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Resilience Beyond Surgery; A Team Approach to Compassionate Breast Cancer Care | Samantha’s Story

Posted Date: 10/11/2023
For years, each October, Samantha Gerwig got her annual mammogram. In 2022, however, Samantha had to cancel her appointment.

“October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so I typically use that as my reminder to get my mammogram, but last year, something came up and I had to push back my appointment,” said Samantha. “After I had cancelled, I kept getting calls from Mon Health reminding me to reschedule, but it wasn’t until March that I had time for an appointment.”

Samantha has been a patient at Mon Health for sixteen years. Despite living several hours away from Morgantown, Samantha made the drive in order to receive obstetric and gynecological care from Dr. Allison Alexander, who delivered her first baby.

In March, Samantha finally got her mammogram. On her drive home from her appointment, she got a call from her provider that her results showed some calcifications, and she needed to come back the following week for some tests.

“I remember waiting to get an ultrasound and I knew that they had found something,” said Samantha. “The radiologist came in and told me that I needed a biopsy and on March 27, within ten days of my mammogram, I had the procedure.”

The day following her procedure, March 28, 2023, Samantha got a call from Dr. Alexander to tell her that she had Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), an early form of breast cancer. 

“Dr. Alexander hopped into action and gave me a plan of treatment. She connected me with Dr. Mark Johnson from Mon Health Surgical Services for surgery and I got in right away,” said Samantha.

In April, Samantha got a lumpectomy and one month later, she had a complete hysterectomy performed by Dr. William McBee. After receiving her test results showing that she was still positive for DCIS, Dr. Johnson recommended a mastectomy as well.

“In a matter of four months, I lost the ability to have more children and here I am about to get a mastectomy. I really struggled a lot with all of this,” said Samantha. “But the team at Mon Health supported me through it all.”

In August 2023, Samantha got a mastectomy on her left breast and began reconstruction immediately with Dr. Tom McClellan, while under the oncological care of Dr. Ihtishaam Qazi.

“There are no words to describe what my care at Mon Health was like. From the people that checked me in at the front desk, to the people prepping me for surgery, everyone treated me like family,” said Samantha. “I had four procedures in five months, and each time I was a bundle of nerves and tears. The nurses at Mon Health never hesitated to hold my hand, calm me, and encourage me that everything was going to be okay.”

Samantha is currently in the process of reconstruction after her mastectomy. She enjoys spending time with her family, attending her two daughters’ sports activities, and is happy to be returning back to her high school students to teach United States history. 

“When I started this journey, there was no doubt in my mind that I would be coming to Mon Health,” said Samantha. “I live over two hours away, I could’ve gone somewhere else, but I chose Mon Health because I’ve always received stellar care here.”

At Mon Health, receive care you can trust from neighbors you know. That’s the Mon Health difference. To learn more, visit MonHealth.com/Mammogram.