"Cancer will have to work around me. I won't let it run my life."
Looking back, Kimberly Roberts-Morandi wonders if she spent her whole life knowing she would one day face a diagnosis of cancer. Her mom is a breast cancer survivor. Still, news that she too had joined the ranks of millions of women with breast cancer was a terrible shock. Kim spent her 41st birthday selecting an oncologist and a cancer surgeon - the first of many complicated steps she would soon take through the healthcare system. Despite moments of fear and great concern, the busy consultant also displayed quiet courage and resolve. "I took the attitude that I can't change this. Cancer will have to work around me. I won't let it run my life."
Moving forward in the days and weeks ahead was greatly facilitated by Kathy Hart, RN, Breast Health Educator and Specialist at Berkshire Medical Center's Women's Imaging Center, and Kim Murdock, who both served as guides through a formalized Patient Navigation program that begins when a patient is diagnosed with breast cancer and continues through all phases of follow-up and care.
"They helped us understand what was happening and what was coming next," Kim said. "They were a huge help to me and my husband. On the day of surgery, they were there for my entire family."
In addition, Kim experienced moments when caregivers at BMC literally changed their schedules to accommodate her needs. Surgical oncologist Michael DiSiena, MD, operated on Kim on a day he typically is not in surgery because it was a work holiday for the patient. "It was so important for me that cancer would not control everything, and they understood that," she said. "I was very positive, because I expected a positive outcome."
"I didn't just breeze through this whole experience, but I never felt like I was alone. I had a wonderful support system, yet I often thought about people who didn't have a family like mine. I can't imagine how overwhelming it must be, but I know the Women's Imaging Center is there for them, and that gives peace of mind."