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The Sharp Experience from the other side

By The Health News Team | September 23, 2021
Shannon Low, case manager at Sharp Rees-Stealy

After her cancer treatment, Shannon Low continues to laugh and enjoy life to the fullest. She recently went to the U.S. Open Tennis Championships in New York City.

Shannon Low has two reasons to celebrate with Sharp HealthCare: First, she is about to mark her 10-year work anniversary as a case manager with the Sharp Rees-Stealy Inpatient Case Management Department. But perhaps even more celebration-worthy is her good health, achieved after receiving several months of extraordinary care at Sharp last year.

It was Halloween 2019 and while everyone hopes to receive one of the holiday’s treats, Shannon will tell you her experience felt far more like a cruel trick. She was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer after a routine mammogram and biopsy. Shortly after, it was discovered she also had thyroid cancer.

What followed for Shannon were several months of treatment, including more than four months of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, partial thyroidectomy, and breast reconstruction surgery. She credits everyone at several Sharp facilities for her full recovery.

From the teams at the Laurel Amtower Cancer Institute and Neuro-Oncology Center, the Kevin H. Cook Infusion Center and the Outpatient Surgery Center at Sharp Memorial Outpatient Pavilion, to the Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group endocrinology, oncology, surgery and ENT specialists, as well as those on the observation floor at Sharp Memorial Hospital, Shannon offers each and every one of them her extreme gratitude for the exceptional care she was given.

Living The Sharp Experience as employee and patient
“I truly received The Sharp Experience,” says Shannon, a registered nurse and certified case manager. “My Sharp family took amazing care of me.”

Shannon notes that while being a Sharp employee certainly has its benefits — both at work and while receiving care — she feels confident that everyone would receive the same level of attention, compassion and expertise as she did at Sharp.

“What a difference it is on the other side as a patient,” she says. “But I always knew I was in good hands. I'm just in awe of the incredible group of doctors, nurses and staff we have here at Sharp. The most difficult thing I have ever gone through went seamlessly thanks to them, and now I am a cancer survivor!”

Laughter really is the best medicine
Looking back, Shannon admits that a cancer diagnosis and going through treatment is terrifying, especially during a pandemic, but she also remembers some of her experience fondly. She specifically notes the constant support of her colleagues, the handmade blanket given to her by a volunteer when she had her mastectomy, and the laughs she had with one special member of the interventional radiology (IR) team as he placed her port catheter to receive chemotherapy.

“One of the guys in IR was looking at my wrist band while I was waiting for my procedure,” Shannon recalls. “He then said what I heard to be, ‘You have cancer.’ And I said, ‘Yes, I have cancer,’ a bit confused about why he wouldn’t already know that. ‘No,’ he said with a smile. ‘You are born on June 26th and are a Cancer like me.’ We laughed and laughed. I decided then that laughing felt much better than crying.”

And Shannon continues to laugh and enjoy life to the fullest. Along with being back to work, she is safely traveling and spending time with her son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren in Austin — “making up for the year apart,” she says. She also recently went to the U.S. Open Tennis Championships in New York City.

“I truly feel so lucky and blessed,” she says. “It was a battle, but I'm tough and I made it through. And I am so thankful to my Sharp medical team and all the Sharp employees who took care of me and touched my heart throughout the whole process.”

Learn about life after a cancer diagnosis at a free online class for patients and their loved ones. This webinar is designed to help patients with cancer and their loved ones learn about coping, adjusting and growing as they move into the world of survivorship.

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