Nurse practitioner finds perfect match in choosing rural care for cancer diagnosis

Posted by Michele Denial, N.P.
January 21, 2014

Denial Michele standingwebAs a clinician, research tells us that patients are most comfortable receiving care close to where they live and work. Since I live in a larger community (Eau Claire, Wis.), yet practice medicine in a small, rural community (Barron, Wis.), initially choosing where to go for my own breast cancer surgery wasn’t that simple.

I chose care in Barron — not because I had any doubts about the care I’d get at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire; I know I would have received excellent care there. I chose Barron, in part, because of what my own patients had told me about their experiences. But, it wasn’t until my family got involved that I knew I’d made the perfect match.

I’ve been a health care provider in Barron for several years and have sent a number of my own patients to Christa Mars, M.D., general surgeon. My patients reported her to be thorough, compassionate and detailed. While making my decision where to go, I did my own research, as patients often do, and found she had credentials above and beyond what was needed to perform the type of surgery required to tackle my cancer diagnosis. That was reassuring.

Dr. Mars spent the time my family and I, including our 14-year-old son, needed to understand the surgery, the cancer, the options, future treatment, testing and more. Once my husband met her, he was “pro” coming to Barron Denial Michele sittingwebfor surgery, daily hospital visits and post-op visits. Not the most convenient, considering an hour drive each way.

Even my parents wondered why I would drive to Barron with the “big Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire just five miles from your house.” Once they came with me to my two-week follow-up appointment and met Dr. Mars and all the staff, they got it. They loved the clinic! My parents are from Erie, Penn. (population 150,000) and are used to getting care at the well-known, large Cleveland Clinic.

My patients also had told me about the excellent care they had received from the surgery team to the recovery room nurses, hospital nurses, social workers, physical therapists, and radiology and lab technicians. I, too, experienced this and am so grateful for the wonderful care I received. Everyone was top notch. I couldn’t have asked for better care anywhere.

It was an excellent choice and the perfect match.

I’m now continuing my cancer care in Barron. Watch for my next blog, sharing my experiences of going through recovery.

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Comments (2)

Michele, I don't know how I missed this! What a great blog about your journey! XOXO

Kim - 05/03/2014

Kudos, Michele! Thank you for verbalizing the power of confidence in medical care providers infuses to create successful outcomes, regardless of clinic/hospital size. My mother chose a surgeon who had never performed a pheochromocytoma resection to remove her tumor for this exact reason-confidence, honesty, and trust. We had the same reaction your family did to your choice to receive care in a smaller facility. Her faith in our general surgeon did indeed hold true. She recovered from the procedure well without complications. Let this be a lesson to us all...relationship with our patients and colleagues matter each and every day. I look forward to your blog entries.

Mary Sebas - 02/02/2014

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