Stephanie Nethers - Genesis HealthCare System - Zanesville, Ohio

Fighting Cancer Close to Home

Stephanie Nethers was just 33 when they found the lump in her breast. This mother of two could easily have focused on the unfairness of it all. Instead, she decided to think of her stage 3 breast cancer as another chapter in life’s journey.

That’s why Stephanie decided not just to fight back but to wage the battle close to home with the help of the expert staff at Genesis HealthCare System. “Just because I have cancer doesn’t mean that my life is on hold,” she said. “People kept asking, ‘Why don’t you go to Columbus?’ I said no, I’m going to stay here where it’s close to home. I know people here.”

Nurse Navigators and Personalized Care

At a bigger institution, said Stephanie’s nurse navigator Kristen Miller, the sheer volume of patient can mean you’re more of a number than an individual. That’s one reason why Kristen left her job at a large hospital and came home.

“I wanted to be a nurse navigator the minute I heard of it,” she said. “I wanted to be a navigator, more importantly, in my own hometown and my own community. I thought it was important to work with patients I knew or could relate to.”

Faith in the Future

After a mastectomy, Stephanie will continue treatment for about six months, followed by five years of follow-up care. Her nurse navigator and new friend, Kristen, will be with her every step of the way.

In fact, they may even end up working together. A nursing student at the time of her diagnosis, Stephanie has now decided to focus on oncology. “I have to have faith that this has come to me for a reason," said Stephanie. “I think of all the young moms and young breast cancer patients, and I know I can make a difference in their lives because I’m very outgoing and compassionate.”

“Stephanie walks into the room, and everybody wants to know her," said Miller. “Everybody wants to be her friend. She has this personality that’s like a magnet.”

Perhaps Stephanie’s son knew what his mother’s future held when he first began trying to understand the diagnosis. “Mommy,” he said, “Do you have blessed cancer?”

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