As a registered nurse and medical professional, Kris thought she’d be more prepared when she was told she had a thymoma, a tumor originating from the thymus gland located behind the breast bone.
She had come in to the emergency department for chest pain, but imaging scans revealed the mass on her chest wall, which was pushing on her heart. “I was surprised, then scared, when they used the word ‘malignancy.’ It took my breath away.”
But her thoracic care team, led by her surgeon, alleviated her fear by explaining everything. “He told me what he was going to do, how he was going to do it, and everything went according to plan. He and his team were wonderful – I got excellent care.”
Within one week of the tumor’s biopsy, Kris had surgery at Kaiser Permanente to remove the thymoma, as well as a smaller one that not yet been detected. Due to the tumor’s invasion of the surrounding tissue, it was classified as Stage 2 and required radiation treatment as a follow-up.
Now, Kris says, “I’m back to living my life. I’m hoping to do some traveling and we’re planning our annual family vacation.”
Kris was quite pleased with her thoracic care team, especially her surgeon. “I love the fact that we can email our doctors 1, but he called me to make sure I was doing OK. He called me with the biopsy reports and let me know what was going on. He also emailed me frequently, even during my radiation treatments.”
While she’ll be monitored on an on-going basis with imaging scans, she’s pleased with what she considers very thorough care. She says, “I felt very well cared for at all times. They always wanted feedback from me, which I thought was really quite nice. I was quite a participant in my care.”
To others facing the same journey, she’d say, “You’re in very good hands. Ask a lot of questions, but expect a lot of answers. A lot of the questions are answered before you even ask them. Everyone on the thoracic team explains everything very, very well. They’re very informed and kept me informed.”
Kris sums up her experience with strong praise for the thoracic care team: “I think they went above and beyond when it came to caring for me. They took care of me as a whole person.”
1 Email is available for non-urgent questions only.
DISCLAIMER: Patient stories represent individual experiences. Results may vary. All story content provided by patients.