Skip Navigation
 
 
 
 
 
Print This Page
Share this page: More
 

Breast Cancer Patient Stories

Below are comments from patients treated at our Breast Center. Some comments came to us in the form of letters; others were provided during our patient satisfaction/quality of care surveys.

  • I am a patient at Hopkins. I had a prophylactic mastectomy with expander's in May followed by DIEP flap in September. I see a lot of issues that people post on this sight and others but I wanted to let people know just how well this procedure can go. More
  • Dear Lillie, This letter is long over due.  My name is T. Coleman.  A friend of mine called you in early September after I was diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer and found out I was pregnant shortly after. More
     
  • Dear Dr. Eisner…During the course of my stay with Johns Hopkins, I have had the opportunity to meet many doctors along the way. However, you are the one that always comes to the forefront of my mind. More
     
  • Dear Lillie…. Besides being grateful for the excelling care I received at JHU, I was fortunate the cancer was detected early through a routine mammogram. More
     
  • Marie M. has endorsed your work as Director of Breast Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital.  More
  • Thank you so much for all you do!! I have spent countless hours on your “ask an expert” site since my recent diagnosis. Some of the problems seemed quite complex…. More
     
  • "I am committed to getting the message out to women in Bermuda that they should consider going to Johns Hopkins for breast biopsies if it is financially viable." More
     
  • "A year ago today, I received the most shocking news of my life; that I had breast cancer. A year later, I can look back and honestly say the experience wasn't that bad, and I have all of you to thank for making it a whole lot easier." More
     
  • “Invasive ductal carcinoma, stage 2. Sounded like a second-generation foreign car…” More
     
  • “It’s probably no surprise that being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 35 was truly the worst thing that has ever happened to me. But my experience at the Johns Hopkins Breast Center truly was the best medical experience I’ve ever had…” More

  • “I am writing to thank you again for being so strong and steady in all of the care I have received this past year following my breast cancer surgery…” More 

  • “For several years I have traveled 100 miles (each way) to get my mammograms at the Johns Hopkins Breast Center. Some of my friends want to know why I would take a day out of my life and travel 200 miles when I could have it done closer to my home...” More 

  • “I am so grateful that the Johns Hopkins Breast Center exists…” More 

  • “I want to share all my positive experiences at the Johns Hopkins Breast Center…” More 

  • “Thinking back on my mastectomy, the overall feeling I have is one of warmth and concern of the total staff before, during and after surgery. It left me with the feeling of being among ‘family’...” More 

  • “I am very happy that I chose to have my breast cancer treatment at Johns Hopkins. I don’t think I could have been in better hands…” More 

  • “Trying to make the decision about breast conserving surgery verses mastectomy was a challenge for me. Having the opportunity to talk with four breast cancer survivor volunteers was of great help…” More 

  • “Continue what you are doing. If a woman can have a positive experience dealing with breast cancer, I did...” More

  • “I wanted to let you know how blessed I have been to find the Breast Center at Johns Hopkins…” More 

  • “I'm sure you've heard this before, but my husband and I were so reassured after going to the Breast Center! It was a heartwarming experience for both of us. We felt someone really cared for how we were feeling and someone knew what we are going through. I hope that when this is over I can also give back.”

  • “Hopkins does a wonderful job! We went to Hopkins because we weren't getting enough information from another hospital where I had been seen. I like participating in the decision making about my care and treatment. Excellent program!"

  • "If I had to do it over, I'd make the same choices again and choose Hopkins. I had about as pleasant an experience as one could have having been diagnosed with breast cancer.”

  • “I consider myself very lucky to have found the Johns Hopkins Breast Center and am grateful that I have received the best and most current surgeries and therapies available. Thank you to all.”

  • "Great program, well run. Instructions post-surgery anticipated all of my questions. A great experience under the circumstances."

  • "I was very impressed with my care at Hopkins. I had been to other facilities first and am glad I chose the best."

  • "Having the opportunity to talk with a breast cancer survivor right away after my confirmed biopsy was wonderful. The educational information I was provided really helped me to understand my situation and helped me to gain control of my life back. Thanks for doing a wonderful job."

