"I really felt that here was the best place I could go."
Julie Barile was 36 years old when she discovered a small lump in her breast during a self-exam. "It was a teeny tiny little thing," she recalled. Her gynecologist, Dr. Herb Kantor, recommended a mammogram, but Julie wasn't particularly worried. "I have no risk factors in my family. I don't smoke, I am really fit, and I watch what I eat," she explains.
The lump grew, and Julie's doctors decided it should be removed and biopsied. On a Friday afternoon, her surgeon, Dr. Michael DiSiena, called to deliver some unwelcome news: she had cancer. "I really didn't expect that," she said. "It was a huge shock."
A busy mother of two, Julie wasn't prepared for this medical challenge. She remembers thinking: "This isn't happening to me. I'm the one who needs to take care of everyone!"
Julie received all of her medical treatment, which ultimately included surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, in the Berkshires. Dr. Harvey Zimbler was her medical oncologist; Dr. Wade Gebara was her radiation oncologist. "I didn't think about New York or Boston," she said. "I really felt that here was the best place I could go."
She admits she was "terrified" of her first visit to the chemotherapy area, but her fears quickly evaporated. "The nurses and staff were so friendly, and made me feel so comfortable," she said. "They convinced me it was going to be okay."
Like many patients in the BMC cancer program, Julie participated in a national clinical trial. "I really felt if someone else could benefit from this, then by all means someone should," she said. "I thought, 'Maybe my daughters won't have to go through this.'"
Julie felt reassured by the seamless coordination among her physicians. "I definitely felt that everyone was in the loop, and everyone knew what was going on," she said.
"I had pages and pages of questions for Dr. Zimbler," she continued. "He answered them all calmly and patiently. He was able to explain everything and calm me down."
Now feeling healthy again and working out at the gym five or six days a week, Julie feels confident she made the right decision to seek treatment at BMC. "I was so well taken care of," she said. "Everything was addressed, and everyone was very attentive. I am so glad I was able to stay here."