My Crozer-Keystone Story: Candee Mathias, Cancer Services Patient
It was a day like any other when Candee Mathias’ life changed forever. In May of 2016, Mathias was going about her day, watching TV in bed when suddenly she felt a sharp pain in her left breast. She felt around, trying to notice if something felt abnormal, but didn’t find anything. She figured it was nothing and went about her life as usual. However, a week later, the pain happened again. This time, she felt the lump. It was unmistakable. Something was wrong.
Mathias made an appointment that Friday with her gynecologist. She received a breast ultrasound, but even before she got the results back, it was clear that this was going to be a serious diagnosis. That Wednesday, Mathias went to an appointment at the Center for Breast Health at Delaware County Memorial Hospital, where the lump was biopsied.
When her gynecologist called and told her the news, Mathias already knew what was coming. She was diagnosed with lobular breast cancer. Her gynecologist informed her that she would be down and out for about a year; however, he assured her that she was going to be okay.
Mathias and her family already had a vacation planned in the Turks and Caicos Islands around that time; however, with this new diagnosis, Mathias was unsure if she should still go. Her doctor urged her to take the opportunity to de-stress, and so she did—trying to enjoy her last moments of calm before the storm.
On July 27, 2016, Mathias had her lumpectomy. The tumor was removed, and in September she had a breast reduction. It took 8 weeks for Mathias to recover, but once she did, she was referred to Deborah Markiewicz, M.D., Crozer-Keystone radiation oncologist, for radiation therapy. Mathias started her treatments in early December 2016 at the Crozer-Keystone Regional Cancer Center at Broomall, and went three times before she was faced with another problem — she had developed a cellulitis infection in her left breast, the same breast that was being treated for cancer. After being treated by an infectious disease doctor, Mathias was able to restart her radiation treatments on January 3, 2017.
On February 9, 2017, Mathias was able to ring the bell in the cancer center, signifying that she had finished her last day of radiation treatment. Mathias’ primary medical oncologist, Nabila Chowdhury, M.D. predicts a very bright future: “Candee’s treatment went very well. She is in good health and good spirits, and will be able to lead a good life.”
Mathias looks back on her experience with Crozer-Keystone, stating, “I had a really great experience. The radiation team is amazing. They made me feel so comfortable and warm.” Mathias’ oncology medical team included her surgeon, medical and radiation oncology, oncology nurses and navigators, and support staff who worked together to provide a seamless, patient-centered treatment plan. Up until this point, Mathias had never been treated by Crozer-Keystone clinicians; however, this experience really opened her eyes to the health system, and she is very grateful for the treatment that she received there.
For more information about Crozer-Keystone Cancer Services, visit crozerkeystone.org/Cancer.