Susan Alban’s Story: "Because of GBMC, I Am Cancer-Free"
I joined the GBMC family on September 14, 1987 as a laboratorian. If you know anything about laboratorians, you know that we are a “behind the scenes” type of people. We love and care for our patients with the same compassion and dedication as others in the hospital, just from the comfort of the laboratory. Most of us don’t venture out unless we have to, so we miss the opportunity to see our other GBMC family members.
In the spring of 2013, I was led to find out more about my cousins -- the cousins by blood on my father’s side of my family and those here in my GBMC family. In April 2013, I was diagnosed with Lynch syndrome, a genetic predisposition to a variety of cancers, with colon and endometrial being the most prevalent, and a lifetime risk between 60- 80 percent. Lynch gave me a bridge of communication to my “blood” cousins, some of whom I had never met, so I am thankful for that since the syndrome has already wiped out the two previous generations and half of mine.
Lynch also gave me the chance to meet many of my GBMC cousins! Christy Haakonsen in the genetics center broadened my knowledge and helped me decide on a prophylactic hysterectomy, and that led me to meet Dr. Francis Grumbine for my surgery. Then, because we found cancer, I was able to meet Dr. Paul Celano and the awesome team in the Sandra & Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute when I went for chemotherapy. And, because I wanted to know everyone I possibly could, I was fortunate enough to meet Dr. Geoffrey Neuner and the friendly gang in Radiation Oncology!
It has been quite a journey these last two years, but I would not have wanted to experience it anywhere but here. My coworkers were so supportive, filling in for me where they could, donning hats the first day after I shaved my head, learning more about Lynch or just having a friendly smile when I needed it most! I have been here at GBMC for over half my life and am very thankful for the ability to provide for my family through working here and for the great team who has helped me to become cancer-free! I would not have wanted to be anywhere else! Thank you, my GBMC family!
I may never be fully out of the watchful eye of the docs here at GBMC because of my Lynch syndrome. But, because I am currently cancer-free and feeling stronger every day, I am able to continue my journey as part of the GBMC family, providing excellent care so others may continue to have successful stories!