Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

Surgical Robot Less Invasive, Allows Quicker Recovery


Kolby Baber suffered from a rare digestive disorder that made it difficult, and sometimes impossible, for him to swallow. After trying several other treatments, Baber discovered Dmitry Oleynikov, MD. Dr. Oleynikov told Baber about a new surgical robot, the daVinci Xi, which would be the perfect way to fix his problem. The daVinci features two work stations for Dr. Oleynikov and one of his colleagues to work simultaneously on patients instead of one like the previous model. It also allows surgeons to work on a wider range of cases than they could previously.

See how Dr. Oleynikov used the first daVinci Xi in Omaha for the first time to make Baber’s problem disappear in this video.

New Technology Tapped to Teach Sepsis

Clinical Effectiveness Team Utilizes UNMC’s iEXCEL for Interactive Training

It’s an opportunity for our health care team to learn in a new way: utilizing state-of-the art technology. Our clinical educators are taking advantage of UNMC’s iEXCEL advanced visualization, experiential and learning hub to help our nurses learn about the origins of sepsis and its impact on the body’s organs.

The iEXCEL visualization hub inside the Sorrell Center features MultiTaction panels, often referred to as iWall, that generate an interactive display wall that can detect an unlimited number of fingers, hands and infrared pens to incorporate a level of experiential learning. The simulation and virtual reality training will enhance training of current and future health professionals.

Jessica Strickler, clinical educator for MICU and SICU and Sara Hooper, clinical educator for 8 Telemetry are one of the first to partner with Ben Stobbe, executive director for Clinical Simulation, iEXCEL, to use the technology for our staff training on sepsis.

“We met with Ben and three student workers and described what we wanted the education to look like,” says Strickler, who together with Hooper, researched much of the content of the education.

Micah Beachy, DO, Clinical Effectiveness medical director, provided his expertise on sepsis’ impact on the body’s organs. After four more meetings, the interactive training was ready to go.

This 30-60 minute iWall training, called “Sepsis iWall Education,” is encouraged for nurses, but not required. Nurses who complete it will receive one hour of CEU. To register for class time, log into Apollo. Classes are being offered before and after shifts. Review the training schedule here.

iEXCEL is the programmatic component of UNMC’s Global Center for Advanced Interprofessional Learning.

Jessica Strickler, clinical educator for MICU and SICU, is seen demonstrating the new sepsis education.

Jessica Strickler, clinical educator for MICU and SICU, is seen demonstrating the new sepsis education.

Breakthrough Treatment for Peripheral Artery Disease

We’re among the first in the United States to offer a new treatment recently cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to provide relief for patients suffering from the painful symptoms of peripheral artery disease, or PAD – a condition caused by a build-up of plaque that blocks blood flow in the arteries of legs or feet.

The device, Avinger’s Pantheris™ lumivascular atherectomy system, is an innovative image-guided therapy that, for the first time ever, allows physicians to see and remove plaque simultaneously during atherectomy – a minimally invasive procedure that involves cutting plaque away from the artery and clearing it out to restore blood flow.

Because the Pantheris device incorporates real-time optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging on a therapeutic catheter – like having a small camera on the tip of the device – physicians are able to remove this plaque more precisely than ever before, with less risk of damage to the artery walls which can result in aggressive scarring that greatly increases the risk of restenosis, or re-narrowing of the artery. In the past, physicians have had to rely solely on X-ray as well as touch and feel to guide their tools while they try to treat complicated arterial disease.

For patients, this safe and more-precise treatment may potentially reduce the need for follow-up procedures and stents.

“Peripheral artery disease greatly impacts quality of life, with patients experiencing cramping, numbness, discoloration and pain,” says vascular surgeon David Vogel, MD. “The Pantheris technology is on the front lines. Nebraska Medicine is the only hospital in the region using it. We’re helping lead the way.”

David Vogel, MD, is seen using this new device on a patient during atherectomy – a minimally invasive procedure that involves cutting plaque away from the artery and clearing it out to restore blood flow.

David Vogel, MD, is seen using this new device on a patient during an atherectomy – a minimally invasive procedure that involves cutting plaque away from the artery and clearing it out to restore blood flow.

