Angie Evans had never been one for doctors.
“I was raised to take care of things at home,” says Evans, a 38-year-old Ambrose woman.
But last fall, a host of minor health concerns prompted her to schedule some long-overdue appointments.
“I had some back pain and was falling a lot,” she says. “I also had some acne that I wanted to take care of, and a few moles I wanted to have looked at.”
After an appointment with her primary care provider, she was referred to a dermatologist and a neurologist. Those appointments may have saved her life.
“The dermatologist and neurologist both saw a bulge in my neck that they were concerned about,” says Evans. After a biopsy and CT scan, Evans learned the bulge was cancer. She was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“It was a whirlwind,” says Evans. “I thought my biggest problem was acne.”
Looking back, Evans realizes that she had been having two classic symptoms of Hodgkin’s lymphoma: itching and night sweats.
“I thought I just had dry skin and attributed the night sweats to running our heater,” says Evans, who was referred to Asit Jha, M.D., for treatment.
“Dr. Jha is one of the best cancer doctors in our area,” says Evans. “He is so personable and he really listens to you.”
Dr. Jha set up a treatment plan for Evans based on guidelines from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.
“The guidelines are evidenced-based, which means that research has shown they are the most effective,” says Angie Adams, a nurse practitioner who helps care for Dr. Jha’s patients.
Evans had four rounds of chemotherapy, followed by 14 radiation treatments at the Ambulatory Infusion Center in Waycross. Staff there helped Evans prepare for the potential side effects of treatment.
“They told me I might lose my hair, and I did,” she says. “That was very hard for me. You don’t realize how much your hair means to you until you lose it. For women, your hair is your glory.”
Follow-up tests have shown Evans is cancer-free. She credits her faith and her health care team with getting her through a challenging time in her life.
“I’m a Christian, and I wouldn’t have made it through this without my walk with Jesus,” she says. “And I was blessed with wonderful health care. The connection to Mayo was very reassuring.”
Dr. Jha appreciates the connection, too.
“Patients get the best of both worlds,” he says. “They like to receive treatment in their hometown without sacrificing quality. The best cancer care is provided by a team of professionals working together for the patient. Mayo exemplifies this concept.”