“I was in my late 40s when I received my colon cancer diagnosis,” says Maryalice Grzesik of South Hadley. “I was very surprised.”
“The first couple of days were tough. I was sad. I couldn’t talk about the cancer without crying.”
FACING TWO CANCER DIAGNOSES
Grzesik made it through this first diagnosis of colon cancer with a personalized treatment plan from Dr. Armen Asik, of the Baystate Regional Cancer Program. “He was fabulous,” she says.
“The treatment and great care I got so close to home are what made me well again.”
Grzesik faced cancer for a second time after a routine mammogram at the Baystate Breast & Wellness Center. A biopsy confirmed she had breast cancer. Thankfully, it was caught early.
A TEAM APPROACH TO BREAST CANCER CARE
“I knew right away I wanted to receive my care close to home again with the experts at the Baystate Regional Cancer Program,” she says. “I met breast surgeon Dr. Holly Mason and was immediately impressed with her compassionate demeanor. She explained things in a way that helped me understand every detail.”
Grzesik continues, “Everyone involved in my care—from the valet staff, to the receptionist, to the surgeons—were amazing! They patiently explained the different treatment options available to me, from a lumpectomy to a mastectomy, including the chemotherapy and radiation therapies available.”
“Every step of my journey was choreographed with precision,” she says. “Every appointment was another opportunity to ask more questions and have concerns clarified. I believe that was the key to making my journey successful.”
Grzesik opted for a lumpectomy performed using radioactive seed implantation. Radiologist Dr. Steven Allen performed the seed implantation, and Mason performed the lumpectomy.
Dr. Mason explains, “Breast cancer treatment is all about teamwork, from beginning to end. Our goal at Baystate Breast & Wellness Center is to simplify the transitions between the various doctors involved in a patient’s care, and to explain the roles of each person and each kind of treatment. A breast cancer diagnosis is extremely stressful. We try to lower that stress with support, guidance, and education.”
RELY ON THE EXPERTS FOR CANCER TREATMENT
“If I were to speak to a cancer patient today, I would tell them first, follow your doctor's instructions,” says Grzesik. “Don't let family or friends give you medical advice. The doctors are the experts.”
She goes on to say, “I would also tell them to rely on their family and friends for comfort and support. My husband went to all my appointments. This was helpful on so many levels to me. Each person, whether it's your doctor, family member, or friend, has a unique role in your well-being.”
“With the great staff at the Baystate Regional Cancer Program I never felt alone.”
For more information about the Baystate Regional Cancer Program or to schedule an appointment, call 413-794-9338.