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Breast cancer survivors like hospital’s program

Those who handle the exacting breast cancer program at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital think it is a major reason for the county’s high detection rate for the disease.

Two survivors who went through the program herald it as well, although one found certain aspects just not for her. Still, the pair has an overall good grade for the treatment they received.

Cindy Parker of Rough and Ready and Melissa Blackwell of Grass Valley are both 53, and are now breast cancer survivor pals. Blackwell and Parker began walking their dogs together after Blackwell quit a hospital cancer group, “because I didn’t feel it addressed what I was going through.”



So she turned to Parker and a personal therapist for the mental and emotional aspects of the disease. Parker remembered how she had felt when first diagnosed and her information soothed Blackwell.

On the other hand, Parker is an unabashed proponent of the program, particularly Pat Donnelly’s La Loba Support Group. Donnelly runs the hospital’s breast imaging center and holds the group in her home.




“You can talk with other women who have gone through the same thing,” Parker said. “It really helped me.”

Blackwell got chemotherapy at the hospital and was very afraid of radiation treatments.

“The technicians were all really helpful. I was surprised how good it was because our hospital doesn’t always have the best reputation,” Blackwell said.

“Their job just isn’t to run the machines,” Blackwell said. “It’s also to make you feel better.”

According to Parker, “the people there were just wonderful and tried to offset the dehumanizing parts of the treatment. They do a lot to try to minimize your stress.”

At one point, volunteers from a local massage school were brought in, Parker said. For her it was particularly good because her muscles were taut because of fear and treatments.

The hospital cancer center also has a great lending library, Parker said.

“There’s books about treatment, diet and inspirational books that helped quite a lot.”


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