Breast Cancer Care at St. Clare:
A Divine Arrangement
One cold day in January 2010, Andrea Benoit learned she had breast cancer. "The diagnosis was shocking," she recalls. "I was surprised and scared to death." Andrea, 47, runs her own successful Web design and Internet marketing business. Her work requires long hours and non-stop networking, but she always makes time to get recommended health screenings.
A suspect mammogram brought the bad news. Andrea had two surgeries in Seattle but came out of the experience feeling traumatized. "Neither surgery went well," she recalls. "Waking up in recovery, I had terrible pain and panic. It left me with a grave fear of the operating room."
Andrea started chemotherapy. It was a very difficult time, physically and emotionally. She wore a breast prosthesis and did her best to return to her normal, active life. Eventually, she started to think about breast reconstruction, even with her past surgical experiences looming large in her mind.
After some research, Andrea connected with Franciscan Plastic Surgery in Lakewood and her first reconstructive surgery was soon scheduled at nearby St. Clare Hospital.
She says the care she received was in such stark contrast to her previous hospital stays that she was inspired to write multiple cards of thanks when she got home.
"The same standard and quality of care I found with my doctors, I found with every person involved in my care during my hospital stay, from pre-op through discharge," Andrea explains. "I felt like I was the only patient there. It was astounding to me, as the patient, and also to my family and visitors."
In January 2011, Andrea returned to St. Clare for her second reconstructive procedure. To her surprise and delight, the doctors and many members of her original care team convened again to see her through it.
"I think it was a divine arrangement that brought me to St. Clare Hospital," Andrea says. "I was fragile and I needed special care. I found something extraordinary here, and I feel truly blessed."