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Published on August 30, 2012

Gretchen Fitzpatrick & Breast Cancer


Gretchen Fitzpatrick
Patient: Gretchen Fitzpatrick, Gaithersburg, MD

Location: Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center

Service: Breast Cancer

Doctor: Chitra Rajagopal, MD

"I received great care at a great hospital. I love my doctors; they have been advocates for me throughout my treatment. I think it's key that the doctors really get to know you, and that they know each other and work together as a team." - Gretchen Fitzpatrick

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You don't have to go downtown to get excellent care - you can get that here from the doctors, nurses, and ancillary staff here. That was important to me. Sometimes going to the doctor three or four times a week, and then I did have to have chemotherapy, and sometimes you don't feel real well, and it was just really easy to get a car by myself and drive down here for my treatment.

The fact that my wife's doctors were all located at Shady Grove, and that all of her care was done at Shady Grove was not only really easy on her, but was really easy on our family as well made a lot easier than it could have been. Having two young kids in school without their mother can be hard, but the fact that she was able to get the treatment and get home quickly really made a difference for us.

I had surgery here. I had a bilateral mastectomy and then I actually came back to the ER because I had some skin that didn't live and my plastic surgeon met me in the ER and took care of that. I had had chemotherapy, which I did select to do in Dr. Rajagopal's office, and then I came back and had a port installed,so I had another surgery.

I think the point where I really thought that my doctors really had my wife's best interest at heart is when she came for what was for her the most difficult part of the whole thing, and that was when she was told that she had to have chemotherapy. When I saw the compassion that Dr. Rajagopal had, and the way that she embraced my wife I really felt comfortable.

I knew the doctors were in my corner when I was sick with an infection and Dr. Rajagopal immediately called Dr. Marcus and she was available and she took out my port, and they were all talking together because I wasn't getting better. My antibiotics weren't working, so I knew that they were communicating and finally we got it all taken care of and I got better.

I really feel that the team of doctors that my wife had were very collaborative from the very beginning, and I thought throughout the entire process they really had her recovery as a number one priority, both physically and mentally.

I am about a year and a half after chemotherapy, and they just watch me closely. I go to the doctors every three months and we just wish for the best and cancer-free.

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