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CEDAR CITY — The days after a cancer diagnosis can be a scary, vulnerable time and definitely not a time to be caught in a maze. One Cedar City woman navigated her way through breast cancer surgery and treatment with special guidance.
Donna Law remembers the day last September. "Getting the call that you have cancer is something that kind of turns your whole world upside down," she said.
She was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma, a form of breast cancer that is treatable.
Still, the news threw the Southern Utah University development officer into very unfamiliar territory. "It's such a shock when you hear those words and don't know for sure what that means," Law said.
Oncology nurse navigator Cheryl Bellomo is with the Southwest Cancer Center in Cedar City. She understands the vulnerability cancer patients are feeling; especially during the early stages of diagnosis and treatment.
The most common questions Bellomo hears from patients are: "How is this going to affect my life? What is my quality of life going to be while I undergo this cancer journey?"
Bellomo takes patients like Law under her wing and guides them through the long and emotional process of fighting cancer.
Law said, "If something ever happens, you know if you actually get this, there is someone at the hospital who can actually help you through this."
In fact, Law is pretty sure that "because someone like Cheryl was there to help me answer questions, get me to the right docs, I was never afraid."
And thanks to Bellomo, Donna was never alone through months of treatment, much of it over the 2015 Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. "Everyone's journey is different," said Law, "I'm just glad there was someone holding my hand."
After successful treatments, Law was able to do something she'd been looking forward to for a long time. "On Jan. 13 of 2016, I got to ring the cancer be gong, gong," says Law.
Law has been cancer free for almost seven months now but plans to hold onto her close friendship with Bellomo.
Cancer navigators are available at Intermountain hospitals in the Salt Lake Valley, St. George, and Cedar City as part of a patient's overall cancer care. Email: email@example.com