Clinical results confirm that the technology is safe and effective: a 130-patient study showed a target lesion revascularization rate of just 8 percent, and not a single event of vessel perforation, clinically significant dissection or late aneurysm resulted from Pantheris. In addition, this radiation-free technology may help minimize radiation exposure to clinicians and patients by decreasing use of fluoroscopy.

KMTV recently featured one of our patients who underwent the procedure.

Peripheral artery disease affects nearly 20 million adults in the U.S. and over 200 million people globally. PAD is caused by a build-up of plaque in the arteries that blocks blood flow to the legs and feet. Often dismissed as normal signs of aging, symptoms of PAD include painful cramping, numbness or discoloration in the legs or feet. PAD can become so severe and difficult to address with traditional treatments that patients and physicians often resort to undergoing invasive bypass surgeries, which can result in even higher health risks and lengthy, painful recoveries. In severe cases, patients often face amputation, the worst-case scenario associated with PAD.

Atherectomy is a minimally invasive treatment for PAD in which a catheter-based device is used to remove plaque from a blood vessel. Lumivascular technology utilized in the Pantheris system allows physicians, for the first time ever, to see from inside the artery during a directional atherectomy procedure by using an imaging modality called optical coherence tomography, or OCT. In the past, physicians have had to rely solely on X-ray as well as touch and feel to guide their tools while they try to treat complicated arterial disease. With the lumivascular approach, physicians can more accurately navigate their devices and treat PAD lesions, thanks to the OCT images they see from inside the artery.

Multidisciplinary Breast Cancer Clinic Offers Comprehensive, Convenient and Personal Care


Conveniently located at 175th and Burke St., just west of the Village Pointe shopping center, the Multidisciplinary Breast Cancer Clinic offers easy access with care provided in an intimate and comfortable environment.

Conveniently located at 175th and Burke St., just west of the Village Pointe shopping center, the Multidisciplinary Breast Cancer Clinic offers easy access with care provided in an intimate and comfortable environment.

Today, there are numerous choices available for breast cancer treatment. The new Multidisciplinary Breast Cancer Clinic at Nebraska Medicine – Cancer Center at Village Pointe, provides a very personalized and comprehensive approach to breast cancer care based on a patient’s individual needs and wishes as well as the expertise and careful assessment of a team of breast cancer specialists.

“Patients benefit from getting not just one opinion, but a comprehensive plan developed by a multitude of breast cancer experts using the most recent studies,” says Sarah Thayer, MD, PhD, surgical oncologist at Nebraska Medicine and physician-in-chief of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. “This model allows for enhanced communication between providers and the patient to ensure her goals and individual needs are met.”

Conveniently located at 175th and Burke St., just west of the Village Pointe shopping center, the Multidisciplinary Breast Cancer Clinic offers easy access with care provided in an intimate and comfortable environment. Patients can receive an array of cancer services in one convenient location including:

  • Comprehensive care plan developed by a multidisciplinary team of experts
  • Consultative services or second options from cancer experts in medical oncology, surgical oncology, radiation oncology and plastic and reconstructive surgery
  • Infusion services within private infusion rooms
  • Radiation treatment center
  • Women Imaging Center with state of the art 3D-mammography and MRI capabilities
  • Amenities and supportive services including wig fittings, a free wig bank, prosthetic and bra fittings, yoga, massage therapy, skin care and make-up lessons specifically geared for people with or recovering from cancer

Multidisciplinary, Personalized Care Plan

Sarah Thayer, MD, PhD

Sarah Thayer, MD, PhD

The multidisciplinary team of experts includes medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, plastic and reconstructive surgeons, geneticists and social workers. The team helps each patient navigate through the many decisions available in breast cancer treatment including lumpectomy, mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapies and breast reconstructive surgery in a collaborative approach that is based on a woman’s personal choices.

“When a patient arrives for an appointment, they will see all of the specialists required for that visit in one setting and one appointment,” says Dr. Thayer. “Not only is this saving our patient’s time but it helps eliminate duplication of tests and services.”

Providing 3-D mammography for all patients is another benefit that will be provided at the clinic and is expected to be available by early summer. “Studies have shown that 3-D mammography when used with standard digital mammograms can bump up breast cancer detection rates and reduce callbacks,” says Dr. Thayer.

Patients will also be given the opportunity to participate in breast cancer clinical trials offered through the University of Nebraska Medical Center as part of their treatment program.