  • “I recently underwent mastectomy with DIEP flap reconstruction at Johns Hopkins and the experience was far better than I ever would have imagined. My reconstructed breast looks great and the symmetry was better than I expected. What a fantastic team of doctors and nurses there.”

  • “I never expected to hear the words "you have breast cancer" but having been told this news I must say that Hopkins made the treatment the least traumatic emotionally and physically they could for me. Thanks everyone.”

  • “My surgery at the Johns Hopkins Breast Center was a very positive experience. I came into the center vulnerable and scared. The staff went out of their way to reassure me. Thank you and your staff for all your help during this scary time in my life.”

I am a patient at Hopkins. I had a prophylactic mastectomy with expander's followed by DIEP flap ia few months later. I see a lot of issues that people post on this  and  I wanted to let people know just how well this procedure can go. 

 I can't say enough good things about both Dr. Lange & Dr. Camp who performed my mastectomy. My time spent with them was very short. But both are very warm and supportive. Laura Gavin is always there to answer question and to reassure in every way. Her support, kindness, and smile is present at each visit. Now Dr. Rosson my plastic and reconstructive Dr. Is simply, for lack of a better word AMAZING in every way. Caring, compassionate, and amazingly talented cutting edge surgeon beyond words. For me these procedures was went extremely smoothly and although I still have some revisions left to do I am in the home stretch. I live over two hours from Hopkins (yes the drive gets old for weekly fills) but I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Oh yes let me add Hopkins was the 4th and last facility I visited. They are an amazing, amazing, amazing group of folks who truly care about each patient they serve. From the moment I checked in at the Avon Breast Center to the final handshake at my first appointment; I knew this was where I needed to be! I would recommend Hopkins and DIEP flap to anyone considering this form of reconstruction. I consider myself incredibly blessed. Thank you. 

Dear Lillie... This letter is long over due.  My name is T. Coleman.  A friend of mine called you in early September after I was diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer and found out I was pregnant shortly after. 

I was having a tough time getting the speedy information I needed here in San Diego.  Within an hour of my friend contacting Hopkins and getting in touch with your office, my phone rang.  On the other end was a compassionate woman who not only listened but moved to get me an appointment with someone who could help. That person was you.  I can’t begin to describe the load that was lifted off my back just to know something, somewhere was being done to help us make the crucial decisions we needed quickly.  Later that week we flew to Hopkins for an appointment with Dr. Lisa Jacobs. While there, I also met with you and had a breast MRI done.  After much debate we decided that the emotional and logistical issues of being treated at Hopkins, so far away from home, were too much and that I would continue my treatment at UCSD in San Diego.  The knowledge that back in Maryland, you were just a phone call away if things got complicated was so very reassuring.  I thank you for that from the bottom of my heart.

In less than a month, I learned that a friend of a friend has had a palpable, solid breast lump for 6 months and that no one knew what it was.  She was being blown off by her support system and the medical system and didn’t know where to turn.  I knew immediately what she needed to do.  She called you and you responded immediately.  She was so grateful that someone, somewhere was taking her seriously and helping her.  I knew exactly how she felt.

Lillie, I don’t know if this part of your job is supported by Johns Hopkins or you do it just because that’s who you are, but the service and care you provide is amazing.  As a healthcare provider myself who has worked in many hospital facilities both in the US and abroad, and as a breast cancer patient/survivor, I couldn’t be more impressed.  You have the best job in the world as far as I am concerned.  The number of lives you touch everyday are more than you know.  The impact you make lingers in the minds of the women you think have long forgotten what you have done for them.  You are a little angel for women with breast cancer everywhere and as part of that community I thank you from all of us.

Dear Dr. Eisner…During the course of my stay with Johns Hopkins, I have had the opportunity to meet many doctors along the way. However, you are the one that always comes to the forefront of my mind.

There is an unmistakable empathetic professionalism in your approach which resonated with me from the beginning. You take the time to listen and connect with your patients in a way that sets you apart from others. You have made me feel like more than just a number within such a large framework of people. That can be a difficult thing to do but you manage to do it effortlessly. I firmly believe you are a true man with integrity in the way you follow your patient’s prognosis from beginning to end. You go above and beyond the call of duty and do what’s right. It just can’t get better than that Dr Eisner.

