A Life-Sustaining Journey to Healing
Just weeks after Jill Irey’s treatment for cancer began, she was rushed to Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center with a severe reaction to her medications. Thus began her pilgrimage with Shady Grove, a journey now five years long — far longer than the five months Jill was first told she might survive.
When Jill Irey was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer, she was determined to fight back. She sought a treatment she hoped would be up to the job. The treatment she chose is hard on patients; life-threatening reactions that require hospitalization are common.
Her first severe reaction brought her to the hospital nearest her home, Shady Grove. “I was so out of it,” she said. Even so, she could hear the oncology nurses “singing and talking to me like there was a real person inside that shell.” Jill instantly responded to their care, to not “being treated like a number.” During this first emergency stay at Shady Grove, she met Dr. Manish Agrawal and decided to ask him to become her oncologist so she could benefit from his and Shady Grove’s expert, compassionate care.
In the many hospitalizations at Shady Grove that followed, the healing atmosphere and the “kindness and sweetness” of its people made all the difference. “I felt more at ease, happier. I smiled inside. And anything that makes me smile makes me feel better.” At night, she sometimes would find a quiet spot to read, enjoying the peacefulness of the surroundings. She felt like a whole person.
More than a year has passed since Jill’s last hospitalization, though she still comes by Shady Grove for outpatient services. “It’s crazy to love a hospital and a doctor’s office, but it’s the people. It is life-sustaining,” Jill says. “I’ve had five years of life I didn’t expect to have. Mine has been a wonderful journey.”