WARNING: I tend to get a bit reflective at year-end, and with each passing year I find more to reflect upon!
I have been doing this work now for more than 22 years and have seen much change in what I affectionately refer to as our Local Cancer Community. Most notably is the remarkable progress and advancements that the scientific and medical communities have made in diagnosing, treating, and even curing certain cancers. Cancers that were considered terminal when I started this work are now treatable and sometimes curable. Many cancers can be effectively managed and survival rates continue to rise.
Thanks, of course, to our two brilliant oncologists, Dr. H. Marshall Matthews and Dr. S. Mark Bettag, who bring those life-saving advancements to those in our community facing this disease!
When I began this work in March of 2000 Dr. Matthews charged me with the directive to do whatever I can to make the cancer experience a little more bearable, a little more tolerable, and perhaps even a little more enjoyable for his patients and all cancer patients in this community. When Dr. Bettag joined this clinic and opened his private practice in 2003, he echoed the same edicts.
There were an estimated 10-million cancer survivors in the U.S. in 2000. Today, that estimate has almost doubled to 19 million. With almost twice as many cancer survivors in the U.S. (and presumably Sheboygan County), I have long been puzzled that I have not been joined by colleagues with similar positions from the other local cancer clinics, hospitals, or healthcare systems over the past 22 years.
As brilliant as Dr. Matthews and Dr. Bettag are, they are extremely caring and compassionate as well. They continue to offer the services of the TLC (Together we Live with Cancer!) Supportive Community to ALL area cancer patients/survivors and co-survivors (regardless of where they are being or have been treated) and continue to support the Sheboygan County Cancer Fund and it’s Survive, Thrive & Be Fit program. As they have often expressed, it is “the right thing to do” and “in the best interest of cancer patients and survivors.”
Amidst all of the changes that I’ve seen over these past 22 years, it’s also comforting to know that at least this one thing, has not changed! 😊
As independent practitioners, Dr. Matthews and Dr. Bettag can make decisions that they believe to be in the best interest of their individual patients and practices and are not bound by policies, procedures, or restrictions that often exist within large healthcare systems.
I feel incredibly fortunate that 30+ years ago, when I first heard those words, “You have cancer!” my personal journey brought me to this clinic where I received the very best of care and, eventually, 24+ years (and counting) of cancer-free life!
I am incredibly fortunate for the opportunity over the past 22+ of those 30+ years to be working in this amazing clinic alongside doctors, nurses, and staff who are as caring and compassionate as they are brilliant and dedicated!