Whenever I reflect on my journey with breast cancer, I hardly remember the surgery, the hair falling out, how sick I felt on chemo or how tired I really was from radiation. No, I don't think of those things at all. What I remember most was the warm embrace my family and I received from the great community of Rockford in general, and from SwedishAmerican Hospital in particular.
You see, my family and I had not been in Rockford four months when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. We hardly knew anyone, except for the people I worked with. My children were just beginning to form new friendships at school, and we were just getting to know our neighbors, who had so graciously welcomed us to our new neighborhood. My sister had died from Breast Cancer five years prior, so we understood the challenge before us.
Without a doubt, I know that I have received the best medical care around-from Dr. Bonelli, who read through my historically difficult mammograms to see the malignancy. Dr. Brogren who afforded me the best surgical outcome possible, and my dearest friends stood with me through the biopsies. Dr. Wetzel would not permit me to wallow in the mire; she reminded me that I had a high school graduation to attend in a few years and that she and I BOTH would be there. My oncologist offered me a cutting-edge chemo regimen, which allowed me to return to work sooner than would have been possible otherwise.
My greatest fears of not being able to care for my family were never realized because this great community stepped right in and held us together, supported us, and nurtured me back to health. The story to be told is that of Rockford and SwedishAmerican Hospital, and how they opened their doors and hearts to strangers in our greatest time of need. That is the real story to be told. And what a great story it is!