All In Good Time
Stoneleigh resident Rosemary Mukhopodhyay did not have time for cancer. In November 2015, the grandmother of two little girls, Sloan and Anika, was busy helping care for her granddaughters while her son and daughter-in-law worked fulltime. Meeting the school bus, hosting playdates and traveling with her husband Chirantan happily occupied most of Rosemary's time. And, Christmas was just around the corner.
A routine visit with her internist, Vincent DiPietro, MD, however, turned her world upside down. When he felt a lump in her breast, he immediately arranged to have her see the radiologist who had done her prior mammograms. Still reeling, Rosemary was soon told by the radiologist that she most likely did have cancer but it would be a week before she could be scheduled for a definitive biopsy.
"That is exactly 168 hours to wait and worry," says Rosemary. "I called Dr. DiPietro in tears and he immediately told me that a week's wait was unacceptable," "I'm calling Michael Schultz, the medical director of St. Joe's Breast Center right now and you will know your diagnosis in 24 hours." Rosemary was able to take advantage of Dr. Schultz's compassionate initiative, "No More Sleepless Nights," that ensures a woman has a biopsy, receives the news and has a plan moving forward in 24 hours. For this innovative program, Dr. Schultz received the 2011 Inspire Award from the Tigerlily Foundation, a national organization that supports women under the age of 40 with breast cancer.
"When Dr. Schultz called he didn't mince words. He said I had breast cancer but I will never forget his next three words: 'treatable, curable, livable.' That was sweet music to my ears. From then on, I knew I was going to be safe in Dr. Schultz's hands." Over the winter and spring of 2016, Rosemary underwent chemotherapy followed by a bi-lateral mastectomy and coincident breast reconstruction. She is now cancer-free and busier than ever with her family.
"There is so much more to the breast cancer experience than the clinical care," she says. "I feel so fortunate that Chirantan and I can make an annual gift to support the Geraldine G. Schultz Fund for Breast Cancer Survivors. This fund is going to support all the psycho-social needs that patients have, and we have many after hearing 'You have cancer.' It so beautifully embodies the loving care that I received from Dr. Schultz and everyone on his team. I'm thrilled that his model of care will reach so many others."