August 18, 2013
Steve Ralph, President and CEO
Huntington Hospital Administration
100 W. California Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91101
Dear Mr. Ralph,
I’d like to commend Huntington Hospital on its Breast Center and the valuable supportive services it provides. Having completed 8 months of treatment for breast cancer this February, I’ve had time to reflect on my own experience with the Breast Center and wish to share the personal benefits I received.
It’s tough to be concise when there is so much to acknowledge, but I will give it my best!
Tina Ivie, my RN Navigator, proved to be my most valuable asset. From her first contact after my diagnosis, through her visits to my medical appointments, phone calls to me after chemotherapy, answering any and all questions, all the way to offering a spa night which allowed a safe place to deal with post treatment appearance, her support was just exemplary.
Without her in my corner, I can imagine myself feeling all alone in the system, and wasting a lot of my minimal energy on trying to get a few of the services on my own. In addition to her professionalism and medical knowledge, she has the ability to bring a somber waiting room to life, reaching out to all within her sphere. I have also admired her ability to gently steer misguided patients to correct information, and put the support group back on track when needed.
Having all the supportive services in the same suite was a key to my ability to take advantage of them.
I had a wonderful experience with the Manager of Integrative Oncology, Suzie Kline. Receiving acupuncture for side effects of my treatment turned out to be the most positive, healing experience I had. Her knowledge of physiology and medicine combined with her acupuncture skill and gentle counseling on self care and diet were a perfect combination. It was great to see some elderly/infirm patients, along with others, benefiting from her treatment.
After completing radiation, I contacted Leah Kurihara, the Oncology Dietician. She had wonderful suggestions for putting on weight and keeping it on, while my body worked overtime to heal. She also followed up, both with a phone call and popping up when I had an appointment in the building. I am still using the post treatment dietary guidelines she provided.
Allowing the staff to know when patients are there (for other appointments) is not only efficient, it just made me, as a patient, feel great, relaxed, and cared for.
The Appearance Center was valuable for me, as I had looked without success for a supportive, private place to find a wig. The cosmetologist was knowledgeable, kind, and supportive, and able to meet me again on short notice when I panicked as my hair loss accelerated.
The privacy of all the facilities was essential to my comfort, as was the kindness and sensitivity of nearly all employees that I met.
I feel beyond lucky to have Ruth Williamson as my radiology oncologist. Her superior skill and knowledge engendered so much confidence. Although I know how busy she is, she effortlessly spent as much time with me as I needed. The private entrance and validated parking are a great feature of the radiation facility. Both the nurses, and my treatment team (Kim and Craig), all combined to make daily treatment visits as pleasant as possible.
It was great to have the balance of my excellent care (surgeon, medical oncologist) located in the same building as The Breast Center, and their ability to communicate with each other was invaluable. I share my positive experience at The Breast Center with others and I encourage the hospital to continue to support its operation.