Personal Care Needs

A host of amenities and supportive services are also available to help address a patient’s physical, educational, emotional and spiritual needs providing a more complete and holistic approach to care and includes wig fittings, a free wig bank, prosthetic and bra fittings, yoga, massage therapy, skin care and make-up lessons specifically geared for people with or recovering from cancer.

“The Multidisciplinary Breast Cancer Clinic is designed to provide patients the most oncologically-sound plan in an environment that is more personal, private and positive,” notes Dr. Thayer.

What’s Life Like After Lung Transplantation?

Aleem Siddique, MD

Aleem Siddique, MD

Lung transplantation is a life-changing event. Before transplantation, the lung transplant recipient will have been very limited in his/her day-to-day activities because of severe lung disease. They might have required assistance for even the simplest of tasks, such as having a shower or changing clothes. That degree of limitation leads to significant de-conditioning, hence, after recovering from the transplant surgery, the recipient will begin a process of rehabilitation.

Over time, most lung transplant recipients will experience significant improvements in their functionality and correspondingly will describe significantly better quality of life. They will find it easier to breathe and most patients will no longer require oxygen therapy. The impact of this is difficult to describe or quantify, simply put, breathing itself had become an enormous burden and that strain is lifted.

Lung transplantation is not without it’s own burdens. Principal amongst these is the constant need for immuno-suppression medication to prevent rejection of the transplanted lung(s) by the recipient’s immune system. Conversely, the possibility of acquiring an infection goes hand-in-hand with use of immuno-suppression medications. Therefore close monitoring is required to prevent and treat both rejection and infection, this means that the transplant team is always close at hand. For many patients, the transplant team becomes like family.

Despite some difficulties, most lung transplant recipients report being highly satisfied with the transplant outcome, and that, if they had to make the decision again, they would still choose to have a lung transplant.

Hope for Stroke Patients: Recent Treatment Advances Offer Better Chances for Recovery

brain 4

Stroke is a severely debilitating disease that can permanently change the lives of patients and their families. Everyone knows a family member or a friend whose life has been permanently changed by stroke. Stroke is a very common disease around the world. Every year more than 795,000 people in the United States will suffer a stroke and more than 130,000 will die as a consequence of stroke. In Nebraska, stroke is the fourth leading cause of death and more than 36,000 people live with stroke. Despite these frightening numbers there is hope for stroke patients.

Stroke prevention

The best way to prevent a stroke is to take care of  you health. More than 90% of strokes are the result of poorly controlled medical conditions. Avoid tobacco, control your weight, watch your diet, exercise and follow up regularly with your primary care physician. Work closely with your doctor to control your high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol or heart disease. Just by reducing your blood pressure by 10 points you can decrease your chance of having a stroke by one-third. Controlling the other risk factors will decrease your chances even further.

Sudden signs of stroke: remember them easily with “FAST”

Stroke can present in many different ways: confusion, severe headache, dizziness, double vision, facial droop, difficulty swallowing, arm or leg numbness or weakness, sudden loss of balance, inability to speak and slurred speech all are symptoms of stroke. One easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke is by using the F.A.S.T. acronym. F is for facial droop, A is for arm weakness, S is for speech difficulties and T is for time to call 9-1-1. If you think you or a loved one is having a stroke, the best course of action is to call 9-1-1. Patients who call 9-1-1 arrive faster to the nearest hospital capable of treating stroke and have better chances of receiving treatment.


Stroke types and treatments

There are two major types of strokes: ischemic and hemorrhagic. Ischemic strokes are by far the most common type in the United States and in Nebraska. An ischemic stroke is usually the result of a blockage in a blood vessel, whereas a hemorrhagic stroke is due to a blood vessel rupture. Treatment is different for each type; however rapid treatment is essential in both.

Since 1996, the only FDA approved treatment for acute ischemic stroke has been to administer alteplase. This is a medication that is given to patients with an ischemic stroke who arrive to the Hospital within 4 ½ hours from the onset of symptoms. Patients who receive this drug have a 33% increased chance of being independent or less disabled at three months after their stroke, when compared with people who did not receive the drug. In the last year there have been significant advances in the treatment of acute ischemic stroke. Five new studies show that patients who suffered a large stroke and were treated with new devices called stent retrievers – within 6 hours of onset, in an experienced stroke center – have a 33% to 71% percent chance of regaining independence or experiencing less disability at three months.

