In celebrating the opening of AAMC Pavilion – Easton, we caught up with three Eastern Shore patients – Mettah, Yvette and Bob – who have traveled over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge for Anne Arundel Medical Center services. With our recent growth into Easton in Talbot County, these residents are now able to receive the same quality care closer to home. Read their stories to learn about how our service expansion can positively impact those you love, too, just as it has for Mettah, Yvette and Bob.
Patient of AAMC’s Women’s Center for Pelvic Health and AAMC Orthopedics ► Visit their new Easton locations today
After retiring from her career as a human resources specialist for the federal government in 2004, Mettah Kollman and her husband moved from Laurel, Md., to the Eastern Shore. Mettah describes herself as a “frequent flyer” at Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC). To date, she’s had three knee replacements, a hip replacement, spine surgery, and most recently, pelvic floor reconstruction.
“For the nine months prior to pelvic surgery, I had continuous urinary tract infections (UTIs),” Mettah said. “I was dependent upon the various kinds of sanitary products designed for bladder leakage.”
This discomfort took its toll on 71-year-old Mettah, and she decided to get help.
Mettah can now enjoy her retirement and continue her interests without pain. Currently, she serves as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) to aid children who come into the court system due to parental neglect or abuse. She is also active in the Easton branch of the American Association of University Women, dotes on her three grandsons, enjoys a book club and plays bridge regularly.
Though Mettah hopes to avoid the need for further treatment, she feels comforted by the fact that AAMC specialists are no longer as far away and, instead, located nearby at the new AAMC Pavilion in Easton.
Yvette Foster Brown
Patient of AAMC’s Rebecca Fortney Breast Center and Anne Arundel Diagnostic Imaging ► Visit its new Easton location today
Yvette’s breast cancer journey began when she was in her mid-20s. “My mother, who was only 43, died from breast cancer in 1986.” Nearly 40 years later, Yvette found herself in the same position. After a routine mammogram at Anne Arundel Diagnostic Imaging (AADI), the imaging specialist referred her to the Rebecca Fortney Breast Center at AAMC in October 2017.
Yvette met with breast surgeon Dr. Lorraine Tafra and attended several consultations before undergoing a breast biopsy in November. “When I received the phone call from the breast surgeon to inform me of the biopsy results, I was devastated. My biopsy came back positive for cancer,” she recalled. At the age of 55, separated and living by herself, she was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) stage 3A breast cancer in January 2018.
A breast cancer nurse navigator aided Yvette as she began her journey. “She was very supportive. She made all my required lab and imaging appointments, discussed surgical options, and reviewed my treatment plan with me.”
In January 2018, Yvette had a mastectomy and d-flap breast reconstruction surgery with Dr. Tafra as well as Chief and Medical Director of Plastic Surgery Dr. Devinder Singh. “My four-day hospital stay was very pleasant. The nursing staff and nursing assistants were so nurturing. Since I live by myself, I had never been pampered so caringly and efficiently the way the hospital staff did. Even the hospital meals were delicious.”
In March, after recovering for several weeks, Yvette met with Dr. Carol Tweed to begin her 15 months of chemotherapy. “I was able to tour the AAMC Outpatient Infusion Therapy Center where I would receive my chemo treatments. The nursing staff at the infusion center are so nurturing and knowledgeable,” she said. “They make sure the infusion patients are comfortable while receiving their medications. They offer patients drinks, snacks, and blankets as well as lunch.”
Yvette reached out to a local breast cancer survivor group for support and advice. “Some women get their hair shaven off as a way of having some power or control over the chemo. Taking that advice, I went to a local hair salon and had my beautiful shoulder-length sister locks cutoff and scalp shaved bald,” she said. “I didn’t like looking in the mirror much after that. I purchased several wigs and I wore them even though they were uncomfortable.”
The treatment was agonizing both physically and mentally. There were times when Yvette admitted she wanted to give up, but stayed strong with the loving support from her daughter as her motivation. “She drove me to and from my appointments, did my grocery shopping, laundry, and cleaning for the first few months. Due to the loss of appetite during the early phases of the chemo, my weight decreased rapidly.”
In September, Yvette began six weeks of daily radiation treatments under the direction of Dr. Luqman Dad. “Having gone through my breast cancer journey in 2018 has made me a much stronger woman. I always considered myself confident, healthy, and independent, but never have I had to battle a life-challenging disease before and it was particularly scary knowing I would go through it alone,” she said. “I came through this journey with a newfound outlook on life and self-determination I didn’t know I had.”
Yvette completes her chemotherapy plan this May. Her fight continues with the daily dose of Tamoxifen for the next five years. “My breast cancer journey has made me a more confident woman and I have a much greater appreciation for my relationships with family, friends and work colleagues. I am so blessed and so grateful to the wonderful doctors, nurses, and assistants at AAMC. The staff are so nurturing and pleasant, which has made my breast cancer journey such a positive experience. Thank you, AAMC!”
William (Bob) Nelson
Patient of AAMG Physical Therapy and AAMC Orthopedics ► Visit their new Easton locations today
Kent Island resident and construction worker William (Bob) Nelson began April of 2018 just like any other month. Bob rode his motorcycle when the weather was nice, played the bass guitar with his band, and enjoyed spending time with his soon-to-be wife.
On April 11, this all changed when he injured himself on the job. “I went to the doctor’s office and they initially said it was a sprain and had me start physical therapy elsewhere.” After two months, Bob’s knee was not improving. He was still working, and each day was a struggle.
He received an X-ray and, upon review, the specialist determined surgery, in addition to physical therapy, might be the answer. His in-laws recommended Sports Medicine Specialist Dr. Benjamin Petre at Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC). “Since this was a workers’ compensation claim, I was able to choose my own doctor. I brought my MRI results to Dr. Petre and we set up a plan to start with physical therapy and a cortisone shot.”
Throughout the rest of the summer, Bob continued physical therapy twice a week. In September, he had surgery. Bob was unable to bear any weight for the first six weeks while recovering, then only 50 percent of his body weight for two more weeks. Afterwards, he returned to physical therapy and finished his series of visits at the end of February.
“My physical therapy was flawless from beginning to end. The equipment was up-to-date. The therapists were all knowledgeable and friendly. While I’m hoping I never have to go back for physical therapy, I would be quite happy to run into any of these people in the street and buy them a drink.”
The last week of March, Bob began regular duty again and is back out in the field. “While my knee is not entirely back to normal, as Dr. Petre said it would take almost a year, its better every day, and I’m able to get back to the job – and activities – I love.”