Marty Frier invested her 40-year career in attending to the needs of others as a registered nurse.
“God put me in the right spot,” the Colchester, Illinois, resident said. “He’s the greatest healer and he put kindness and healing in my hands.”
Her nursing experience, however, could not prepare her for what she was told in May 2023.
“Having breast cancer was not on my radar,” Marty stated when told her screening mammogram showed a suspicious area and a biopsy confirmed breast cancer. “At first I thought, ‘That can’t be right.’ “But I decided no matter what it is, I’m blessed. I believe that positivity will make a difference. So, let’s just get on the road and get this done.”
Of the roads she considered for her care, one led to Springfield and the other to Quincy. Her choice: Blessing Health. While Marty never worked at Blessing, her decision was made based on her knowledge of Blessing as a lifetime resident of the region and a grandmother whose granddaughter was born at Blessing.
“You are greeted here so warmly,” Marty said of Blessing Hospital. “The minute you walk in the door you feel good. Everyone who works here shows you they want to be here. They show their people side.”
One of Marty’s sisters, Karen Cale, is among the family members and friends who attend Marty’s radiation oncology treatments with her. Karen agrees about the feeling at Blessing.
“They treat family members with so much respect,” Karen said. “They are nice to everybody, not just the patient, but the whole family. For anyone who brings a patient, they bend over backward for us.”
Meet Marty’s care team
Marty’s cancer was caught in an early stage. Her care began at the Blessing Breast Center and continued to the surgery department, for a lumpectomy to remove the tumor, and then to the Blessing Cancer Center and its Radiation Oncology department.
Among the individuals providing her care were Blessing Health board-certified doctors Daniel Koh, medical oncologist; surgeon Emmanuel Bessay; and radiation oncologist Mark Khil.
“They are all very intelligent and all very down to earth,” Marty said of her physician team. “They talk to you and see you as a person, not just another cancer patient.”
Marty chose to have a patient navigator attend her physician appointments with her. Among the services provided by Blessing’s navigators, at no cost, is attending physician appointments with a breast cancer patient.
“You think you remember what the doctor says,” she said. “I thought I should remember because of my medical background. But when you’re the patient, you don’t always remember what was said to you.”
The Blessing Breast Center’s nationally certified patient navigator, Jessica Nuebel, BSN, RNC-OB, was one of the patient navigators who assisted Marty.
“When patients see their doctors, information can be coming at them quickly,” she said. “I take notes, writing it down in words that make sense to them. I give them a copy. They take it home. When they are ready to revisit it, but may not remember what was said, it is written down and then they can always reach out to me if they need to.”
“Patients meet many care providers during treatment – doctors, nurses, social workers, dieticians, to name a few,” Jessica continued. “When they have questions, who do they call? I can be that person the patient contacts at any time with questions, big or small, for guidance.”
“I also have access to resources to help them through any challenges or difficulties they may have, whether it be financial or social,” she concluded.
What’s next for Marty?
“I have a very positive attitude. Everything’s going to be fine,” she said.
When Marty’s 22 radiation oncology treatments are finished, she intends to pick up where she left off - going on a trip to Spain and Portugal with a lifelong friend. The trip was delayed by her cancer diagnosis. She will also continue to get her mammograms.
“Women need to have their mammograms,” Marty said. “It’s too easy to get complacent.”
For more information on mammogram guidelines and the care provided by the Blessing Breast Center go to blessinghealth.org/breastcenter, and to learn more about the Blessing Cancer Center go to blessinghealth.org/cancer.