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Carla Stein
06/17/2024

Grateful Patient Story: Carla Stein

More than 18 million people in the United States today have faced cancer and have emerged as survivors. National Cancer Survivor Month recognizes their journey from diagnosis to treatment and beyond. Throughout the month of June, we are featuring stories from Aultman Cancer Center patients in honor of cancer survivors everywhere.

When Carla Stein received the news of her cancer diagnosis, it was a moment that shook her to the core. Armed with determination and a belief that she could endure anything for a limited time, she embarked on her battle against invasive ductal carcinoma under the guidance of Sabrina Shilad, M.D., FACS, at the Aultman Cancer Center.

From the onset, Dr. Shilad's meticulous approach to Carla's care instilled confidence. “Dr. Shilad wanted to review my past mammograms, dating back to 2017,” Carla said. “Seeing Dr. Shilad was the best decision I ever made.”

The journey was not without its challenges. Carla underwent a lumpectomy and breast reduction, followed by chemotherapy and radiation. Yet through it all, she found solace in the warmth and compassion of her care team at the Aultman Cancer Center.

“Everyone from Dr. Shilad, my oncologist Dr. Sunitha Vemulapalli and my radiation oncologist Dr. Jessica Wobb to all the radiation/oncology staff members have made my journey enjoyable and as stress-free as it could be,” Carla said.

Erin Meek, BSN, RN, OCN, breast health navigator with the cancer program, provided invaluable support, guiding Carla through the intricacies of treatment and offering reassurance when side effects arose. “Erin told me step by step what would happen,” Carla said. “Because she let me know, I wasn’t afraid.”

One such side effect was hair loss, a common occurrence during chemotherapy. Rather than succumbing to despair, Carla channeled her creativity into crocheting chemotherapy caps for herself and fellow patients, spreading warmth and comfort amid adversity.

Throughout her journey, Carla’s loved ones stood by her side, offering unwavering support and companionship. Steve, her husband of 49 years, her sister, Jan, and brother-in-law, Bill, became her pillars of strength.

As Carla’s treatment progressed, so did her appreciation for the little gestures of kindness that dotted her path. “The chemotherapy staff always brought in an extra chair so my husband, sister and brother-in-law could play cards with me while I was getting my treatments,” she said. “Playing cards helped me pass the time so quickly.”

Carla also received practical advice from one of her nurses, who suggested organizing a health notebook, a document that summarized her health history, treatment plan and medications. The document has made the health overview portion of appointments much smoother, and Carla has passed on this tip to other patients undergoing treatment.

Today, Carla continues to visit the Aultman Cancer Center – not only for her own checkups, but also to pay it forward by donating handmade caps, a symbol of hope and solidarity for those embarking on their own cancer journey.

In addition, Carla wants to spread the word that exceptional cancer care is available close to home at the Aultman Cancer Center. “I believe in this place and think any patient who walks in here is very fortunate,” Carla said. “Your Aultman care team will tell you what is going to happen and when it will happen, and then you’re not afraid.”

To support cancer patients in their treatment journey, consider a gift to Aultman’s CancerCare Fund. This fund assists patients with expenses such as transportation, groceries, prescription assistance and medical supplies. One hundred percent of donations to the CancerCare Fund go directly to cancer patients, to alleviate the burden of other costs often incurred during treatment.

location icon

Location Finder

Here's your guide to finding any of the facilities in the Aultman family of health services, including maps and contacts. 

symptom checker icon

Need a Doctor?

Aultman Medical Group's network of more than 240 providers is committed to high-level patient care.

calendar icon

Schedule an Appointment

Click below to complete an online form. 

 

donation icon

Donate Today

You can help support and enhance services, and in turn, help patients and their families who benefit from care received at Aultman.

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