Hospital offers hope during breast cancer month

HINSDALE – You’re going on a trip you didn’t plan for. You didn’t ask to go, you didn’t want to go.

That trip is the long journey from cancer diagnosis to treatment and one of the analogies Jeannine Arias used when it came to navigating cancer, particularly breast cancer. But she said there is hope and always people there to help along the way.

“For example, when a patient’s going through surgery, especially breast surgery, it’s very emotional,” said Arias, associate clinical director of oncology and navigation services at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital. “The navigator is helping them get through that along with the physician, always with the physician. We’re just there for extra support and education.”

It was all part of the inaugural event Oct. 1 for Breast Cancer Awareness Month at Adventist Hinsdale as families, survivors and speakers shared stories and remembered those who lost their lives.

Claudine Consalvo was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2012 and completed treatment the following October at Adventist Hinsdale.

“I received outstanding care at Hinsdale from my caregivers to my doctors to my nurses,” Consalvo said. “It was an amazing journey and one of the worst times of my life, but one of the best times.”

Consalvo said it was one of the best times because of how she looks back on her journey of going through diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

“Whenever something bad happens, or something gets difficult to deal with, I always measure it up against cancer,” she said.

Patricia Madej, medical oncologist at Adventist Hinsdale, was part of a panel discussion along with Consalvo and Arias. She said one of the biggest misconceptions about breast cancer is that it sounds like “one thing.”

“There is no such thing as a breast cancer or the breast cancer,” Madej said. “It’s as individual as the person who has it. It’s almost as individual as a fingerprint.”

Mike Goebel, CEO at Adventist Hinsdale, said this year more than 21,000 people in DuPage County will hear the words, “You have cancer.” Goebel said when it comes to fighting cancer, patients need the support of loved ones and peace of mind to treat body, mind and spirit.

“I understand these needs more than ever before as of January of this year I lost my father to brain cancer,” Goebel said. “Battling cancer is not an experience I’d wish on anyone, but when it happens you have to deal with it with all the faith, strength and courage you could muster.”

Goebel said he is looking forward to when the Adventist Cancer Institute will be completed, which is slated to start construction in the fall and finish by 2015. Goebel said the Cancer Institute will save patients time and lower stress because everything will be under one roof.

“I want our patients to be taken care of the same way I’d want my family taken care of, and that means the very best care by the best physicians with compassion, hope and healing,” he said.