To the editor:
A cancer diagnosis stops life as we know it. Our world begins to revolve around the cancer clinic, hospitals, scans, chemo, surgeries....Ultimately, the oncologist is the director of this production.
New Albany has been blessed beyond measure to have Dr. Jones. He brought experience and expertise to the little Jones Clinic behind Baptist Memorial Hospital Union County. Jones Clinic eventually became Baptist Cancer at the hospital.
I knew very little about Dr. Jones or the clinic, but I had been to MD Anderson and Vanderbilt with my brother for treatment and stem cell transplant. After my diagnosis I knew that I wanted to stay in New Albany for surgery and treatments. Dr. Jones and his entire staff welcomed me to the "family." They immediately reassured me that they would fight the battle with me. I was armed with a treatment plan, a team of warriors, and a list of numbers to call any time I needed them! It did not take long to realize that I was in the right place.
They kept me informed throughout the treatments and prepared me for each new thing. Dr. Jones never wavered; His mission was to take me through the rounds of chemo and into remission. On round 6, I went into anaphylactic shock. My fear was that I would not be able to finish the chemo and never beat the cancer. Dr. Jones calmly assured me that I could finish without doing more of that particular chemo. I trusted him and his staff completely.
Exactly one year after my diagnosis my daughter was diagnosed with stage 2 melanoma in 2015. She had a recurrence in 2017; the melanoma had come back, and it was angry. She moved home from New York City to be treated here by Dr. Jones in New Albany. He insisted that we go for a 2nd opinion so we could feel comfortable in making decisions about her treatment. He consulted with colleagues and was able to treat her with 20 rounds of an immunotherapy chemo that allowed her to avoid disabling surgery.
Today we are both in remission. My daughter is able to continue her career. We both continue to see our "family" at Baptist Cancer every 6 months. We know that we can drop by any time there is a problem and receive the best care offered anywhere in the world.
New Albany receives recognition for many things---the trail, shops, restaurants, bakeries, and its very own cancer center that rivals any clinic anywhere. I know this because of the patients I have met there. Many drive from surrounding areas bypassing much larger medical centers because they want to be treated by Dr. Jones and his staff.
Many people have asked how we got someone with so much experience in our little town. Dr. Jones was always ready to reply that he cared about the people in the community and we deserved the best cancer care available. He gave that care.
Right now, fear abounds. How do we start over? If someone new comes in, why can't they work alongside Dr. Jones for 6 months or a year and become familiar with patients, study their charts, at least understand what they are signing up for??
Again, we have been blessed to have the best cancer care available. I am scheduled to go back tomorrow; I will go because of the staff. I trust them because they worked with Dr. Jones and they know me. They are his team. They know that the journey continues after chemo. They walk us through each scan, each blood draw, and continue to treat us for each side effect. They are family, but our oncologist is not here. We have suffered a great loss.
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