Patricia Bohner’s journey with lung cancer began the way a lot of lung cancer survivor’s stories start – with a cough.
The 71-year-old Arvada, Colorado resident remembers having a nagging cough that just seemed to want to stick around.
“It was November 2015 and I went to my Primary Care Physician about a persistent cough I had,” Bohner said. “My PCP ordered an x-ray that showed a shadow on my lung, so a cat scan was ordered. The cat scan determined that there was a mass in my right lung and a biopsy confirmed that the mass was malignant.”
In the middle of Patricia’s diagnosis, her PCP transitioned to a different hospital system. Patricia, wanting to stay where she had always been treated, was referred to Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. Lutheran was short an oncologist, so Patricia was once again referred to a different physician. This time, Patricia found herself at Red Rocks Medical Center in Golden, Colorado, in the office of Robert Kantor, M.D., a Hematologist-Oncologist with Western Oncology Hematology Associates, P.C. Dr. Kantor then referred Patricia across the hall and that is where she met Kevin Schewe, M.D., Radiation Oncologist and Medical Director at Alliance Cancer Care Colorado at Red Rocks.
After all the referrals and shuffling around, Patricia was thankful for everything happening the way it did because it led her to Dr. Schewe.
“I am so happy I met Dr. Schewe,” Patricia said. “He is such a nice, warm human being that it takes you out of the clinical setting and it feels like he is sitting in your living room, telling you your options.”
Patricia met with Dr. Schewe and the two discussed her treatment options. In addition to her lung cancer, Patricia suffered from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), so she was not a good candidate for surgery, but Dr. Schewe recommended radiation therapy for the treatment of her lung cancer.
“Discussing radiation therapy for my lung cancer was easy to bear because Dr. Schewe explained everything so clearly,” she said. “He told me what the machine was, what it did, and what to expect. I had no qualms about being in his care.”
Her positive impression of her consultation at ACCC at Red Rocks carried over to the staff and the center itself, as well.
“The technicians were fantastic,” Patricia said. “I can’t say enough good things about them. They make a very, very strange time in your life an awful lot easier.” She further said, “Just like the staff, the center was wonderful. I love a good cup of tea and they always had one for me. I walked into the center, changed into a warm gown, and sat in a living room area with my tea and snacks and did not have to wait long for my appointment. It did not feel like I was waiting for a medical treatment at all.”
Patricia’s lung tumor was treated painlessly and non-invasively with radiation therapy. She had 40 treatments on a day-to-day basis in concert with low-dose chemotherapy treatments. When asked what she thought about the treatments, Patricia replied that they were “amazingly fast and she felt like she was in and out pretty swiftly.”
After her treatments, Patricia said Dr. Schewe always took the time to talk to her to tell her how things were progressing, tell her how much her tumor was shrinking, and answer any questions she had.
As for how she felt after her treatments, Patricia said she really did not experience any negative side effects, other than a slight redness under her right breast. She said she was not fatigued and was able to carry on with her normal daily routine.
Today, Patricia feels fantastic. All her scans have been clear and she has enjoyed going back to Dr. Schewe and his team for her follow-up appointments.
“I really liked Red Rocks. When you go back it feels like you’re going home,” she said. “Not only did I feel very well taken care of, but having everything in one place was so convenient. It was like one-stop shopping for cancer care. Everything I needed – radiation therapy, medical oncology, scans, etc. – was there. Everybody was on the same page and it was fantastic communication between all facets of my treatment. I cannot recommend the center enough.”