If there is one thing this diagnosis has taught me, it s to take the time to be outwardly gracious to the people who have helped me through this trying time. I am forever grateful for your delicate balance of compassion and expertise. You are a gift to your parties and I feel so lucky to have you as part of my medical team.

Thank you for all that you do. You are much appreciated.
 

Dear Lillie…. Besides being grateful for the excelling care I received at JHU, I was fortunate the cancer was detected early through a routine mammogram.

I could receive medical care close to home and I had great support from family and friends. Also, I could skip chemo such a relief!

One of the moments which specially stand out for me was the time when you met with my husband and me, just a few days after I had received biopsy results. Everything seemed quite scary and unsure then. You were so wonderful, warm, caring, instilling confidence – also a survivor (!), it was enormously helpful to have met you. The books you gave us, which you wrote, as well as articles on Breastcancer.org; provided valuable information, such excellent resources.

Thank you all for all you did for me, and for what you daily do for others!
 

Marie M.  has endorsed your work as Director of Breast Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Dear Lillie,
I've written this recommendation of your work to share with other LinkedIn users.

Details of the Recommendation: "Lillie Shockney is a living legend in the world of breast services. I have collaborated with her over the past ten years; and can attest to her commitment, contributions and compassion in raising the bar of clinical excellence in breast services. Her significant gifts and talents are evident in the gold benchmark program she has nurtured and developed at Johns Hopkins, scientific literature, numerous professional societies and organizations, and her collaborative and generous spirit that is present in many comprehensive breast centers across the nation due to her willingness to share with colleagues. Lillie's commitment to clinical excellence in breast services comes from a genuine and deeper place. She has used her personal journey, humor, unconditional love, wisdom and clinical expertise to empower women and saves lives."

 
Thank you so much for all you do!! I have spent  countless hours on your "ask an expert" site since my recent diagnosis.  Some of the problems seemed quite complex.

Dear Lillie and Volunteers,

Thank you so much for all you do!! I have spent countless hours on your “as an expert” site since my recent diagnosis. Some of the problems seemed quite complex

And I would think, why aren’t they asking their doctor? But soon, I had my own questions to ask, and realized that sometimes your doctor doesn’t really answer the question, or maybe you don’t feel confident in their answer, or possibly it will be awhile before you can talk to him or her again. Reading many of the questions helped educate me as well to what I should be asking. What you do is special. It makes those of us going through this experience feel more empowered, and a lot less alone. Thank you more than you can ever know. –Anonymous

Thanks!

"I am committed to getting the message out to women in Bermuda that they should consider going to Johns Hopkins for breast biopsies if it is financially viable."

Dear Mrs. Shockney,

I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the work that is done by the wonderful staff at the Johns Hopkins Breast Cancer Center.  Here is my story:

In May 2009, I had a stereotactic biopsy performed in Bermuda.  Overall, the experience was negative and unpleasant but the results were no cancer so I resumed life as normal and put the experience behind me.

After my mammogram in March 2010, the report stated that the biopsy marker was located at some distance from the clustered calcifications and this drew into question the “success” of the 2009 biopsy and it was not clear whether they had biopsied the wrong area or whether the marker had drifted.
 
I immediately arranged to come to Johns Hopkins where Dr. May performed a stereotactic biopsy and, based on the results, an excisional biopsy was recommended.  Dr. Tsangaris performed the excisional biopsy in late June.  I am happy to report that no cancer was found and the result was atypical hyperplasia, LCIS multi-focal and it was explained to me that my risk factors are elevated.

The emotional distress in finding out one year later that your original biopsy was “unsuccessful”…well, let’s just say that it is immeasurable.  I am currently in discussions with the Executive Director of Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre to determine what went wrong and why.  And I am committed to getting the message out to women in Bermuda that they should consider going to Johns Hopkins for breast biopsies if it is financially viable.  Many Bermuda employers offer excellent insurance cover and people should be taking advantage of the option to elect supreme medical care over marginal or mediocre.

