Retired 911 operator Joyce Severns has been a patient at Tri-Valley since September 2002. Severns, who calls herself “The little old lady from Pasadena,” discovered a lump on her breast during a self exam at home. When told of her diagnosis, she reacted by saying, “Give me anything you got” because “I have too many things to do” and “dying is not an option.”
After returning from a seminar about a new chemotherapy drug indicated for breast cancer called Herceptin, office manager and head nurse Stella Ortiz insisted on changing her regimen to include it. For a seven year period, Joyce remained cancer free. Unfortunately, her breast cancer returned in 2009. Fortunately, Dr. Ashwin Kashyap and Stella who attended an oncology seminar in New Orleans, Louisiana felt that Joyce was the perfect candidate for a new study by Genentech, a biotechnology corporation which she successfully completed. To this day, Joyce remains cancer free.
After ten years as our patient, Joyce is cancer free and shares that “There is light at the end of the tunnel” and “the only option you should have is to recover and survive.” She advises anyone going through cancer to “continue with your hobbies and don’t let it interrupt your life.” If cancer was a person she would say to him or her, “We don’t negotiate! You can do whatever you want to me but down the line we will overcome cancer.” She adds, “Live everyday to its fullest, for tomorrow is never promised!”
Kevin Salyers, a scientist at Amgen, became concerned when discovering a swollen lymph node in his neck. He immediately saw an ENT who recommended a CT scan. Therefore, Kevin checked himself in Los Robles Hospital where they diagnosed him with non small cell lung cancer in August 2010.
As an employee at Amgen, Kevin was fortunate to work with others from Amgen who are knowledgeable of clinical trials at Cedars Sinai Medical Center. Kevin was seen by Dr. Ronald Natale, but as a working man, it was difficult for Kevin to go to Cedars Sinai for repeat treatments but he was happy to know that the Doctors and Dr. Natale were willing to work together.
Furthermore, Kevin is currently on three chemo therapeutics and feels that the nurses and staff at Tri-Valley “make the office” and enjoys coming in on a regular basis because “It’s local and Dr. Palmer was willing to work with other oncologists.” Adding, “It is through teamwork, you can really get somewhere.”
Kevin’s best advice for others going through any type of chemotherapy or treatment is to become knowledgeable about the condition and treatment. Furthermore, he suggests it is “a whole lot of attitude” and personally feels he has “a fantastic support system at home” and adds, “My belief in God, is really important to me.” Kevin suggests that one retain their normal schedule if possible. “It’s not about sitting down and saying you’ve had enough.” “You can do it! You can beat this! There’s no giving up or giving in.”
Severns and Salyers interviews conducted by Venessa Burkley.
P.O : On behalf of my family, Shirley, and I, thank you for the love, kindness, and care you have extended since May. Shirley and I know you saved, or at least extended her life. For that, you should be proud and we are grateful. I have friends who have been cursed with cancer. Some of them went to great lengths to get name brand, i.e., UCLA, USC, and there well known cancer treatment centers. None have faired as well as Shirley did under your care. The care, guidance, counseling, and love we experienced from you were extraordinary. Like your colleagues at Los Robles, you are gifted with hands that are gentle, caring, and surely washed with tears of God.
S.W: Thank you for always being caring and kind when I came in for appointments. My insurance coverage changed so I won’t be able to continue with your office but I really appreciate all you did for me.
A.L: Thank you all for being such a huge part of my mother’s life. You were all friends, our family and a wonderful support system. We loved catching up with what people did over the weekend. We loved hearing about people’s families and holiday plans. You made us feel important and cared for. Thank you for always being just a phone call away.
P.J: Thank you so much for being so kind and helpful. We really appreciate everything that you have done it makes a big difference knowing we could always put our trust in you both.
M.H: Thank you for taking care of Todd and always spending the time explaining everything to me. I truly appreciated all that you’ve done.
S.P: Thank you for being the best around. Dr. Kashyap is a wonderful doctor, you all do outstanding work. Thanks for making chemo comfortable.
D.H & A.D: your kindness is very much appreciated.