New, advanced treatment options available at Nebraska Medicine

Nebraska Medicine has the capacity to offer these novel treatments to stroke patients who qualify. To make these crucial advancements in stroke treatment available to more people in Nebraska and neighboring states we launched the Nebraska Medicine Tele Stroke Network. Tele Stroke brings stroke neurology expertise to the bedside of community hospitals. Working together, the neurologist and emergency department physician collaborate on the most appropriate treatment for the stroke patient. This program provides local and rural emergency rooms with 24- hour access to stroke neurology expertise and the advanced treatment options available at Nebraska Medicine.

Dr. Kalil is lead author on new pneumonia guidelines

By Stephanie Goldina, Infectious Diseases Society of America


Andre Kalil, M.D.

ARLINGTON, Va. — Hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) and ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) — which account for 20 to 25 percent of hospital-acquired infections — should be treated with shorter courses of antibiotics than they typically are, according to new guidelines released by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and the American Thoracic Society (ATS) and published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. In addition, the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM), the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST), and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) endorsed these guidelines.

At a glance

•Seven days of antibiotics are effective for most hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) and ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) infections, according to the new guidelines published by the Infectious Diseases Society of America and American Thoracic Society.
•The new guidelines also recommend that each hospital develop an antibiogram to determine which strains are causing infection and ensure the right antibiotics are used for treatment.
•HAP and VAP cause 20 to 25 percent of hospital-acquired infections, and these may be fatal 10 to 15 percent of the time.

The recommendation of seven or fewer days of antibiotics for most of these infections reflects a change from previous guidelines to ensure safe and effective treatment while limiting the development of antibiotic resistance.
Created by a multidisciplinary panel led by infectious diseases, pulmonary and critical care specialists, the new guidelines also recommend that each hospital develop an antibiogram, a regular analysis of the strains of bacteria causing pneumonia infections locally as well as which antibiotics effectively treat them.

When possible, the antibiogram should be specific to the hospital’s intensive care unit patients, according to the guidelines. Antibiograms should be updated regularly, and the most appropriate frequency should be determined by the institution, the guidelines note.

“Once clinicians are updated regularly on what bugs are causing VAP and HAP in their hospitals as well as their sensitivities to specific antibiotics, they can choose the most effective treatment,” said Andre Kalil, M.D., lead author of the guidelines, professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and director of the Transplant Infectious Diseases Program at UNMC. “This helps individualize care, ensuring patients will be treated with the correct antibiotic as soon as possible.”

Published in 2005, the previous guidelines recommended different lengths of treatment time for antibiotic therapy based on the bacterium causing the infection.

The 2016 guidelines recommend seven days or fewer for all bacteria. Newer evidence suggests that the shorter course of treatment does not reduce the benefits of therapy, Dr. Kalil said. In addition, he said this can reduce antibiotic-related side effects, the risk of Clostridium difficile, a serious diarrheal infection, antibiotic resistance and costs. In some cases, such as when a patient doesn’t improve or worsens, longer treatment may be necessary.

Mechanical ventilators help patients breathe. They are used when a patient is having surgery with general anesthesia or for those who suffer from impaired lung function. One of every 10 patients on a ventilator gets VAP, which is fatal about 10 to 15 percent of the time.

VAP also increases: the amount of time patients remain on a ventilator — from 7.6 to 11.5 days on average — and length of hospital stay — from 11.5 to 13.1 days on average.

While HAP typically is a less severe infection than VAP, half of patients have serious complications, including respiratory failure, fluid in the lungs, septic shock and kidney failure.

Life After A Double Lung Transplant

Andrea Mayberry

Andrea Mayberry

I was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) at birth. I was in and out of hospitals my entire life.

As my disease progressed, doctors said I would not live to be 16-years-old. I was put on the double lung transplant list at Nebraska Medicine – Nebraska Medical Center at the age of 12. I was on the waiting list for over two years.

I received “the call” in July of 1996 — I was almost 15. My mom got the call at 3:00 p.m. on a Friday and I was in surgery by 3:00 a.m. The surgery lasted 12 hours and all went smoothly. I was in the hospital for three weeks after surgery, which was half the time my previous stays were becoming. I was lucky to have lived so close to the med center, as I know many have to travel far for treatment.

