Rhonda, Breast Cancer Survivor

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Thriving after cancer

Three years ago Cedar Rapids resident Rhonda Lichnerowicz endured her roughest year to date. Early in the year she lost her job after the company she worked for closed following the flood. A month later she received more devastating news.

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer,” said Lichnerowicz. “I found a lump and tests revealed a tumor. It was a hard year for me with losing my job and the unexpected breast cancer diagnosis. You just don’t think it can get any worse. It was a very rough time.”

In March, 2009 Lichnerowicz had a double mastectomy. She also went through weeks of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

“I gained about 50 pounds from the medications, steroids and stress,” recalled Lichnerowicz. “I was not happy and lacked confidence.”

Survivorship program

As part of her ongoing treatment Lichnerowicz meets with her oncologist every three months. It’s part of a Helen G. Nassif Community Cancer Center of Iowa survivorship program that aims to provide quality long-term follow-up care for cancer survivors.

“Cancer patients want to know how to remain healthy,” said Amy Ganske, Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa nurse practitioner. “In the Survivorship Clinic we address any side effects they still may be experiencing, symptoms of cancer recurrence and additional screenings they may need. Additionally we address the emotional, financial and social issues that have resulted because of the cancer diagnosis.”

“All of these programs are wonderful,” said Lichnerowicz. “I kind of think they saved me. I can’t convey enough how wonderful they are. I participate in several nutrition and exercise programs, including Zumba, which is like a moving support group!”

“Rhonda has truly taken a stand for her health and is focused on staying healthy,” said Ganske.

“I’m more in control now,” said Lichnerowicz. “I’ve lost about 50 pounds and intend to keep losing. I feel the best I’ve felt in a long time.”

“Rhonda is focused on staying healthy. “These programs will help her get to the next level,” said Ganske. (See Rhonda in action).

Helen G. Nassif Community Cancer Center of Iowa Cancer survivorship program includes:

  • Social work/counseling
  • Body Image and sexuality
  • Exercise
  • Nutrition services
  • Spiritual support
  • Cancer Risk Assessment Services
  • Tobacco cessation
  • Palliative care

For a same-day consult guarantee to the area’s only physician-lead, patient-focused Community Cancer Center, call (319) 558-4876.

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