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The Dream Team
Physicians: Jonathan Osburn, MD; Sapna Patel, MD; Roy Winslow, MD
It’s like a monkey inside your brain – it just keeps jumping around. That’s how oncologist, Sapna Patel, MD, described the idea of a cancer diagnosis to, now 63-year-old Jackie Johnson.
One morning while getting dressed Jackie looked in the mirror and noticed that her right breast looked more pulled back than normal. Although her yearly mammograms had come back clear for the past two decades, at age 59, it was knowing her own body and performing self-exams which Jackie credits for saving her life.
“I knew almost instinctively that something was wrong, but I didn’t want to admit it to myself,” she said.
Jackie scheduled an appointment with her primary care provider, Jonathan Osburn, MD. After ordering an ultrasound on her breast, Dr. Osburn recommended that Jackie see general surgeon, Roy Winslow, MD, to have the tissue biopsied.
“When the biopsy results came back and confirmed it was breast cancer the first thing I asked Dr. Winslow was whether or not I could survive this – his response was yes,” said Jackie. “He was very confident and comforting throughout the whole process and quickly became a very important person in my life.”
A few weeks after receiving the news, Jackie began chemotherapy treatments. Five months later she underwent a mastectomy, or breast removal surgery, which was performed by Dr. Winslow, followed by six weeks of radiation treatment at Lakeland Health.
“I really am convinced I had the dream team,” said Jackie. “From Drs. Patel and Winslow, to my radiation oncologist Dr. [Peter] Paximadis, and the rest of the team at the Marie Yeager Cancer Center, all the way to the staff at Van’s Medical Equipment who helped fit me for my prosthesis bras – I knew I was in good hands every step of the way.”
In addition to her care team at Lakeland, Jackie also had the support of her friends and family. Her grandson’s football team, and the fans at River Valley School in Three Oaks, showed their support by wearing pink socks and “Team Grammy” shirts during the last game of the season.
“It made me realize that my battle with cancer wasn’t just about me, and that I had other people behind me, who supported me and cared about me,” said Jackie. “You see other people battle cancer but you never think it will be you. I am so thankful to everyone who supported me throughout this journey – even if it was one I didn’t necessarily want to go on.”
A year and a half after her original diagnosis Jackie received the news that she was cancer free. Since then, she also opted to undergo reconstruction surgery on her right breast.
But her relationship with her care team hasn’t ended there. To show her gratitude for “taking the monkey out of her brain,” Jackie recently brought Dr. Winslow a stuffed monkey with a “Winslow” bracelet around the ankle. She continues to wear her “Team Grammy” sweatshirt with pride as well as her new title of “survivor.”