Ashleigh Parker: I Choose Better Doctors
I’m Ashleigh Parker, and I choose better doctors, faith and hope at Baptist Cancer Center.
A cancer diagnosis is often overwhelming. It brings with it the worst feelings and emotions one can experience in a lifetime. Fear, doubt, anger, worry and despair can each be crippling on its own. But when all of these emotions come out at once, it can be devastating.
And so it was for Ashleigh Parker when she received her diagnosis of colorectal cancer in August 2019. As an active mother, she had not even considered she could be so sick. She had children to care for, a husband and all the responsibilities that come with having a family. But now, her life was irretrievably changed. Because not only had her MRI and CT scans revealed she had cancer, they also confirmed that the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes and her liver. Ashleigh had stage 4 cancer.
“Because of my advanced disease, my doctor recommended that I go see Dr. Aleksandar Jankov at Baptist Cancer Center,” recalled Ashleigh. “The day we met him in the office, I had already known it had spread to my liver. And being a mom of four kids and a wife, I was very concerned. I remember tearing up, asking him, ‘Am I going to die? What do I need to tell my kids?’”
But what Dr. Jankov did next had a profound effect on Ashleigh’s outlook, and she came to the sudden realization that she had arrived at the right place to begin her fight against cancer.
“Dr. Jankov just walked over to me, held my hands and he just talked to me in a calm, compassionate voice,” recalled Ashleigh. “I knew instantly that he was in my corner. He was for me. So we started the journey.”
And throughout her journey, Ashleigh began to understand that the human connection, the relationship between the patient and doctor, was every bit as important to her success as the medical expertise and technological resources that make Baptist Cancer Center a leader in cancer care.
“The one thing that has mattered the most to me is that I truly feel my doctor really cares about me,” she said. “One of the days I was there, he told me he was proud of me. Just, ‘I’m proud of you.’ Those words mean a lot. I know he is doing everything he possibly can to cure me. His saying that reminded me that he thinks of me as a person, a mom and a wife. And not just a medical file. That is what makes this whole place so special.”
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