Ann Constantino 
Member since Jan 25, 2014


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Re: “The Cancer Collaboration

If the outstanding care I received from this team in the budding stages of collaboration is any indication, north coast cancer patients will find great comfort in staying home to receive world class care in the jeans and t-shirt environment we enjoy.
At my first meeting with Dr. Allen he gave me a card with his email address. Yeah, right, I thought. This guy with hundreds of patients is going to answer my emails. Sure enough, some evenings later I was fretting about something and sent him an email, not really expecting a reply. Within 20 minutes a concise friendly reply appeared in my inbox, and this was at 10 p.m.
Dr. Mahoney’s warmth and humor and earthiness are so perfect for Humboldt. Now that I have read her own medical history it’s hard not to wonder if the terrible accidents she suffered were part of some grand conspiracy to bring her to this present work so dear to her heart and so vital to Humboldt’s. From the moment I met her I gained confidence in my treatment. She hates cancer, and as a fellow athlete I saw a game face on her that I knew was a winner.
I didn’t see much of Dr. Harmon and was not much bothered by that. By the time I got to the radiation stage of my treatment I had had enough of white coats to last me forever. Once a week doctor day meant a five minute check-in how ya doin’ type of thing for me and for about half my session my check-ins were with Dr. Luh who was friendly, courteous and caring. Near the end of my radiation I had a longer chat with Dr. Harmon and I think he was mentioning the importance of exercise for survivors when I blurted out that learning to surf was on my post treatment bucket list. His face lit up as he told me about a program that he participates in raising money for surf camps for cancer survivors in Maui. He enthusiastically encouraged me to apply and took a lot of time helping me do so. Guess who’s going to Maui in April!
Not enough can be said of the brilliant staffs of all these docs and of St. Joseph’s various networked departments. Beckie Pidgeon at Dr. Allen’s; Stephanie and Cindy at Dr. Mahoney’s; the goddesses Cindy and Laurie and Jovone (and others whose names escape my chemo brain) at the St Jo’s infusion suite; Lydia and Cathy and Wayne and Rachel and Amanda in radiation; and all the countless nurses and techs in imaging and surgery and hospital care all made me feel cared for and supported with impeccable professionalism and dignity. The Humboldt Breast Health Project was also there every step of the way and a tome could be written on what their presence has meant to local cancer care.
I’m not sure I share Dr. Mahoney’s vision of Humboldt as retirement mecca, but as someone who works in education and has served on a local rural health center board I see the ability to attract and welcome all kinds of good people of all ages into our community as a natural by-product of this collaboration. With accessibility of great cancer care as a hook for Humboldt there are bound to be positive ripples all the way down to even my Garberville community as families are increasingly searching for what Dr. Luh has found here. I see prospective Humboldters able to realize the amazing health benefits of proximity to nature we locals already cherish without sacrificing the care they formerly expected only in urban centers.
And what a wonderful flagship for Humboldt to serve as first rural tentacle of this collaborative model. Thank you, Dr. Mahoney and fellow diners, and congratulations to all north coast residents on this partnership.
Ann Constantino
Garberville

12 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Ann Constantino on 01/25/2014 at 11:53 AM

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