Kim Friedman started her chemotherapy for breast cancer at the Cayuga Cancer Center after having a bilateral mastectomy at a New York City hospital.
“For my continuing care, I needed to be closer to home, and I wanted a relationship where my doctor knew me as a patient and a person,” Kim says.
At the Cayuga Cancer Center, Julie Campbell, MD, became Kim’s medical oncologist and began managing her chemotherapy after her mastectomy. The transition of reports and medical records between hospitals was seamless.
“Dr. Campbell and the nurse navigators gave me great care and were a wonderful help during a very difficult time,” Kim says.
Chemotherapy sessions were two weeks apart and included days of nausea and intense fatigue that made it impossible for Kim to work, care for her young sons or enjoy time with her husband, Wayne. Kim had enjoyed years of good health, but the long weeks of illness provoked frustration and anger at a disease that had upended her life.
“There were some very dark days, but I was lucky,” Kim says. “I had so much help from my family and friends, and the support from everyone at the Cayuga Cancer Center. I couldn’t have done it without them.
“Dr. Campbell is very upbeat,” she says. “I really needed the warmth and optimism that she and the nurses project. I needed someone to tell me that I was going to get through this.”
In the spring of 2016, after six months of cancer treatment, Kim finished her chemotherapy. As her health improved, she was able to enjoy simple pleasures of driving a car and sharing meals with her family. After a year, her quarterly follow-up appointments at the Cayuga Cancer Center lengthened to every six months. She’ll be on that schedule for at least three years because of the high risk of a recurrence.
“Cancer changes so much about your life,” Kim says. “Many of the changes are awful, but there is also a pride you feel in getting through it. It’s not an ego thing, but it’s knowing you can handle the hard parts of life. One of my friends gave me a card that said ‘Beautiful girl, you can do hard things.’ I’ll always keep it.”