Laura Stanner had every intention of rescheduling her mammogram, but as a mother of two and a devoted educational professional, life just got in the way.
In March, Laura received a call from her primary care provider, reminding her to reschedule her mammogram and luckily for her, she did.
On her mammogram, it was determined Laura had a tumor on the chest wall, and it was confirmed she had an early stage of breast cancer.
“It was a full halt in life, and I had to reprioritize what mattered,” Laura said. “I had to prepare for the marathon and all of the mile markers along the way.”
Laura’s cancer journey started in Iowa City where she underwent a partial mastectomy to remove a tumor on her chest wall After her surgery and knowing she would need radiation therapy, Laura wanted to receive treatment at Finley’s Wendt Regional Cancer Center. In that moment, Laura was amazed at how well the two facilities work together to provide her with the best, in-depth cancer care.
“What is so great about my care teams is their willingness to partner and connect with one another,” Laura said. “My surgeons and oncologist worked beautifully together to make sure my treatment was good. It truly was phenomenal on all ends.”
A Peosta resident, Laura wanted to seek care closer to home, not because of efficiency, but because of the Wendt Center’s reputation of providing excellent care to its patients.
“I heard wonderful things about the Wendt Center,” Laura said. “You walk in there, and it’s like a big hug. You can just feel the incredible and positive energy.”
In total, Laura had 21 radiation treatments including several radiation “boosts” to the tumor site, all of which was completed at the Wendt Center.
Being with the Wendt Center staff from the start of her treatments to the end, Laura believes they are “the best of the best.”
“The care I received was just beyond exceptional,” Laura said. “These people are just oh so special. They are the most brilliant and knowledgeable medical professionals in their field and yet, they are real, genuine, kind human beings.”
Another component of Laura’s treatment she found impressive was the ability for staff to treat her for things other than cancer by providing a Nurse Navigator, additional emotional and financial support, along with other support devices and medicines.
“From the little kindness rock projects to the lumpectomy pillows or the seat belt pillows or the goody bags with skincare products in them, their whole package of care focuses on the emotional aspect while being proactive with a patient’s treatment,” Laura said. “They make sure to take that extra time and care that is needed for every single patient. If a patient needed a little extra love that day, they would go and take care of that person. That is a talent.”
While nerves settled in on the first day of her treatment at the Wendt Center, Laura was able to find a special connection to staff members.
It’s more than just being a patient, instead it’s about becoming a family.
“I feel like I walked in here a little nervous that first day,” Laura said. “I left with the feeling that I have an extended family, who loves me dearly and who I wholeheartedly trusted to kickstart this new gift of life. They couldn’t be happier for my success, and I truly would trust them with anything.”
Since Laura has completed her treatments, she is looking forward to what she calls a “second chance at life" with her husband, Don and two sons.
The top thing Laura is looking forward to is watching her boys, Jake and Luke grow up and find success on their own life paths.
“My outcome is feeling blessed that I get a second chance at a full, normal, boring, routine life,” Laura said. “When I was first diagnosed until now, the only thing that has matters and is now my life’s goal is to see my kids succeed and appreciate the privilege to raise them, see them graduate and make sure they become the most amazing people they can possibly be. I am more grateful for that than anything else in the world.”
Photo Caption: The Stanner family. From left, Jake, Laura, Don and Luke.