When faced with a life-altering cancer diagnosis, our paths often take unexpected turns. However, every individual’s journey through cancer is unique and can be a powerful source of inspiration that shapes who we become.
Meet Karen Parchman Diaz, a cancer survivor and woman of faith who understands the transformative power of hope and inspiration. This dedicated wife and mother of two credits the new Radiation Oncology Centre (ROC) at Health City Cayman Islands with saving her life.
Karen’s Cancer Journey Begins
In July 2022, the 59-year-old began experiencing severe chest pain while cleaning her home. Initially fearing a heart attack, she consulted her doctor on her son’s advice. “I was telling [my doctor] how I was feeling, and I mentioned [that] I have had this lump in my breast for a while. As a precaution, they sent me for a mammogram and an ultrasound. Lo and behold, I discovered I had cancer within a week,” she explained.
Following successful surgery at Health City Cayman Islands, Karen was presented with two radiation treatment options:
1. Seek expensive treatment overseas and miss six weeks of work.
2. Get treatment at Health City, the only comprehensive cancer treatment facility in Grand Cayman.
Determined to stay in Grand Cayman and inspired by the top-quality care her son receives for multiple sclerosis at Health City, Karen chose radiation treatment at Health City Camana Bay. The ROC’s state-of-the-art facilities, serene environment, and advanced care technology solidified her decision.
Embracing Resilience & Faith
The most challenging aspect for Karen, who has been married for nearly three decades, was sharing her diagnosis with her family, who initially feared the worst. “My children thought I was dying,” she recounted.
However, her resilient spirit and unwavering faith in God helped her commit to overcoming cancer: “It was not going to beat me. I was going to beat it. And that helped me. I prayed about it a lot. I asked God to give me grace and mercy for his healing.”
The Radiation Oncology Centre: A Personalised Approach
Through close collaboration, Karen and her oncology team designed a personalised treatment plan that combined cutting-edge technology and seamless processes and allowed her to continue working full-time. She typically fell asleep during each treatment session which lasted for less than an hour, minimising disruptions to her daily life. The support of her family and reassurances from her health care providers became a source of strength for Karen.
Initially hesitant about radiation therapy due to her aunt’s uncomfortable experience in 2011, Karen’s fears were alleviated by Dr Vikas Roshan, Senior Consultant Radiation Oncologist. He assured her that advancements in techniques had drastically reduced the painful discomfort previously associated with the procedure.
Dr. Vikas shared, “The Health City oncologists strategically employed state-of-the-art techniques for radiation therapy, including volume-modulated arc therapy (VMAT). This approach spared her lungs and her heart from unnecessary exposure.”
In addition, counseling sessions and the tranquil setting of the ROC, with its private suites for the family to visit, skylight, and garden views, provided Karen relaxation during her treatments.
Ringing the Bell
After four weeks of treatment, Dr. Vikas reported, “Miss Karen has completed her treatment and the team is optimistic that her cancer is under control.” Overcome with joy and relief, Karen – who is the first person to complete all cancer-related treatment on island at Health City – celebrated the end of her experience surrounded by loved ones and the medical team by ringing the Cancer Bell on July 4, 2023.
Dr. Vikas expressed his contentment that, “Since implementing these new procedures in May, patients have responded positively to the treatments.” Of 56 patients who have responded positively to radiotherapy, 40 have completed their treatment. “I am hopeful everything will be well for Karen when we do the follow-up scans post-radiation.”
Karen commended the hospital experience, giving it exceedingly high ratings for its overwhelmingly positive impact on her. She also expressed gratitude for the attentive care of the staff, who consistently monitored her well-being throughout her treatment journey.
To learn more about the radiotherapy services offered at Health City Camana Bay, visit https://healthcitycaymanislands.com/surgical-services/radiation-oncology.