“I knew something was wrong because my body was different, especially my bowel system. For a long time, I didn’t do anything about it because it was almost an embarrassment.” This is an all too familiar statement because it is hard to believe that it can happen to us. Colorectal cancer can happen to anyone and it did to 41-year-old Yvette Brown.
After a year of silent suffering, she told her husband of her symptoms, and he encouraged her to see a physician.
Two days after her colonoscopy, performed by Holy Cross Medical Group gastroenterologist Patrick Amar, MD, Yvette was diagnosed with Colorectal Cancer. “Everything happened quickly…a whirlwind of physicians, nurses and staff members in a well-choreographed dance, all working to ensure a safe and positive outcome for me. I cannot say enough about the kindness and warmth that Dr. Amar showed me. His entire office staff is like family to me. I worked extra hard at getting better just knowing they were all rooting for me. Sherry [Saunders, Dr. Amar’s Office Manager] is my champion…She went to mass each morning and said a prayer for me. I am deeply touched that another human being, who didn’t know me until the day she had to schedule a series of appointments for me, could exhibit such compassion towards me.”
Sherry helped coordinate Yvette’s care with the Michael and Dianne Bienes Comprehensive Cancer Center team of physicians: Manjesh Lingamurthy, MD, Hematologist/Oncologist; Irina Grosman, MD, Radiation Oncologist; Abhijit Basu, MD, Colorectal Surgeon; and Moises Lichtinger, MD, Gynecologist Oncologist.
Due to her young age and how aggressive the tumor was, Yvette’s physicians agreed on a careful but aggressive treatment plan: chemotherapy (24/7 through a port in her chest), radiation therapy (five days a week) for six weeks and surgery to remove the tumor. Her final surgery was performed six months after her diagnosis. The journey was rough, but Yvette found motivation from her two children, “both of whom I felt were not yet ready to live in this world without me.”
Yvette with Dr. Lingamurthy
Through the support of her family, the physicians, nurses, and other healthcare staff at Holy Cross, Yvette has maintained a clean bill of health since her final surgery.
“I feel compelled to commend Holy Cross Hospital and the Holy Cross Medical Group for the pleasant spaces and nice ambiance. When a person is sick and has to undergo treatment, it helps to be in a nice environment with a warm and friendly staff. Every room I entered at the hospital was furnished with a cross. This helped tremendously. I only had to think of the great sacrifice that Jesus made for us and how, therefore, could I be discouraged?”
Yvette offers advice to Colorectal Cancer patients, “Take heart and be strong. Have faith that God will get you through this. Practice positive thinking; don’t waste energy feeling sorry for yourself. Have regular conversations with God. He won’t let you down.”