But many more lives are affected. Loved ones also share in this difficult, life-changing experience. And the caring support they offer during this journey can make all the difference.
Just ask Eileen Mosher, RN, MHA, who has worked at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health for more than 16 years. Her experience in operating rooms permitted her to witness Virginia Mason Franciscan Health’s skilled surgeons at work. When her routine mammogram detected a tumor, there was no hesitation — if she had to fight breast cancer, she wanted Virginia Mason Franciscan Health on her team. For Eileen and her family — husband, Robert Freeby and their two children, the journey began at Franciscan Cancer Center.
Eileen and Robert’s family were surrounded by support at home and at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health. Friends took turns helping with carpools to get the children to sports practices, and they made a schedule to determine who was bringing dinner to the family each evening. “They were enormously helpful,” said Eileen.
At Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, Robert was impressed by the level of compassion shown by Eileen’s treatment team. During chemotherapy people from different departments would stop by to make sure everything was fine and to ask if they could be of assistance. “Nutritionists would stop by, pharmacologists would stop by, other folks who were connected to the treatment would stop by to make sure everything was fine,” said Robert. “It was just an unbelievably caring and effusive network that opened up.”
“It’s not mandatory, but it is extremely helpful to have a family member or friend available at appointments,” said Lynne P. Clark, MD, FACS, a surgeon on Eileen’s treatment team. “It should be someone with whom the patient is comfortable — so much information is shared and sometimes the patient does not hear everything. So it is a way of checking information and also a sounding board when decisions need to be made.”
Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a strong support system. Franciscan has services in place to offer assistance in every scenario. “Franciscan support services do their best to help find the resources to assist patients through their treatments,” said Dr. Clark. “From nurse navigators to social workers to many other people that work behind the scenes to assist cancer patients.”
Nurse navigator Susan Nixon, RN, was there to guide Eileen and Robert as they prepared for surgery and recovery. “I had the mastectomy, a port placed and reconstruction – Susan came to see us every time,” said Eileen. Susan made sure they knew what to expect at every stage of treatment.
“Everybody that we met with and spoke with, I never got the impression from anybody that they were only talking to Eileen about her diagnosis and prognosis,” said Robert. “They were talking to both of us from a very humanistic and holistic perspective.”
After a cancer diagnosis, there is a lot of information to take in and decisions to be made. That’s why the experts at Franciscan Cancer Center are here to provide you with clear information and to address any concerns. Our area’s expert team of doctors, nurses and staff who specialize in cancer diagnosis and treatment, coordinate care to make sure everyone is on the same page. This means that starting from the moment we first see you and all the way through your treatment program, you can expect high-quality, compassionate care.