Sevier County Woman Battles Breast Cancer While Recovering from Bilateral Arm and Shoulder Break
Jeanne Bishop, a retired nurse living in Sevier County, came into LeConte Medical Center for a routine mammogram last November. When the results came back abnormal, she followed up with an ultrasound and biopsy. She underwent a lumpectomy, or removal of the cancerous tumor, from her right breast with Brian Pugh, DO, general surgery specialist at LeConte. It was the day after her 78th birthday.
On Dec. 5, three days before her follow-up visit, Bishop suffered a catastrophic fall, causing her to break her nose, both arms and both shoulder bones. She received medical treatment and stayed at an inpatient facility through mid-January.
“We had to postpone radiation for the breast cancer because I couldn’t lift my arms,” she recalls. “Emotionally, it was rough. I had to keep at it, because my situation, well it just is what it is.”
Bishop had a total reverse left shoulder replacement and a closed reduction surgery on her right shoulder. She spent two months in a double-sling. Being a woman of steadfast Christian faith, she says, “I have had a lot of prayer from a lot of people.”
Strength in Healing
Bishop began to heal, slowly and steadily, and got by with the help of close family members and home health professionals. She came to Thompson Cancer Survival Center – Sevier under the care of Natasha Townsend, MD, radiation oncologist. Because of her bilateral humerus and shoulder fractures, her radiation treatment was postponed until March.
Marsha Lamb, RT(R)(T), is the lead radiation therapist at Thompson Cancer Survival Center – Sevier who administered Bishop’s therapy. She describes how impressed she was at Bishop’s strength and determination throughout the process. Lamb describes the process in which a patient will lay on the radiation table with what they call a ‘cast,’ which she compares to a deflated bean bag. For breast patients, this helps provide support for the arms and ease any discomfort. It also focuses the radiation therapy to administer it in the same spot each day.
Bishop came to Thompson for 20 sessions over five weeks. Lamb and her fellow radiation therapists, Dianne Bartnik, RT(R)(T) and Mandy Grooms, RT(R)(T), take patient care extremely seriously.
Lamb recalls, “It was extremely painful for her to come in each day and have to remain still with her shoulders above her head for the radiation treatment, but she was incredibly strong and pushed through.”
Bishop says, “They helped me lift my right arm and made me a form to fit it in, which was angled to get to my chest. When I pulled up, they would help me out of the car and get me a wheelchair so I wouldn’t have to walk the distance back to the radiation room. They just took excellent care of me.” She adds with a laugh, “You don’t realize how heavy a portable oxygen tank is until you have two broken arms.”
Our Approach: Treat them Like Family
“My approach is treat our people like family,” Lamb says. “We see our radiation patients every day from two to eight weeks, depending on the situation. So we become on a first-name basis with them. We encourage them and end up building personal relationships.”
After completing her treatment, Bishop brought her radiation team a custom-made cake to show her appreciation of the excellent care she received. The icing on the cake read, “Saying thank you is not enough.”
Bishop shares, overcome with gratitude, “There is no way I could have had better care.”
Thompson Cancer Survival Center – Sevier
710 Middle Creek Road
Sevierville, TN 37862
Medical Oncology: (865) 446-9025
Radiation Oncology: (865) 446-9125