Just as every person is different, so is their journey when they learn that they have breast cancer. The fear and confusion of how to beat the disease is simply daunting. The mind is boggled with so many questions like, what’s the next step? What the heck is chemo brain? What will I do with my kids when I’m going through treatments? What exactly does an oncologist do? In a big hospital will I simply be another patient? And it’s only enhanced by the feeling of being alone in the battle.
These questions and concerns are perfectly understandable. But 2021 Celebrating Women Co-Chairs Marybeth Conlon and Elizabeth Gambrell, along with the Baylor Scott And White Dallas Foundation, have provided a resource who will accompany patients on their way to becoming a breast cancer survivor — the nurse navigator.
In this week’s Celebrating Women video series, BSWHealth Patient Navigation Program Manager Stacey Webb describes the free-service program from stem to stern. As breast cancer survivor Krystal Smallwood-Whitaker put it, “My nurse navigator is my Baylor nurse navigator best friend because I can talk to her about any and everything. It makes my journey dealing with this a lot better. I’m not by myself. I have to do this because this person is rooting for me. This person cares for me.
Presently the downtown Baylor campus has two nurse navigators who see “on average 5,000 to 6,000 plus patients a year.” Thanks to the Celebrating Women efforts, the hope is that “every breast patient is connected with a patient navigator and that we can grow the navigation program in leaps and bounds and provide support both in-patient and out-patient.”
Thanks to the Celebrating Woman program, funding for the program to grow is possible.