"A cancer diagnosis is life changing. It’s inescapable. I was diagnosed, at age 49, with Stage IV lung cancer which had metastasized to my brain, liver and other areas of my body. This was a shocking and devastating diagnosis. Cancer, and its ever evolving medical treatments, take an undeniable toll on you physically, mentally and emotionally. My journey with cancer is still unfolding. I have made remarkable progress battling this disease. This success has come with several obstacles and challenges along the way. I have endured a blood clot, a focal seizure, considerable fatigue, diminished strength and coordination, and deep ache and discomfort in my arms and hands during the course of treatments. I have had lengthy periods of time when I needed the assistance of a wheel chair or walker, but for several months now, I have been able to walk unaided. Early in my treatments, I was introduced to Dr. Lanie Francis in the Wellness Suite at Hillman. Dr. Francis described the non-traditional treatment methods that were being introduced at Hillman as part of their integrated cancer services. I was given the opportunity, at no initial cost, for an introductory hour long session for up to three different services. This jump started the amazing things that I have achieved, so far, in my cancer battle. It became readily apparent that Dr. Francis had done a superb job selecting highly skilled and compassionate instructors in their respective areas of expertise. I have regularly incorporated oncology massage, acupuncture, yoga/meditation, and essential oils into my personal path for recovery. The benefits of these non-traditional activities have been vast – increased energy and pain/fatigue management, mental and emotional stability and support, relaxation and enjoyment, and an expansion of my “core” team beyond faith and the love of family and friends."
– David G.
"Three years ago, it was a gorgeous spring day in Pittsburgh. I was looking forward to enjoying a beautiful afternoon following a routine colonoscopy appointment that morning. The detection of a softball-sized tumor dramatically altered the course of that day and the course of my life. The initial diagnosis of colon cancer was eventually retracted and replaced with a diagnosis of stage IIIC ovarian cancer that had already spread. The first days and weeks were surreal as we struggled to process the devastating news and navigate critical health care decisions. Moving into survival mode, we adopted an attitude of positive determination. Every cancer patient has a story, generally one filled with fear, hope, and courage. Things would have been very different for me without the love and support of a wonderful spouse, family, friends, and caregivers. These past three years have brought multiple surgeries, ongoing chemotherapy, and symptom management. My wonderful oncologist Dr. Joe Kelley, my fabulous PCP Dr. Dennis Stull, and their excellent care teams have been extremely supportive through all of this. They were supportive of my pursuit of integrative medical care woven into conventional medical care. And they encouraged my participation in the Wellness and Integrative Oncology Program founded by and directed by Dr. Lanie Francis. Dr. Francis and her team provide healing, peace, and comfort through a holistic approach to treating the body, mind, and spirit. Specific practices I have tried, such as massage and acupuncture, have yielded positive effects for managing symptoms like pain, fatigue, neuropathy, and insomnia. In addition, these modalities have afforded me a sense of improved well-being and quality of life for which I am extremely grateful."
– Cynthia M.
“This program is very helpful. I appreciate having a different perspective to hear and another person to bounce ideas and concerns off of. I also am grateful for the opportunity to explore alternative therapies in a structured way.”
- Kell M.
“My time with Dr. Francis and her staff has been invaluable to me. They are great listeners and really care about my overall health and well-being. I look forward to my visits and consider them a great blessing on this journey.”
- Deb D.
“I had pet therapy with Nancy and her Goldendoodle, Suzy Q. I got on the floor with Suzy and petted her while talking to Nancy, a survivor too. Suzy was so friendly and loving. She gave me a “doggie hug” before she left. Being with them made me feel more a part of this world. I always felt like I am on the outside looking in. The next day, I felt that I had a ray of sunshine following me around all day. Thank you for connecting me with Animal Friends, Nancy, and Suzy Q. I haven't felt like I did that day in almost 20 years.”
- Rebecca B.