Thanks for reading! I look forward to updating you each week on the wonderfully brave, honest and inspiring young adult patients and families I have come to know here at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Caner Center (UMGCC). I will also share stories about the fabulous staff and physicians I get to work with each day.
Cancer and I go way back to 1984 when I was in third grade and diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma. My tumor was located in my face and I had a year of chemotherapy, a few months of radiation and four surgeries. I was very fortunate to be cared for by an expert team at Children’s National Medical Center and George Washington Hospital in Washington, D.C. Some of the things that happened to me will be very similar to what the young adults I work with experience and some will be completely different. After all, how you view the world when you are eight is pretty different from when you are 18 or 28 or 38, but puking your guts out and deciding what how or if to cover your bald head is no fun at any age.
At the UMGCC I support the Ulman Fund’s mission by work in conjunction with the Cancer Center’s multi-disciplinary treatment teams, social work staff and other care providers to improve the ability of young adults to manage their own cancer experiences and long-term cancer survival. The program is designed for those cancer patients and survivors between the ages of 18 and 40 in any phase of their cancer treatment and survivorship. As a patient navigator I assist young adults and their families with a wide range of concerns, including:
- Access to support resources tailored specifically to young adults
- Information about cancer, treatment options and lifelong implications of treatment choices
- Assistance in communicating with the individual’s medical care team
- Counseling about fertility preservation and related issues
- Life resources, including college scholarships designed especially for young adult cancer survivors
I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Northwestern University (Chicago is a fun city but way too cold for way too long for my tastes!) and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore (just across the street from the Cancer Center!). Prior to joining the UCF in 2004, I was involved in Baltimore’s Safe & Sound Campaign/ Success By 6® Partnership, coordinating maternal and child health intervention projects and research at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
I am a member of the Maryland Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan’s Patient Issues and Survivorship Committee, as well as the LIVESTRONG Young Adult Alliance’s Standards Task Force. I am also the daughter of two cancer survivors, the proud mother of two VERY active and curious little boys, and a huge cat lover (I have four!).
Thanks again for reading and don’t forget to check back next week.