Laurie Rubinchak

After having watched my grandmother battle breast cancer, and ultimately lose her life to it when I was 9, it has always been a cause very close to my heart. I grew up knowing the signs to watch for in my own body and was established with a breast surgeon in VA where I lived the majority of my life. After being diagnosed with many cysts, I discovered a new lump which to me, seemed different. My VA surgeon assured me it was yet another cyst and they would follow up with me again in 6 months.

During that time my husband’s job called our family to move to the Augusta area. By the time we were settled, and I started establishing appointments with new doctors, a year had gone come and gone. I was referred to Dr. Karen Yeh by my new gynecologist to follow up about my lump.

After having been reassured by my breast surgeon in VA, I wasn’t worried when I went to meet Dr. Yeh. She did send me to get another ultrasound. Even when I had the ultrasound done, I was assured that it looked ok and appeared to be just a cyst. Dr. Yeh called to follow up and let me know she wanted it biopsied just to be safe.

To all other doctors I had consulted with up until that point, I appeared to be a healthy young 33-year-old woman for whom having another cyst was far more likely than a cancerous tumor. Looking back, I felt like I wasn’t worth the additional testing nuisance, time and costs. I thank God for Dr. Yeh’s persistence, she treated me for the person, mother, wife and friend that I am and above all else, she didn’t want to take any chances with my life. It was discovered that it had indeed been breast cancer all along and thanks to her it was caught at stage 2b and was able to be successfully treated.

I had my mastectomy and the majority of my reconstructive surgeries at University Hospital. The nursing staff was always exceptional, and I was fortunate enough to have a fellow 20+ year survivor as my nurse for one of my stays. She was so positive and encouraging, and as a survivor, there is nothing more inspiring than seeing a fellow survivor so many years out.

University’s Breast Health Center was also of great comfort to me. Being new to the area at the time Melissa Manley welcomed me (and my young daughter) into the center and made sure that every aspect of care was tended to. I also found the availability of the support group, Pink Pistols to be invaluable. There is an instant bond you find with fellow survivors that means so much, especially when you’re in an area so far from your own family and friends.

University Healthcare System is the best in the area for a reason. Above all else, it puts the patient’s care first. It goes above and beyond the basic needs of patients and ensures that they are fully cared for in every aspect.

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