Deborah Williams, 60, is celebrating her first year as a breast cancer survivor. “It’s a hard journey, but before you know it, you are on the other side, and life almost gets back to normal,” she said.
Williams credits Deborah Douglas, M.D., director of the Metropolitan Methodist Hospital Breast Center, and Lorraine Infantino, BSN, MSN, RN, certified breast
patient navigator at the center, with guiding her on her journey. The center offers, free of charge, education, support and guidance to patients with breast cancer as they move through diagnosis and treatment to survivorship.
Diagnosed with breast cancer on October 6, 2011, Williams had her breast removed. After the surgery, Dr. Douglas and Infantino came to see her. “Dr. Douglas is a breast cancer survivor herself and her husband, Dr. Tom Fisher, was my oncologist, so we already had a personal connection,” said Williams. “Lorraine and I bonded really quickly and she became a friend that I could confide in and turn to 24/7.”
Williams said that Infantino helped her understand that her three months of chemotherapy would have cumulative effects. “Lorraine and Dr. Douglas got to know me personally, and when the chemotherapy became tough, they knew what buttons to push to keep me going,” she said. Describing herself as outgoing and a fighter, Williams said that “they played on that and kept me on schedule.”
Throughout her treatment she kept working as operations director at Thunderhill Raceway, a stock car race track in Kyle with only a short leave of absence to deal with anemia caused by the chemotherapy. She also plans to help re-open San Antonio Speedway. Both her brother and nephew are stock car racers. “The stock car community is like a second family and they supported me all the way.”
Metropolitan Methodist Hospital Breast Center recently was granted a full accreditation (three year) designation by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), a program administered by the American College of Surgeons. Setting the standard for the interdisciplinary management of patients with breast disease, the center is the first hospital-based, NAPBC-accredited breast center in San Antonio. Also, Infantino is the only National Consortium of Breast Centers certified breast patient navigator in San Antonio.