Nebraska Medicine became my second home. All the staff including doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, x-ray technologists and lab techs all knew me by name and were all part of my support system. Many continue to be part of my “family.” After my transplant, I still had appointments with my doctors. Luckily, my transplant coordinator was amazing at keeping things going and keeping everyone on the same page.

Before my transplant, I was on oxygen 24/7 and had multiple breathing and physical therapy treatments throughout the day — just to maintain my rapidly declining health. The way it was going, I would have been lucky to graduate high school, let alone attend college or get married. I am blessed to say that I did graduate high school, I graduated college with a bachelor’s degree in Medical Imaging and am engaged to my fiancé, Merl!

I have worked at Nebraska Medicine as a mammographer for over 11 years now. Life is amazing. I have the med center and its staff to thank, but most importantly, I have my donor and their family. I will forever be grateful to Nebraska Medicine for the care I received then — and continue to receive. They will always be family to me and I’m thankful to live so close to such an extraordinary medical center.

Surgeon’s Legacy Continues, 45 Years after First Kidney Transplant in Nebraska

Richard Steenburg, MD was destined to be a physician from the time he was a child, following in the footsteps of both his father and his grandfather. “My grandfather was a horse and buggy doctor who provided health care for a 60-mile radius covering most of the middle of the state of Nebraska. My father was a Harvard-trained general surgeon,” he recalls.  “From an early age, all I ever thought about doing was becoming a surgeon. In fact, by 10 years of age, I would go after school and observe my father in surgery.”steenburg2

Richard Steenburg, MD (left) performed the first kidney transplant in the state of Nebraska. In his 17-year career at Clarkson Hospital, he performed more than 500 transplants.


A graduate of Aurora Public Schools, Dr. Steenburg attended Stanford University, Harvard Medical School and completed his surgical training at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. Early in his career, he served on the faculty at Johns Hopkins and became chief of surgery at Baltimore City Hospital, as the first transplant program in Maryland was developed. In 1970, he moved back home to Nebraska, where he built a transplant program from the ground up, and where his education, training and passion continue to have an impact on patients and families today.

“He trained with the best of the best. It was amazing he was willing to come back to the Midwest and get the program started,” says Tavi Baker, who worked for Dr. Steenburg in the 70s and 80s and continues to serve as a nephrology coordinator at Nebraska Medicine.

“He taught us everything. You watched and listened; he talked and explained,” remembers Mary Ellen Krobot, a kidney/pancreas transplant coordinator, who also worked with Dr. Steenburg throughout his 17-year career at Clarkson Hospital. “It’s how I learned the basics. He was a great teacher and wanted people to understand what’s going on.”

Much has changed since 1970, when Dr. Steenburg performed the first kidney transplant in Nebraska. “At the time local surgeons weren’t trained in the proper technique of recovering organs,” he says. “On many of the first transplants, I would fly or drive to hospitals in outlying areas and recover the organs.” Once the kidneys were tissue typed, the team would identify the most appropriate recipients and have them come to the hospital. Then, the patients would receive dialysis, a blood transfusion and be prepared for surgery. “The typical transplant usually took about three hours. Between recovering the organs, preparing the patients and then transplanting the kidneys into the recipients, it wasn’t uncommon to work 24-30 hours straight,” Dr. Steenburg says.

All the work was completed without modern electronic health records – or even computers. Baker and Krobot remember sorting through handwritten lab results and communicating with typed letters. Paper flow sheets were hanging on the walls outside patients’ rooms and Dr. Steenburg memorized many of each patient’s details. “All of the patient information, drug therapies and lab work was kept in paper copy in the patient’s chart,” he says. “But many subtleties of managing a patient were done using one’s head.”steenburg1

Richard Steenburg, MD with transplant coordinators Mary Ellen Krobot and Tavi Baker in 1989. Krobot and Baker continue to work at Nebraska Medicine, and describe Dr. Steenburg as a dedicated surgeon and teacher.


Before Dr. Steenburg retired in 1987, he performed 501 kidney transplants. Many of the transplant patients are still living, including some of the first patients from 1970 and his final transplant patient, who received a kidney in April 1987. “Historically, patients with renal failure requiring dialysis were kept on dialysis until their insurance ran out. We were able to provide these very needy patients a chance to live,” he says.  Because of Dr. Steenburg, teens were able to go to college, women were able to raise their families and older people were able to meet their grandchildren.