I have been fortunate enough to go 46 years without anything other than basic routine medical check-ups so the excisional biopsy experience and possible results was scary.

I would like to mention some names of people who made the whole experience very positive.  I don’t know how I can call two biopsies a positive experience, but it was!  It was the caring, patient, kind, professional staff that made all the difference:

– Mr. Jeff Phelps - International Client Manager – this is an invaluable service offered to international patients and Jeff did everything possible to assist in the whole Johns Hopkins experience.  I would ask for Jeff again if I had to return.

– Dr. Evelyn Andrea May - performed original assessment and stereotactic biopsy as well as inserted wire for excisional biopsy – Dr. May is very personable and patient and took great care to explain every procedure and diagnosis in detail and answered all questions.

– Dr. Theodore Tsangaris – during the pre-op appointment, he was warm and caring and answered all possible questions before I even had a chance to ask – in a very short period of time, I was confident that I was in good hands.

– Amy – breast cancer survivor and volunteer who wheeled me around on excisional biopsy day and made me feel that, no matter what, I would be okay.

– Amy – performed the mammograms required for wire insertion.  Overall, with Dr. May, Amy & Amy in the mammogram room, I felt fairly relaxed and very well cared for.

– Connie Ziegfeld – Clinical Nurse Specialist – Connie has been very supportive and responsive during pre-op and post-op.

Yesterday I read your article “Stereotactic Biopsy: Did The Radiologist Get It Right?”.  I wish I had read that article before having the biopsy in Bermuda.  I will now use it as a guideline to confirm whether Bermuda followed acceptable protocol as I try to get to the bottom of my unsuccessful Bermuda biopsy.

THANK YOU for your writing, your vision, your passion…it has clearly translated into a program that works very effectively in the best interests for women like me, and even more importantly, for women who do not receive good news.

I wrote about my Bermuda experience a year ago and I plan to write about my Johns Hopkins experience and hope that I can help someone with my words.  I see my experience as an opportunity to help someone who may go through the same thing and that will make it all worthwhile.

– Karen White

Back to top

"A year ago today, I received the most shocking news of my life; that I had breast cancer. A year later, I can look back and honestly say the experience wasn't that bad, and I have all of you to thank for making it a whole lot easier."

While the journey seemed like it would be a long and painful one when this all started, today I sit here thinking, where did the last 365 days go? It has certainly been an eventful year and an emotional year, but a memorable one!: surgeries, chemo (I've got my curls back :) ), the Team Bean BC walk/fundraiser (go Team Bean!!!), a wedding....

Today, I wanted to take a minute to say THANK YOU to all of you, for your amazing support and for making me feel like the #1 patient all of the time. Thank you for answering all of my questions and e-mails (and we know there were many), for your great advice, for the amazing surgical work and for reassuring me that everything was going to be ok and that life goes on regardless.

I am excited that I can now say the journey is finally coming to an end (just a few more weeks to go) and I couldn't have gotten this far smiling, without you all there to take care of me.

While a cancer diagnosis can bring about a lot of negative thoughts about the future, the 'bump in the road' FOR ME, turned out to a be positive one. The diagnosis immediately changed the way I looked at life; the small stuff doesn't matter anymore, each day is a special day and the bond I share with my family, my husband and my friends is even stronger. I met some great people along the way (nurses, doctors, "survivors"), some who have since become very special friends and one person in particular who holds a very special place in my heart (who unfortunately is not here to read this). I also reconnected with an old friend who was in the same boat at the same time (how crazy is that?). Through all of this, I learned that life is really about relationships; it's not always about working harder, about buying more stuff, about having more money; it is really about the people with whom you share your life. Love them and spend time with them, cherish your most important relationships and don't take anyone for granted. Most importantly, take time for yourself.

– Gina

Back to top

“Invasive ductal carcinoma, stage 2. Sounded like a second-generation foreign car…”

Cancer, a six letter word for someone else, not me. When I discovered a lump in my breast and was reassured by my friends that I had nothing to worry about, the furthest thing from my mind was cancer. After all, I had no family history, my parents, healthy in their seventies have not had problems, my grandparents lived to nearly a hundred, without ever speaking the word, so surely my friends must be right – I have nothing to worry about. My husband was not so sure, but he is a hypochondriac. Don't smoke, don't drink, take vitamins, watch my weight, exercise routinely, have three healthy children and a wonderful family, am happy at home-I have nothing to worry about.

