Marianne Kramer

I was diagnosed with stage 3 triple negative breast cancer in October 2011, and after a double mastectomy with positive lymph nodes, I had to face what I feared and despised the most: Treatment that included chemotherapy. Probably not unlike any other cancer patient, I was by no means comfortable with this option. In fact, I was adamantly against it as I had sadly lost too many family members to cancer who were so weakened and emaciated from “chemo” to make the most of their remaining days. I was determined that this would not be how my story would go. My breast surgeon was aware of my fears and feelings, and in his appeal to convince me that chemo was worth considering given its response to my type of cancer, he suggested that I explore The Block Center as it was more aligned with my philosophies on strengthening your system and treating the whole person – body, mind, and spirit.

My fears were quickly replaced by love and nurturing. From my very first consultation at The Block Center, I knew my surgeon steered me to the right place. The idea of having a whole-team approach to my treatment was both supportive and comforting. I was so impressed on that first day at how well prepared everyone was about my case, and it was evident that they knew my history and concerns and were on the same page with the path forward. The attention they gave to my husband, Chuck, was also impressive. They genuinely cared as much about him and how he was managing through this as they did me. I really wasn’t expecting to have such a full range of experts helping me and my family. In addition to the great medical team, The Block Center had bio-behavioral specialists, dieticians, and a full team of caring professionals.

I was comforted on my first day of chemo by the thorough explanations of what to expect as well as the genuine understanding and care I received from the team. After a day of treatment, nourishment, and relaxation, I left feeling physically amazing. I was stunned at how calm, yet energetic I felt. I remember saying that it was almost as good as a day at the spa…I was only missing a pedicure! As I waited the next few days for the shoe to drop, expecting to feel sick and miserable, it never happened. Not even a wave of nausea. And it continued that way throughout my remaining treatments. I felt well and began to get a bit annoyed with people who would say things like, “Oh, you look so good for being sick” because I was certainly anything but sick…in fact, I felt the healthiest I’d ever been.

The most amazing part of being treated at The Block Center is that I was able to do what I had hoped for the most: Continuing with my routine as normally as possible. Cancer certainly changed who I am and how I view many things in my life, but it did not prevent me from living my life and being a mom to my kids who were 8 and 10 at the time. I was able to give my family a new face of cancer: One of health and vitality.

Secondly, and equally important, is that the team at The Block Center surrounded me with love, support, and resources for wellness and healing, unlike any other experience I’ve heard from any fellow cancer survivor treated elsewhere. At every turn, I was fully prepared on the physical side with what to expect and given tactics on how to mitigate various side effects. Spiritually and emotionally, I was surrounded in hope and inspiration. And the care and support from The Block Center continues, now 6 years later.

I am so grateful to my surgeon for urging me to explore my options at the Block Center, and am indebted to Dr. Block and his team and blessed by the wonderfully positive experience and outcome that I receive under his care. I urge anyone who is facing cancer to explore The Block Center. You too, may be choosing to release the fear for a path of love and life with The Block Center.

Submitted on 01/03/18 by Marianne Kramer, Block Center Patient