"I can't imagine life without music, literature, great friends and laughter."
By Rhayne, Patient, John C. Lincoln Breast Health and Research Center
When I was two years old, my daddy started taking me into The Baby Grand blues bar in Harlem, New York, where I would sit next to the jukebox and memorize all the songs. I have been a musician ever since. For most of my life, I've been performing, touring and singing in venues around this country and the world.
Forty years after embracing life as a musician, at my husband's insistence, I started writing, expressing myself with encouraging words, funny thoughts and new ideas. My life's goal is to "heal every heart through laughter, no matter what you may be going through or where you may be in your life journey."
Today, I can't imagine life without music, literature, great friends and laughter.
That's why I love John C. Lincoln and Linda Greer, MD, medical director of the Breast Health and Research Center. The first time I met her, I'd been sent by a Phoenix breast surgeon (Dr. Rollercoaster!) to get a suspicious lump in my breast diagnosed. I was one of the first to get 3-D mammography, which was followed by a breast MRI and ultrasound.
The breast center's state-of-the-art technology also played a big part in my trust that I would be just fine. I am a 1960's girl so I can remember vividly the old machines, needles and other scary stuff that my doctors used back then, things that only added anxiety to already stressful situations.
The fact that all of the breast center's modern equipment was under one roof gave me a sense of satisfaction that everyone involved was very familiar with how each piece worked, so there wouldn't be any mishaps due to lack of knowledge.
The ultrasound, MRI, biopsy and 3-D machines had the look and color of sleek Scandinavian furniture instead of the old fashioned dark and heavy torture equipment I remember from childhood that loomed over you like a mad scientist. Don't get me wrong — it was the best we had back then and it certainly did the trick, but it was still scary.
My first impression of Dr. Greer? I thought she was hilarious. Dr. Greer made the biopsy process as easy as one could be because, in some wacky way, she made it seem fun. Another staff member rubbed my back while I laid there, and when I told Dr. Greer I hoped she hadn't had any wine before operating that machine, she threw her head back and laughed like we were at a comedy show! She laughed like it was Saturday Night Live, not a doctor doing an ultrasound diagnosing my breast cancer. She made me feel so comfortable, so safe.
I also told her that the biopsy was getting in the way of my performance on Dancing with the Stars and my photo shoot for Hugh Hefner. Again, we laughed liked we were on a social brigade. There was no doubt: I knew I was in great hands. I was blessed: My cancer was caught at Stage 1 and all I needed was a lumpectomy and eight weeks of radiation therapy.
Even though my home is in Las Vegas, I actually spent most of 2011 with very gracious friends in Scottsdale, so I was able participate in everything I could think of. Paulla Miller, the Breast Center's Education and Outreach Coordinator, was always suggesting something. So I took yoga classes, stayed at the extremely lovely Editha House, attended anything that offered food, read all of the support group stuff. Everything was helpful. It not only gave me information, but it gave me many more friendships and social avenues. Thanks to the John C. Lincoln team, I was well aware of all of my choices so I was prepared for any and every angle.
After I returned home, I drove back from Las Vegas to speak to the Young Survival Coalition and attended many talks and panels, including one specifically with breast center Medical Director Linda Greer, to get more information. Dr. Greer is an absolutely wonderful friend, an amazing lady with an amazing team and it is a friendship circle that provides great care but almost isn't clinical. They are definitely like family to me.
People greet you with "Hey! What are you up to?" They really care. I feel embraced and there is no doubt that when I am in their company that's where I'm supposed to be — and that makes a huge difference. When I go back to the Breast Health Center, it's social time with old friends, not undergoing a stressful experience.
I believe that together we can change the world, carry all loads, support each other and enjoy all that has been given to us unselfishly — that we are part of something far greater than ourselves as individuals. That is the spirit I feel when I visit Dr. Greer and her team at the breast center. When I think about her, I can hear her laughing, which explains why — when I've made sure Dr. Greer is going to be there — I travel from my home in Las Vegas to get my mammograms at John C. Lincoln Breast Health and Research Center. I always switch dates to be sure I can see her. I wouldn't have it any other way.
I would never wish "C" on anyone but if someone has to go through it I highly recommend Dr. Linda Greer and her outstanding staff!