Well, I was wrong. Invasive ductal carcinoma, stage 2. Sounded like a second-generation foreign car. But it wasn't, it was a tumor, in my right breast – not a welcome visitor. Cancer, that six-letter word, had invaded my world and I was sure that after forty-six years, I would not make it to see forty-seven. The emotions were perfect textbook examples, from denial to depression to reluctant acceptance. Now what? Well, I was a regular patient at an HMO. Their doctors seemed to be competent, but what did I know? The hypochondriac didn't like them, but he doesn't like doctors anyhow. After three visits and being treated like a live cadaver (not a human being with a full range of emotions) I began to agree with my lovely husband. Together we concluded that it was time to go somewhere else. We had heard of Johns Hopkins' reputation and decided to find out what it was all about. However, we expected their doctors would be even less human than those at the HMO.

Dr. Julie Lange, a surgical oncologist, was our first stop. Wow, very impressive. She took the time to clearly explain what was going on in terms that we could both understand. The professional, sincere and positive Dr. Lange told us about the Hopkins team approach for treatment, and recommended Drs. Antonio Wolff and Deborah Frassica for chemotherapy and radiation therapy, respectively. My husband, by this time a self-proclaimed breast cancer expert, had a list of questions for them all. Next stop Dr. Wolff.

Is he a real doctor or a high school volunteer working at Hopkins? My husband quietly asked as we walked into his office. Young, cheerful and competent attributes were obvious after the first two minutes of consultation. But wait, there was more. The household breast cancer expert was about to engage in a series of questions – and he had the recent Medical Journal studies to backup his interrogation of the young Dr. Wolff. He has used this sort of interrogation tactic several times during our twenty years of marriage, and I was not looking forward to the inevitable embarrassment. To my surprise, however, what followed was anything but embarrassment. Dr. Wolff, as my retired military pilot husband would say, engaged. Dr. Wolff seemed to enjoy (or least handle very well) the questions and concerns. He was not only familiar with the Medical Journal articles my husband referred to, but also was able to nearly quote the conclusions drawn from the studies and suggested other similar studies that either supported or refuted the conclusions. In addition, his responses were always upbeat – the glass was more than half full-and easily understood. As my husband said after leaving his office, “the young looking Dr. Wolff is not a young doctor – I would follow him into war. Unfortunately, that is where we are – a war against this uninvited cancer.”

The six months of chemotherapy that followed were not exactly enjoyable. Dr. Wolff and Carol DeClue (Nurse Practitioner working with Dr. Wolff) both knew this. When something went south, we called and they answered promptly. I am sure that they had heard the same doubting questions before, but they always listened patiently, remained realistic and positive, and provided me and my family with the essential support we needed to make it over the chemotherapy hurdle.

Our final stop will be radiation therapy. Dr. Frassica has the same caring and talented professional qualities as Drs. Lange and Wolff. She clearly recognized that the two-hour commute from our home to Hopkins every day for six weeks would be difficult at best, and she supported our decision and helped us make arrangements for treatment closer to home.

Could I have received better medical care somewhere else? I don't know, I'm not a breast cancer expert. But the self-proclaimed household expert doesn't think so. His position is, performance counts—not an array of diplomas hanging on the wall or “I'm a doctor” attitude (and you are not). Performance. It is just that simple. And the Hopkins team (Drs. Lange, Wolff, Frassica, their support staffs) performed beyond my highest expectations. So, as my husband would forcefully say, “you received the best possible care for your breast cancer at Johns Hopkins.”

Don't ever tell him this, but he is right!

