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A Life Saving Story

Going to work with pets concept: woman working at desktop computer with dog next to her. Top view of business woman at office desk and a staffordshire terrier puppy in her feet“Dear Office Manager of IGI and Central IL Endoscopy Center,
Your office… saved my life.

I am a 45 year old healthy female. I have had no symptoms of bowel problems.
I went to a family reunion this summer, and learned that my great grandmother passed away at age 43 of colon cancer. Her 3 sons also passed away of colon cancer at ages 54, 58, and 70. My cousin shared that she had a colon resection in her 50s due to polyps. This was all news to me, as my mom passed at age 60 of lung cancer. She had never shared with me the family medical history. I decided, reluctantly, to make an apt. with your office. I have referred patients to you, as I had heard very good things about several of your doctors. Now it was my turn. I met with Brynn, whom I adored, hoping that she would console me and tell me I would be okay. I was hoping I could get away with a Cologuard test. Nope. She informed me that the gold standard for those with family history of colon cancer is… a colonoscopy.

I have never had any surgeries, and am terrified of infections. I almost talked myself out of it, until I talked to Lorrie in the endoscopy center. She consoled me and told me the procedure is a breeze, very clean, great docs. She went back and found the nurse manager, Denise Sophanavong, who invited me graciously into her office along with nurse Silva (better than gold). They explained the procedure, the rigorous cleaning and sterilization techniques, and told me I could basically eat off of a colonoscope. 😉 So, I scheduled it, but only because of these people. Denise even gave me her card and told me to call her any time with questions.

I came in for the procedure and was so very impressed with the care, from front desk to recovery. The two front desk girls were sweet and helpful. The prep nurse was great. Dr. Camacho, who has a wonderful reputation for being thorough and excellent, was just that. And my recovery nurse, Lin Schmidt, was knowledgeable, gracious, kind, top notch.
I was expecting a clean bill of health. Not so much. I had eight, EIGHT, colon polyps, two pre-cancerous, and not small. I was, of course, terrified. I called Jessie, the MOA for Dr. Camacho, and she went above and beyond to get my biopsy results quickly and explain them to me. She was so amazing. Michelle Gillespie was also instrumental in helping me through this entire process. I know that had I waited another 5 years, those bad boys would have most likely been cancerous. My life would have looked very different. I had met with Jennifer Greenwood, again, amazing, about reflux issues and difficulty with swallowing pills. I had an endoscopy with Dr. Kuga, who has also received great praise. When I came in, Denise the nurse case manager did my intake/pre-op work up. I know she likely does not do this typically, but I think she did it for me because she knew how freaked out I was by 8 colon polyps.

The procedure was super easy. Dr. Kuga was patient and kind, and the nurse anesthetist, Michelle, was superb! I was found to have a polyp in my stomach. After consulting Dr. Google, I was certain I was going to die of stomach cancer. I am not proud to admit this, as my fear is not a good representation of my faith. But it gets the best of me. I called and spoke with Kathy Mohns, Dr. Kuga’s nurse. I have NEVER spoken with a nurse who was so compassionate and real. She stayed on the phone and talked with me through my fear. She was not overly clinical. She was like a friend. I was at work, and because of her I was able to deal with my fear through my day until she called me later and told me that the lab had graciously resulted my biopsy quickly and it was benign. Who does that? YOUR OFFICE! They all went above and beyond for a worrying patient. Again, I am not proud of myself for assuming the worst. I know God has a plan for me, no matter what I am diagnosed with. But, all that to say… I have never had such an amazing experience with an office.

That is why I am sitting here on a Saturday night typing this letter as my dog sits at my feet. Because you all deserve to know that you changed someone’s life. And quite possibly, saved it. God bless you all. Please know that you make a difference!! Please share this with your staff. I am sorry for not knowing the names of all those I had the privilege of meeting. Please keep doing with you are doing! I will recommend your office to everyone I meet. And, I have already had two friends who are getting colonoscopies because of my experience. God is good, all the time. If he can use me to help others, it was all worth it!!!

May God bless you all!!”

This is a letter that was sent to Central Illinois Endoscopy Center by a patient. The name of the patient has been removed to respect their privacy.

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