OHC: Hope and Healing for Breast Cancer

OHC: Hope and Healing for Breast Cancer

There’s no good time to get breast cancer. 

That was certainly true for Laura Reid, who had just started a new position she loved at Meridian Bioscience and was raising her two kids, Kellen and Reagan. 

But Reid had found a suspicious lump during a routine breast self-exam. While she had no family history of breast cancer and was only 36 years old, she didn’t wait to get it checked out. She immediately scheduled a visit with her doctor. After a mammogram and ultrasound were inconclusive, Reid had a biopsy done.

The results were positive for cancer.

“I didn’t know anything about breast cancer,” Reid says. “I didn’t realize how many kinds of breast cancer there actually are. Each one is different.”

Reid knew she needed breast cancer experts, so she turned to OHC. 

OHC is an independent physician-led adult cancer practice at the forefront of clinical research and advanced therapies. For more than 37 years, OHC has surrounded patients with everything they need so they can focus on what matters most: beating cancer.

“Your head is spinning,” Reid says. “But what is amazing was how quickly everyone at OHC rearranges their schedules to get you in. They make you a priority.”

The Right Treatment

OHC arms each patient with a collaborative care team.

Multiple doctors and specialists meet to develop personalized treatment plans for each patient to offer them the best outcome.

Reid loved her doctors and staff at OHC. Her oncologist was Patrick J. Ward, M.D., Ph.D., the director of OHC’s research and clinical trials program. “Dr. Ward is such a good doctor,” says Reid. “He’s funny and very intelligent. He knows it all, inside and out.” 

Abigail Tremelling, M.D., FACS, was Reid’s breast surgeon, and they instantly bonded. 

“I trusted her, she was charismatic,” Reid says. “She listened to me. I cried, and I’ll never forget Dr. Tremelling asking if I was okay. And I told her I was grateful.”

Reid was grateful not only for Dr. Tremelling’s compassionate care but also that she was young and healthy and that she’d caught her cancer early. Routine mammograms typically begin at age 40. Reflecting on this silver lining helped her with the treatments she would be facing.

It would be a rigorous and grueling cancer-fighting treatment.

Reid tried to make the best of it. Though she was initially wary of getting her port put in, she said she learned to love it. “Her name was Portia. We tried to have fun with it.”

She had six rounds of chemotherapy and a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction by Mercy Health reconstructive surgeon Neil Kundu, M.D. The kindness of everyone at OHC made a big difference. “It’s not just the doctors,” Reid says. “It’s everyone from the front desk to the medical assistants and nurses.” 

At her first chemo appointment, the nurse behind the desk sat down with Reid and told her, “I was in your position five years ago.” The nurse had even had the same doctors, the same kind of breast cancer, and the same treatment plan.

“She gave me hope,” Reid says. “That was huge for me.”

The Right Support

Reid had an exceptional support team that helped her stay positive and deal with the difficult side effects of treatment. Her friends and family were a source of strength and encouragement. Her husband Paul “would say things like, ‘I’d choose you over and over again,’” Reid says. 

Her workplace rallied behind her, and she worked from home when she could. She even brought her laptop to chemo at times to work because she found OHC such a warm and inviting place with such a supportive staff.

 “Can I come back and work here all the time without the chemo?” Reid says with a laugh.

Not everyone has the personal support system that Reid did, so she did her best to encourage other patients. Since bananas and oranges were one of the few things she could tolerate during treatment, she would bring extras to leave for other patients at OHC. She developed a special bond with a breast cancer patient she met during treatment. Because the patient did not have a support network, Reid assembled a care package of items she thought would be helpful during her recovery from surgery. Giving back to others coping with cancer had become Reid’s passion.

The side effects of chemo made it difficult for Reid to eat or cook for her family, something she had previously loved to do. OHC connected her with the Pink Ribbon Girls. 

Pink Ribbon Girls is a nonprofit that provides free meals, transportation, housecleaning, and peer support to patients with breast or gynecological cancer. The organization provided meals and all-natural cleaning products to her family. 

“They were amazing,” Reid says. “So we wanted to give back.” 

To thank Pink Ribbon Girls and support their mission, Paul Reid’s company, Bartels Heating and Cooling, had shirts made for his employees to wear during the month of October. He also donated $5,000 from the company’s October sales to the nonprofit.

Now Reid is almost finished with her therapy and is adjusting to her new normal. It means starting to work out again, traveling for work, and cooking for her family. 

“I’m just so grateful. This is part of my purpose,” Reid says. She is committed to using her voice as an ambassador to educate, support and empower young women like herself. Always diligent about self-breast exams and annual primary care and gynecologic exams, Reid tirelessly endorses early detection and recommends discussing anything abnormal with your doctor. 

She sings the praises of OHC. “My best advice is to know your body. Get your mammogram. Don’t wait. It can save your life.”

Looking for a doctor or a second opinion? Contact OHC at ohcare.com for more information.

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