Suzie Marty doesn’t believe in coincidences. When you encounter her artsy, upbeat, roll-with-the-punches personality, you’ll understand why. “Very few things upset me,” she said. “Why worry about things you don’t have control over?”
Known to reinvent herself from time to time, Suzie had just celebrated a personal goal, conquered significant family challenges and set her sights on the future—and then suddenly faced breast cancer. Coincidence? Maybe. To Suzie, she said, “that’s life.”
From lump to ultrasound, biopsy to diagnosis, a lot happened so fast. Despite the whirlwind, Suzie said she’ll always remember the look her radiologist, D. Clarke Tungseth, MD, Consulting Radiologists, Ltd., gave her during the biopsy. “He gently held my hand and with the most kind, empathetic eyes said, ‘I’m so sorry.’”
It’s not in Suzie’s DNA to look the other way and pretend this wasn’t happening to her. Instead, she faced it and proclaimed, “This is MY cancer and I’m going to make the calls.”
Where to get treatment wasn’t difficult to pinpoint. For this Minnetonka resident and former Waconia business owner, there was something about Ridgeview Medical Center that seemed perfectly right.
“It’s one of the few independent hospitals left,” she said. “I felt a level of comfort. The location, talent and warmth—it was like a tapestry that surrounded me.”
Surgeon Kevin Taylor, MD, Lakeview Clinic, performed a double mastectomy at Ridgeview. Post-surgery, Suzie asked for a one-on-one meeting, a chance to remove herself emotionally and learn the medical details. “I realized how intricate the surgery was,” she said. “He is skilled, but his level of compassion was mind-blowing.”
Suzie said she’s grateful for her caring medical team. She praised Terry Hoelz, RN, OCN, breast care coordinator and her team—Diane Bryan and Bonnie Teubert, RN, OCN, breast care coordinators. “Their level of connectedness, emotional support, and above-and-beyond effort was amazing.” Suzie appreciated Ridgeview’s B.J. Buckland, RN, MS, director of Ridgeview’s Surgical Services, for his gracious personal tour and prep. She says her plastic surgeon, Timothy Schaefer, MD, Midwest Plastic Surgery, is her miracle worker. “He’s still reconstructing me. His expertise will positively affect my outcome.” And she said her weekly visits with Paul W. Sperduto, MD, MPP, radiation oncologist, and his staff were “unforgettably fun, uplifting and individualized.”
Through Cancer Care Services, Imaging Services and Surgery, Suzie “experienced” Ridgeview. But through it all, she felt bad for her family. Not only for the anxiety and worry her cancer put them through, but for the lack of waiting room accommodations they deserved during her 10-hour surgery.
“I believe that surroundings heal and should match the level of care you receive both for the patient and for the family,” Suzie said. “I was more concerned for my family than I was for myself.” Now she is an advocate for Ridgeview Foundation in its efforts to raise money through the Innovation for Generations campaign, which will help renovate the 1963 wing and more.
Through Suzie’s positive Ridgeview experience, she says she is forever changed. “I won’t let cancer define my life and who I am,” she said. “I want to be the best mom, friend, sister, daughter and grateful patient that I can be and live a life I’m proud of.”
Ridgeview’s state-of-the art medical equipment and facilities are made possible through generous donations from friends, family and neighbors like you who believe in exceptional care so close to home. If you’d like to join Suzie and help make an impact for Ridgeview’s improved family waiting room area, call 952-442-6010 or visit www.ridgeviewfoundation.org.