It all began with a sore throat.
After experiencing discomfort and swollen tonsils, Doug Bradley, RN, saw an ear, nose and throat specialist, who scheduled a tonsillectomy. After surgery, the physician told Bradley that he was unable to remove his left tonsil because it was too large and might be susceptible to bleeding.
Bradley then underwent a biopsy on his left tonsil and received a call from his doctor four days later.
“It was two weeks after my 49th birthday,” remembers Bradley. “I got a phone call and my doctor told me I had cancer.”
Bradley was shocked by his diagnosis.
“You never imagine yourself with the word ‘cancer’ attached to your name,” he says. “It was a very big surprise. All through my medical career, I had always wondered in the back of my mind what I would do if I was facing cancer or a serious illness.”
The right resources
After receiving his diagnosis, Bradley met with Elaine Harbin, the cancer navigator at Piedmont Fayette Hospital Cancer Center and a cancer survivor herself. He says she immediately put him at ease.
“It helps everybody, I think, who’s faced with a diagnosis of cancer to know there are people who survived the diagnosis,” he says. “I had never heard of cancer navigation before. I didn’t even know that the Cancer Wellness Center was available to me.”
Cancer Wellness offers professionally-led programs free-of-charge to the community, including relaxation and stress reduction, nutrition, exercise, arts and meditation.
“Elaine was instrumental in helping me navigate through the whole process,” says Bradley. “Just her knowledge of the physicians that were available here through Piedmont Fayette was a big plus because it’s closer to where I live.”
At the time, he was considering another facility that would have involved a longer commute.
“She was able to arrange referrals so that I could talk with the physicians and get second opinions,” he explains. “Without Elaine, I don’t know where I would have ended up. I feel like the treatment that I got here was the best treatment that I possibly could have gotten. With her help, I was able to find treatment closer to my house with a group of physicians I had complete confidence in.”
For more information on Cancer Navigation Services at Piedmont, contact:
Piedmont Atlanta Hospital patient navigator Arrington Leitch, 404-425-7920.
Piedmont Fayette Hospital patient navigator Elaine Harbin, 770-719-6098.
Piedmont Henry Hospital patient navigator Karen Bouwman, 678-604-5984.
Piedmont Newnan Hospital patient navigator Stephanie Martin, 678-378-0316.