recommendations and moved forward with positivity and strength that was amazing.”
Sue Marsh celebrated her birthday during chemo and now describes every day as her birthday. You can’t get more positive than that!