Three years ago, Debbie Paine went in for her annual mammogram, expecting a quick, routine appointment. When her scan came back abnormal, she suddenly became a woman fighting for her life.
As a college professor who educates future teachers, Paine wanted to approach her care as a problem to solve. She met with medical teams in her hometown of Valdosta, Georgia, and didn’t feel they were treating her like an individual.
“My husband was a big advocate for a second opinion,” she said. “That was when we decided to make the drive down to UF Health.”
From the moment she met Lisa Spiguel, M.D., UF College of Medicine breast cancer surgeon, and her team, Paine knew she was in good hands.
“She made a plan that felt right for me,” Paine said. “She listened to me as a woman, and I was assured that the surgery and follow-up treatment developed by the team at UF Health were the right solution for me.”
Paine’s breast cancer team included Spiguel; Judith Lightsey, M.D., UF College of Medicine radiation oncologist; Coy Heldermon, M.D., Ph.D., UF College of Medicine medical oncologist; and Pamela Clevenger, R.N., UF Health Cancer Center oncology nurse navigator.
“More minds together allows us to really think about all options for each patient and personalizing our patient care to nurture the individual,” Spiguel said.
Paine required a lumpectomy. On the day of surgery, her care team put her at ease and she was confident her procedure would be a success.
“Surgery day went without any hiccups,” Paine said. “Dr. Spiguel was prepared, I was prepared … and then it was on to the after-care and trying to maintain good health.”
Paine required radiation therapy following surgery, and she drove 220 miles for 28 days from Valdosta to the UF Health Davis Cancer Pavilion to receive her treatment.
“It was worth it for the care I received at UF Health,” she said. “Now I can continue doing things that I had to put on hold for a while. UF Health gave me life again. That’s a feeling that no one can take away now.”