She’s Cancer-Free Thanks to Excellent, Coordinated Care
Thanks to coordinated care between MidMichigan Health and Michigan Medicine, Ronda Peters is cancer-free and is enjoying camping, crocheting and traveling with her husband.
In 2017, 59-year-old Ronda Peters had knee surgery. Following surgery, she suffered from hemorrhoids as a side effect. Her primary care doctor, Mark Ostahowski, M.D., prescribed her some medication that took care of the issue, but it returned again in the summer of 2018.
This time, Dr. Ostahowski scheduled Peters for an immediate colonoscopy. That very day, she was diagnosed with colon cancer.
“By the time I left the office after my colonoscopy, I was scheduled for a CT scan, a chest X-ray and blood work, all within the next 24 hours,” Peters said. She was referred to Colon and Rectal Surgeon Kristin Busch, M.D.
Dr. Busch performed a sigmoidoscopy, a procedure similar to a colonoscopy but that allows the surgeon to examine a different area of the colon. Peters also underwent an MRI. During all of this testing, she met the rest of her care team, including Medical Oncologist and Hematologist Thomas Regenbogen, M.D.
“Dr. Regenbogen met with me after all of the testing I had done, and gave me a diagnosis of Stage IV colon cancer,” Peters said.
After more testing, which included a PET scan and another MRI to determine the extent of the cancer, Peters found out she had two tumors on her liver and tiny lesions on her lungs in addition to the cancer in her colon. She started chemotherapy right away and also underwent radiation with Radiation Oncologist Mark Fireman, M.D.
In the meantime, Peters’ care team was meeting regularly to discuss her case. It was presented regularly at MidMichigan Health’s weekly cancer conference, which is held with physicians and cancer providers from across the health system as well as at Michigan Medicine, the health care division of the University of Michigan.
Eventually, it was determined that Peters needed surgery on her liver to remove the tumors. Thanks to chemotherapy, they had gotten small enough that they could be operated on. She was referred to Clifford Suhyun Cho, M.D., a surgeon at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He performed the surgery in November 2018. Following that, she had surgery on her colon in March 2019 performed at the University of Michigan by Colon and Rectal Surgeon Scott Regenbogen, M.D., and two additional surgeries with Dr. Cho.
"The coordination of care between MidMichigan Health and the University of Michigan was phenomenal,” said Peters. “I was told that my case was discussed many times at the cancer conference on Tuesdays and I felt they always had my best interests in mind. I felt like they truly cared about me. I wasn’t just a case.”
After Peters’ surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation, she was declared cancer-free. She is currently on a schedule to have scans every couple of months to keep a close eye on things, but for now, she’s enjoying camping with her husband, doing crafts and crocheting and is looking forward to traveling over the winter.
“My husband and I felt that my care team, both at MidMichigan Health and the University of Michigan, was top notch,” she said. “From the medical assistants to the doctors, surgeons, nurses and technicians, every single person took the time to explain everything they were doing and why and answer every question we might have.”
Peters said her entire experience was a good one. “Everyone cares about how you are doing and if there is anything they can do to make your life easier,” she said. “They were quick to recommend many resources available to cancer patients for things you might not even realize you need. They understand that you are probably in total shock at the diagnosis and take extra care to guide you along.”
Ronda Peters’ story is just one example of MidMichigan’s advanced technology and expertise for cancer treatment. Those who would like more information may visit www.midmichigan.org/cancer.