During the summer of 2005, I was involved in a new venture of sorts…..I became a General Contractor for the construction of a new home in Birmingham, Alabama. While on the construction site, I sustained a slight blow to my chest and subsequently noticed that I had an inverted nipple on my left breast. After a needle biopsy from a concerned surgeon at Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, it was confirmed that I had ductal carcinoma with lymph glands also showing involvement. Fortunately, one of our neighbors had met a very caring oncologist, Don Shaffer, who had treated her husband and had made a very positive impression with the quality of care and his accessibility. After further surgery to remove my left breast, I have received ongoing treatments with various injections, chemotherapy and targeted radiation. The flow of knowledge about what was being done to my body, what side effects I could expect, the probability of a particular cancer drug making a difference in my prognosis was invaluable to my peace of mind. I continued to see the same nurses who were very aware of my condition. The infusion area at Northwest Georgia Oncology, where I spent many hours during the early battle against the cancer invasion, was a respite that I enjoyed, primarily because of the nurses, their care and attention to further assure me that changes to my body would be gradual sometime and at other times would be harsh. There were no surprises from the effects of the cancer treatments and I maintained a somewhat active schedule as I continued to drive to Birmingham weekly to finish the construction project and return to Marietta to receive ongoing treatments.
I cannot begin to describe how pleased I am with the care provided by the staff of Northwest Georgia Oncology Centers. My primary oncology doctor, Don Shaffer, made his personal phone number available to me and encouraged me to contact him if there was anything occurring that required further explanation. There was this personal link which certainly gave me the assurance that I was more than just a number on a medical chart. My medical information, progress and prognosis was made known to my daughter, my wife and my son. They likewise believed the care I was receiving was outstanding. So now, it’s 2017 and after many months of care and concern, the cancer cells are not detectable by means of a PET scan. Doctor Shaffer advised that I am in remission and am still on a regimen of Xeloda, which seems to be effective against my battle with this invasion.