Dr. Steenburg’s impact continues to be strong today, as Nebraska Medicine treats more than 1,500 functioning kidney/pancreas patients following their transplants. Hundreds more are impacted by the Nebraska Organ Recovery System, which serves all of Nebraska and Pottawattamie County, Iowa. The basis of the nonprofit organization started in a closet of Dr. Steenburg’s operating room. Now, it handles the recovery, transportation and distribution of all organs and tissue for transplantation in the area.

Nearly 30 years have passed since Dr. Steenburg’s retirement, one thing that hasn’t changed – his patients adore him. “They looked at him as their lifeline,” says Baker. Children drew pictures of him, patients continue to ask about him and many participated in a card shower in honor of his 75th birthday fifteen years ago. “Patient satisfaction is probably the best indicator of performance. Hearing from so many patients so many years later led me to believe that we provided a high standard of patient care,” says Dr. Steenburg. That standard of care continues to be Dr. Steenburg’s legacy, more than four decades after his first, ground-breaking kidney transplant in Nebraska.

How Breast Cancer Research Saved My Life

In September 2015, Janet Tinney was diagnosed with breast cancer.

In September 2015, Janet Tinney was diagnosed with breast cancer.

As you listen to the news, read the paper, check Facebook or talk to others, you’re frequently made aware of someone that’s been diagnosed with cancer. You think about them often, pray for them and their family, but then go on with your day-to-day life. Until that one day, when you’re the one receiving the devastating phone call. Where they ask you to come back in – because something doesn’t look right.

Janet at her chemotherapy treatment.

Janet at her chemotherapy treatment.

Over the years, due to very dense breast tissue, I’ve had many calls asking me to return for further testing following a mammogram. I’ve even had a couple biopsies and other procedures. Fortunately, each time the extra tests were performed, I received a phone call with good news that everything was benign – until September of 2015. That’s the year I received a phone call, informing me I had breast cancer.

For the first few minutes, I was stunned and speechless. Then the tears came. My emotions got the best of me. Until you’re the one getting that phone call, you never truly know what it’s like. My father passed away due to cancer. I spent nearly two years going to appointments and treatments, waiting through every surgery. Even though the experience with my dad was unpleasant in the end, I knew I had been given the knowledge and strength to deal with my own cancer battle.

As a caregiver, my first thoughts were about my husband and children. I knew this situation would be tremendously stressful for them. At the time, I felt helpless, but knew my family and friends would be my rock.

The day I was diagnosed with cancer, I was sent to a local surgeon in North Platte, Nebraska. He was incredible, but knew I needed to see the very best.

I was referred to Nebraska Medicine surgical oncologist Edibaldo Silva-Lopez, MD, PhD. During the first visit with Dr. Silva in Omaha, I barely let him speak before peppering him with questions about my future. Did I need to get my things in order? If so, how long did I have? He looked me straight in the face and said, “that is not even a concern for you.” He was certain I would survive. My heart danced!

Edibaldo Silva-Lopez, MD

Edibaldo Silva-Lopez, MD

Dr. Silva’s recommended treatment plan for me was newly approved, but research showed the results were very positive. Within the next couple weeks, we began treatment at the cancer center in North Platte. Everything started to happen just like Dr. Silva said it would. He anticipated my cancer journey would be about a year long, barring any complications.

But, after two rounds of chemotherapy, we were in for quite a surprise. During an ultrasound of my breast, the tumor was nowhere to be found. My radiologist was completely shocked. What a happy day!

I completed two more rounds of chemo, followed by a regimen of drugs. In January, Dr. Silva performed surgery, removing a margin of tissue where the tumor once was, along with 17 lymph nodes. About a week later, I received a phone call from Dr. Silva’s nurse, Carol, telling me all the tests performed on the removed tissue and lymph nodes were negative for the cancer! The treatment plan Dr. Silva gave me worked.

When this journey began, my husband and I both prayed for a miracle. That miracle was not for the cancer to just go away, but for me to be directed to the right physicians with the knowledge to cure my disease. In my opinion, my prayers were answered and my miracle was granted. Without cancer research and the dedication of physicians who put it to use, who knows where my journey would have led. But, because we are fortunate enough to have these services in Nebraska, I am able to look forward to a bright future.

I now pray for a financial miracle so that breast cancer research can continue to evolve at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center for many, many years to come. I am living proof that this research does make a difference.