Seeking Timely Care Lends to Patient’s Story of Survival
Kim Lewark is a survivor. After going in for her regularly scheduled mammogram, she was later called by a nurse navigator to set up an appointment to go over her results. Upon review, Lewark received the news that something did not look quite right and she would need to schedule an immediate biopsy to further explore a more accurate diagnosis. It was after this biopsy that Lewark received hard news: she had breast cancer. “Since I work as an oncology nurse at Kosciusko Community Hospital’s Cancer Care Center, I more than understood the importance of getting the ball rolling as soon as possible,” she said.
Lewark’s nurse navigator quickly connected her with a breast surgeon at Lutheran Hospital. Following the surgical procedure, her medical oncologist began infusion treatments in Warsaw the very next week. “The treatment I received in the infusion department was amazing,” she stated. “The entire team, from each nurse to the physicians, was truly compassionate and very passionate about what they do.”
Another stop on her journey: chemotherapy. Lewark did not discredit the challenge this brought, but credited the family-like staff who made it their priority to encourage her every step of the way. “The chemotherapy experience is difficult…it really is,” she said. “The staff remained so supportive in keeping me motivated and positive during the healing process as a whole.”
Now a breast cancer survivor, Lewark relays to all women how important it is to care for themselves, keeping their yearly mammogram and prioritizing self-examinations. The best form of defense is early detection. For women at an average risk, scheduling a yearly mammogram is encouraged to begin between ages 40 and 44. Women ages 45-54 should have yearly mammograms, while women 55 and older have the option to adjust their mammograms to every other year. “Do not delay care – make yourself a priority and schedule your screening,” Lewak reinforced.
“I am so thankful for the care I received at Lutheran Health Network’s KCH Cancer Care Center in Warsaw,” Lewark stated. “I was supported and received incredible care from excellent oncology specialists and staff that I might not have received elsewhere in this immediate area. Our network as a whole impacted me substantially and was a large contributor to the success I have from my journey.”