– Lecia Dorfler

Back to top

"It's probably no surprise that being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 35 was truly the worst thing that has ever happened to me. But my experience at the Johns Hopkins Breast Center truly was the best medical experience I've ever had…”

I think many women fear that if they go to a world-class teaching hospital like Hopkins, that they will become a 'number' and lose the personal attention that you need with a cancer diagnosis. I found the opposite to be true. Everyone I came in contact with treated me as an individual, and knew every detail about me and my illness, and did everything they could to make my treatment as comfortable and successful as possible. For me it was the best of both worlds – personal attention and the peace of mind of having been treated at the best hospital in the country.

– Cindy Geoghegan, former president, Maryland Chapter of Susan G. Komen for the Cure Breast Cancer Foundation

Back to top

“I am writing to thank you again for being so strong and steady in all of the care I have received this past year following my breast cancer surgery…”

I talked to you for several hours regarding my breast cancer and surgical options. I feel it is a real victory to be able to write to you today and let you know that things are going very well. Your even handed, well balanced and thoughtful discussion that day last August has stayed with me throughout my recovery. I am so very grateful to you for that.

I received a phone call two weeks ago from my cousin (paternal) who had breast cancer at the age of 29. She is now 50 and has been diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer. She is seeing Dr. Bristow, and also consulted with Dr. Visvanathan (she tested positive for BRCA 2 in the fall). Coincidentally she told me she consulted with Dr. Jacobs for a mastectomy of her other breast about a month ago. She was also impressed with Dr. Jacobs! Unfortunately, within the last month or so, two more of my cousins and her daughter tested positive for the BRCA 2 gene.

I’ve met many other women since with breast cancer, and they simply haven’t had the kind of care I’ve received. I realized that it was up to me to make decisions and do what I could. Having an overall perspective from you, helped move me along when I was ready. Here are the things you helped me with that moved me close to “normalizing” my life (it is an ongoing issue):

  • In the first meeting, you presented all the options and answered all my questions. You took great care not to overwhelm me.

  • You respected my choice of double mastectomy.

  • You told me the truth, in that during surgery, I might have positive nodes and also depending on the nature/grade of the tumor, I might have to have radiation or chemo.

  • You encouraged me to tell my friends and family and let them know I had a positive outlook. You also prepared me for the fact that I would have many different kinds of reactions from them, and that to maintain my decisions and understand that some people would have varying degrees of reactions and/or support.

  • I was originally referred to you by Dr. John Carey, my otolaryngologist at JHH. Unfortunately, I received the news that I had breast cancer from the nurse in my doctor’s office, with little more than a report of the lab results and recommendations to see some surgeons....since it was after hours, I didn’t know what to do and e-mailed Dr. Carey. He e-mailed back at 10:00 that night and recommended that I see Dr. Jacobs and Dr. Tsangaris, with all of the contact information! Once again, a JHH physician takes an extra step! Instead of being left out in the cold and anxious all night, I had a plan of what to do.

  • Struggling to make sense of what my lab report meant, I accessed the JHH website and found Lillie Shockney’s Ask the Expert columns. I read fervently to try to “crack the cancer code” and make as much sense as I could with limited information.

  • When you gave me literature at my visit, it was helpful (from NCI and Lillie’s book).

  • You referred me to Dr. Rosson and I had a lengthy discussion with his assistant Courtney. The information they provided was invaluable, honest and straightforward. They provided REAL photographs of reconstructions and implant options. They were very understanding and respectful…

I will be forever grateful for every moment you spent with me, whether it was for surgery, recovery, recommendations, and/or referrals. It has made all the difference in my recovery. Although I faced cancer head on, I know that I am not alone, and truly have a team backing me up. Life can be, and is better. Regardless of the challenges that my family and I will continue to face, because of your care, I am inspired and have renewed strength and confidence.

– MaryAnn S. Wyatt

Back to top

"For several years I have traveled 100 miles (each way) to get my mammograms at the Johns Hopkins Breast Center. Some of my friends want to know why I would take a day out of my life and travel 200 miles when I could have it done closer to my home...”

At the JHH the films are read immediately so that when I leave, the doctor has already told me what he/she found on the mammogram. Not waiting for a report by phone several days later is worth a great deal more than the time it takes to drive farther. Knowing that day whether or not I have cancer gives me complete peace of mind. I would recommend to anyone that she have her mammograms performed at The Johns Hopkins Breast Center.

