A cancer diagnosis is traumatizing and life changing. Imagine being diagnosed multiple times.
Katrina Grady of Wildwood is a cancer survivor three times over. She recalls the first ordeal which began in late 2007 with unbearable pain in her stomach. After a series of tests, Grady recalls her doctor explaining that her uterus was 88 percent covered in cancer. Grady agreed to have a total hysterectomy.
Four and a half years later, the awful pain returned, and Grady went back to her doctor.
“This time it was in my abdomen, in the muscle wall. It was a tumor,” said Grady. She had surgery to remove the tumor, followed by chemotherapy.
In December 2017, the cancer came back. Instead of despair, Grady turned to praise.
“And I'm like, Lord, I know you're going to do it again, God. Because cancer fears a lot of people, but the God I serve tells me every name got to bow the name of Jesus, and he already told us that he's not going to put no more on us than we can bear,” said Grady.
This time, Grady chose AdventHealth Waterman for treatment because they successfully treated her mother who had battled Stage 4 colon cancer.
Throughout the most recent cancer journey, Grady had specially trained helping hands to guide her through the process.
“The experience of being diagnosed with cancer and then going through the treatment and care delivery can be very confusing to patients,” said Eileen Bascombe, RN, ONN-CG, an AdventHealth Waterman Cancer Care Navigator. “I can help with the process of patients going to see their physicians with the different care providers that are going to be providing their care.”
Bascombe says navigators work closely with AdventHealth Waterman oncology social worker Latanya Ruiz, MSW to make the difficult cancer journey as easy and smooth as possible.
Grady said, “Latanya, showed me the program that helped with paying my bills, she got me all the information and got the ball rolling. Everything just fell in place,”
For Grady, one of the most memorable experiences from the AdventHealth Waterman cancer team had nothing to do with medical treatment or help with resources. It was simply an uplifting gesture from her cancer care navigator.
“When I walked in, I had a goddess-like necklace on and a headband with little flowers and Eileen said, ‘I'm not going to call you Katrina or Ms. Grady,’" smiled Grady. “She said, ‘I'm going to call you Goddess. Is that okay with you?’ She's such a sweetheart.”
“Being a part of someone's life when they're going through something as overwhelming as cancer, I feel like I'm gifted with that experience,” said Bascombe. “If I can help just one person to prevent them from experiencing fear, anxiety, added stress, I feel like, you know, I'm happy.”
In January 2019, Grady learned that she’s cancer free and is focusing on her family and spreading an important message.
“I encourage everyone to go to the doctor because our bodies tell us when something is going wrong. It's up to us to listen to our bodies. If I never would have had the mindset to see that something wasn't right, all three times, I probably wouldn't be here,” said Grady.
To learn more about our Care Navigation for cancer patients, visit our website.