E.Y: Our family would like to express our gratitude for the care you gave our mother. We appreciate the kindness you gave her, and all the trips to the hospital to visit her: she was very fond of you. With warm thanks, grateful hearts and deep appreciation for all you have done.
A.F: Thank you for the kind and caring way you took care of our mother. She could be a little pistol and she really adored you. The spark is gone from our family… Thank you for your gentle soul.
J.R: Thank you to such a wonderful group. Everyone here is, am, are, be such helpful and cheerful professional, when I come here it’s so hard to leave. Thanks for all your help.
E.N. & S.N: thank you all for all your help in getting through the past few months. You took a lot of time and were very patient in helping us understand my cancer and all the treatment involved. You and your office staff are very professional, yet so compassionate and competent. All of you made it easy for Eric and me to get through chemotherapy treatment. We are so blessed to have found such a wonderful office staff. Much appreciation from the both of us.
R.J: I wanted to tell all of you thank you for my husband ken during his fight against cancer. He lost the fight Nov 11th to say thank you. You made both of us feel like we were special and truly cared for and about by all.
R.L: As you know, my husband passed away on March 26th by those who loved him and went peacefully. I want to thank you and your dedicated staff for everything you did for him during his illness. I appreciate all you did to keep him pain free so he could have as good as a quality of life as he did for the past 7 months. Even as the end of his life was nearing, he did not seem to suffer very much. Please express my gratitude to all your staff, especially to Nora and Stella who were always patient, pleasant and conscientious when ever we were in your office for blood work or treatments. I also want to thank you for handling Wayne as well as you did when it came to discussing his prognosis with him. As you know, he did not want to know how serious his condition was and continued to have hope until the end. I’m very grateful for that.
J.J: Thank you for all your care and help. I really appreciated it very much.
R.M: Thank you so much for your patience with my phone calls and getting some of the records faxed so my treatment was not interrupted( my prescription was about to expire) Can’t imagine how difficult this is for your patients in the middle of chemo. The doctor I saw is leaving in a few months to sign on at your office. Anyways thanks again. Take care of yourself.
A.G: I hope you have received the edible fruit basket we sent you. We just want you to know how much we truly appreciate your time and consultation. You gave my dad added strength and hope. We all look forward to his visit with you.
SR. L.M: Thank you so much for all of your time and attention you gave to Lauren during her medical crisis over this past year. As a parent, it was very difficult to be so far away during this time but after meeting with you I knew that she would be in good hands.
L.M: Thank you very much for taking care of me this year. It was hard being away from home during everything that happened, but I felt comfortable knowing you would be there if I needed anything. Thank you
D.G: Your incredible staff love what you’ve done with the place. Looks great. A new look a new beginning. Same new faces, but the best most caring people I know. Thank you all for everything you do to make your patients lives better. Best wishes for 2009. You all have been so kind to both of us. I had at home. He was surrounded continued growth and keep on doing it. A great job each and every day.
P.S: the health care provider team who is taking care of Priscilla enabled her to be in a better physical health. The hard work and professionalism that Tri Valley Oncology staff invested in her care has dramatically improving her health. Additionally, there are other staff who continue their best support for her well being but she couldn’t remember all their names. Please pardon her because of her chemo brain as she puts it. We also want to thank Stella for being patient filling out her disability and insurance claim forms. We greatly appreciate your understanding. Again, we deeply appreciate everyone’s efforts and support during our difficult times. We specially thank Doctor Kashyap for his professionalism and dedication to his profession in treating Priscilla and other patients. We pray that you are in good health and have the wisdom and courage to continue your
A.G: I am sorry that sea view has not renewed the contract with you. I wish to thank you and your staff for your expertise, knowledge and friendship. I would so wish to continue to be your patient.
B.T: God bless you for all your help. I can be a handful…ha. Life is a gift and I am blessed to have wonderful people like you around me to help my life.
J.G.: We want to say Thank you to the Tri-Valley Oncology Team. Dr. Kashyap and the girls in the office have done a fantastic job with my mother C.G. Not only have you given her and us the gift of life, you have inspired her to fight. Making her even more spunky than she has ever been. You have taken her in as she was one of your own, and for that we thank you. We hope that you continue to be blessed and that you continue to be caring and inspiring with all of your patients as you have been with mom.