 – Charmayne S. Dierker

Back to top

"I am so grateful that the Johns Hopkins Breast Center exists…”

Every step of my experience, from the mammogram being done through surgery and chemotherapy, to becoming a breast cancer survivor volunteer has been facilitated by wonderful health care providers. I don't want anyone to think that this is easy. This experience is very difficult, but being in the hands of the skilled and caring medical professionals of the Johns Hopkins Hospital is reassuring, comforting, and soothing. The Johns Hopkins team is responsible for a well-traveled path to Breast Cancer Survival.

– Celeste Carr

Back to top

“I want to share all my positive experiences at the Johns Hopkins Breast Center…”

I am a Radiation Therapist and have been treating cancer patients for 19 years. When I found out that I had breast cancer, I decided to go to Johns Hopkins for my surgery, since they have specialists who are breast surgical oncologists. They made an unpleasant time in my life a more pleasant one. I personally thank all of them.

– Jan Havelos

Back to top

"Thinking back on my mastectomy, the overall feeling I have is one of warmth and concern of the total staff before, during and after surgery. It left me with the feeling of being among 'family’..."

Even at my advanced age of 86 years, I did not have to remain in the hospital after surgery and the aftercare received from the Johns Hopkins Home Care nurse who visited my home that evening and the next morning added to my feelings of security. I knew all was well. The visit to the Breast Center before surgery for instructions was helpful in alleviating fear of the unknown – all details were anticipated for me.

Of course, as expected, the surgery was skillfully done; and the procedure was over very quickly with no residual reaction from the anesthesia and minimal pain. The team was warm and concerned both for my welfare and that of my daughter afterward. Although never a pleasant experience, surgery was made as un-stressful as possible. I remain impressed and thankful.

– Mae Flynn

Back to top

“I am very happy that I chose to have my breast cancer treatment at Johns Hopkins. I don't think I could have been in better hands…”

Now that my treatment is completed I wanted to send a big thank you to my medical team at the breast center. Making it through my treatment has by no means been an easy journey; however, having such a professional and caring medical team made all the difference in the world. I want to thank Dr. Tsangaris, Dr. Rosson, Dr. Wolff and Dr. Zellars for taking such good care of me. They are wonderful doctors and hold a very special place in my heart. I also want to thank Lillie for being my lifeline during treatment. She is truly an "angel". Thanks again.

– Elizabeth Montanez

Back to top

“Trying to make the decision about breast conserving surgery verses mastectomy was a challenge for me. Having the opportunity to talk with four breast cancer survivor volunteers was of great help…”

I was connected up with someone who had had a lumpectomy with radiation therapy, someone who had had a mastectomy without reconstruction, someone who had a mastectomy with implant, and someone who had a mastectomy with TRAM flap. All four women called me the same evening, which was the same day I contacted the Breast Center requesting to utilize their survivor volunteer services. Speaking with these women and learning how they each made their surgical decision greatly aided me in being able to confidently select the option best for me. Your program is wonderful. Thanks for being there!

Back to top

“Continue what you are doing. If a woman can have a positive experience dealing with breast cancer, I did...”

The doctors were professional, thorough and sensitive to my needs. The Breast Center staff and nursing staff made me feel special and that was very important during my treatment time. It helped me to be positive about my future health and that helped my family deal with my illness.

Back to top

“I wanted to let you know how blessed I have been to find the Breast Center at Johns Hopkins…”

Dr. Flores has been wonderful to me and my family. I made it clear in the beginning that my grown daughters were an integral part of my treatment, as they would be caring for me during the recovery process. Dr. Flores went out of his way with explanations and post-surgery treatment plans. He was available 24-7 by e-mail and phone and there were times when we were concerned about healing, etc. and we were able to e-mail photos of the problems with very quick responses from the doctor – either advising what we needed to do or bringing us in for a check of the problem – he never seemed put out by our questions, and always made himself available to allay our fears and concerns. He always has a smile for us when we come in and I just want you to know what an amazing doctor he is. After a year and a half I feel we know him very well and he has been a God-send to my family.

