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Patient Stories

Kim Kimball (breast cancer survivor)
By Healthy Life 2008 Fall

Married with three kids, two cats, a dog and a job that sends her out of the country at least six times a year. That's life for 48-year-old Kim Kimball of Wenham. A big part of her life has been traveling ahead of President Bush to coordinate his visits to different places around the country, and around the world. She has coordinated Bush's lodging, restaurants, and transportation abroad.

In August 2007 Kimball went for a mammogram. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and needed surgery to remove a lump from her breast. Not wanting to accept the news, she took a scheduled trip to Europe. When she came home, her doctor called and told her it was time to focus on her disease.

“I was scared to death,” explained Kimball. “I didn’t fully understand breast cancer. But my doctors helped me realize that my particular cancer was not the end of the world. Instead they explained to me how curable it was.”

Kimball had a lumpectomy at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. A lumpectomy is a surgical procedure to remove abnormal and sometimes, as in Kimball’s case, cancerous tissue from the breast. Some surrounding healthy tissue also is removed to increase the likelihood that all of the cancer is removed. Lumpectomy is considered a breast-conserving surgery because its goal is to remove the abnormal tissue while saving as much of the breast as possible.

After the surgery, Kimball needed radiation treatments. “Life was way too hectic for me to go back and forth to Boston,” said Kimball. “I found the NSMC Cancer Center and realized I was getting the same quality of care, the same state-of-the-art technology, and it was just minutes from my house.”

Because North Shore Medical Center and Massachusetts General Hospital work together, and have a collaborative cancer center, electronically accessing Kimball’s medical records made for a seamless transition to the NSMC Cancer Center. In no time, Kimball had an appointment with NSMC radiation oncologist, Derek Chism, M.D., who administered her treatment. She says right away, the NSMC Cancer Center felt competent and caring. “The people at the Cancer Center are some of the nicest I have ever met,” she said. “In addition to providing the highest level of care, they are kind, loving, and they’re interested in you—not just as a patient but as a person.”

Radiation treatments now completed, Kimball’s latest mammogram in August came back clean. She will now take the drug Tamoxifen for the next five years to decrease the chances of her cancer returning.