In August 2007, Storey Squires called her health-care clinic in Seattle to schedule her annual mammogram for September — the month she had always gotten the test. This time, however, she was told that the first available appointment wasn’t until November. Storey says she might have accepted the delay if not for the self-care brochure a colleague had given her. One of its key suggestions was to maintain regular medical appointments.
So instead of waiting, Storey, 47, called Swedish — a decision she believes may have saved her life. Her mammogram — which she was able to schedule at Swedish for the first week in September — revealed a suspicious area. A biopsy confirmed Storey had breast cancer. That was the bad news. The good news was that the cancer was treatable.
“Imagine,” says Storey, “if I had waited months longer to be tested. What might have happened?”
Treating the Whole Person
Storey’s course of treatment was decided after meetings with surgeon Claire Buchanan, M.D., and oncologist Kristine Rinn, M.D. Within a few weeks of her biopsy, she underwent a lumpectomy, a procedure in which cancerous tissue is removed while leaving the breast largely intact. After a second operation to remove lymph nodes that held traces of cancer, Storey began chemotherapy followed by radiation treatment, to ensure that the cancer cells were completely destroyed.
“I’m really glad I was at Swedish because, as I went through my treatment, along with providing excellent medical care, everyone treated me with compassion,” says Storey.
“I see five distinct but connected pieces to my care: surgery, chemo, the ACTIVE Program, radiation and meditation. Swedish exceeded my expectations in every area.”
Physical exercise and meditation were particularly important for her, says Storey. In Swedish’s ACTIVE Program, she learned how to exercise during each phase of her treatment. And a 10-week meditation course helped her find serenity in the midst of her cancer experience. “I appreciated that my course of treatment at Swedish was geared toward more than just my body,” says Storey. “I think that made a tremendous difference in how I handled my surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments.”