We always let you know when things go wrong and I just wanted to send my appreciation to you and your facility for providing such a kind and caring physician. I know you are aware of what a fine doctor he is, but as my ordeal is ending I felt the need to let you know about our experience with Johns Hopkins and Dr. Flores. I live in WV so each trip involves a 5 or 6 hour (one way) drive and I don't regret the decision to drive the distance for the ultimate care I received. Thank you so much.

Back to top

      Dear Mrs. Shockney,

I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the work that is done by the wonderful staff at the Johns Hopkins Breast Cancer Center.  Here is my story:

In May 2009, I had a stereotactic biopsy performed in Bermuda.  Overall, the experience was negative and unpleasant but the results were no cancer so I resumed life as normal and put the experience behind me.

After my mammogram in March 2010, the report stated that the biopsy marker was located at some distance from the clustered calcifications and this drew into question the “success” of the 2009 biopsy and it was not clear whether they had biopsied the wrong area or whether the marker had drifted.

I immediately arranged to come to Johns Hopkins where Dr. May performed a stereotactic biopsy and, based on the results, an excisional biopsy was recommended.  Dr. Tsangaris performed the excisional biopsy in late June.  I am happy to report that no cancer was found and the result was atypical hyperplasia, LCIS multi-focal and it was explained to me that my risk factors are elevated.

The emotional distress in finding out one year later that your original biopsy was “unsuccessful”…well, let’s just say that it is immeasurable.  I am currently in discussions with the Executive Director of Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre to determine what went wrong and why.  And I am committed to getting the message out to women in Bermuda that they should consider going to Johns Hopkins for breast biopsies if it is financially viable.  Many Bermuda employers offer excellent insurance cover and people should be taking advantage of the option to elect supreme medical care over marginal or mediocre.

I have been fortunate enough to go 46 years without anything other than basic routine medical check-ups so the excisional biopsy experience and possible results was scary.

I would like to mention some names of people who made the whole experience very positive.  I don’t know how I can call two biopsies a positive experience, but it was!  It was the caring, patient, kind, professional staff that made all the difference:

–        Mr. Jeff Phelps - International Client Manager – this is an invaluable service offered to international patients and Jeff did everything possible to assist in the whole Johns Hopkins experience.  I would ask for Jeff again if I had to return.

–        Dr. Evelyn Andrea May - performed original assessment and stereotactic biopsy as well as inserted wire for excisional biopsy – Dr. May is very personable and patient and took great care to explain every procedure and diagnosis in detail and answered all questions.

–        Dr. Theodore Tsangaris – during the pre-op appointment, he was warm and caring and answered all possible questions before I even had a chance to ask – in a very short period of time, I was confident that I was in good hands.

–        Amy – breast cancer survivor and volunteer who wheeled me around on excisional biopsy day and made me feel that, no matter what, I would be okay.

–        Amy – performed the mammograms required for wire insertion.  Overall, with Dr. May, Amy & Amy in the mammogram room, I felt fairly relaxed and very well cared for.

–        Connie Ziegfeld – Clinical Nurse Specialist – Connie has been very supportive and responsive during pre-op and post-op.

Yesterday I read your article “Stereotactic Biopsy: Did The Radiologist Get It Right?”.  I wish I had read that article before having the biopsy in Bermuda.  I will now use it as a guideline to confirm whether Bermuda followed acceptable protocol as I try to get to the bottom of my unsuccessful Bermuda biopsy.

THANK YOU for your writing, your vision, your passion…it has clearly translated into a program that works very effectively in the best interests for women like me, and even more importantly, for women who do not receive good news.

I wrote about my Bermuda experience a year ago and I plan to write about my Johns Hopkins experience and hope that I can help someone with my words.  I see my experience as an opportunity to help someone who may go through the same thing and that will make it all worthwhile.

Sincerely,

Karen White

      

 

The Latest Research Translated

ArtemisArtemis: Take advantage of a free subscription to Artemis, our electronic medical journal on breast cancer. Find out more.
 

Make a Gift

follow us on facebook

 
 
 
 
 

© The Johns Hopkins University, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and Johns Hopkins Health System. All rights reserved.

Privacy Policy and Disclaimer