Early Detection and Encouragement: How Patricia Lorentzen Beat Lung Cancer
A revolutionary new approach to detecting and treating lung cancer is showing great promise in South Jersey at the Lung Nodule Center at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center – Washington Township.
Patricia Lorentzen, 63, of Manchester Township, NJ, is a patient of Dr. Jay Steinberg, Medical Director of Thoracic Surgery, who credits early detection for saving her life. Without the incredible relationships and encouragement to continue her treatment from the specialists at the Lung Nodule Center, Patricia believes she would not be where she is today.
In November 2017, Patricia was referred to Dr. Steinberg after doctors at Deborah Heart and Lung Center discovered nodules on both of her lungs. While keeping a “close eye” on the growing right nodule, Dr. Steinberg noticed that the left nodule had suddenly and drastically grown. Patricia was diagnosed with a stage 1, type B, large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma with a pericardial effusion.
When Dr. Steinberg first told Patricia her diagnosis, she thought, “Forget it. I’m just going to sit this one out.”
“I was hiding in a corner, and it was really hard to pull myself out. Dr. Steinberg warned me not to play with lung cancer,” said Patricia. “I had to overcome my fear and follow through. It literally saved my life.”
In April 2018, Patricia had her first lobectomy. She spent three days at Jefferson Washington Township Hospital, without complications. “I felt better than I had in years. I was up dancing with a tube in my chest on the second day,” she said.
In August, Dr. Steinberg removed the adrenocarcinoma from Patricia’s right lower lung.
“When battling cancer, you’re happy one day, you’re sad the next. Going through it alone is not a good idea,” Patricia said. “There’s so much that can help you get through those days when you feel like it’s raining all over you and you don’t have an umbrella.”
The kindness, thoughtfulness, and genuine concern of the staff made Patricia feel supported and less like a burden. Dr. Steinberg, specifically, helped her become her own advocate, which mitigated some of her emotional hardship.
“This support system kept me in-check. When people tried to tell me to go elsewhere, I explained to them that I wasn’t going to chase the better – I already had the best,” Patricia said.
Patricia, aware of the importance of following up, said, “If I see something or feel something, I say something. It’s not ‘no big deal.’ It’s not worth waiting.”
“As crazy as it sounds, I walk better. I breathe better,” said Patricia. “As of today, I am 100 percent cancer free. And even if I’m not, I’m not worried, because I know Dr. Steinberg has my back. Because of early detection, I’m alive.”
To learn more about the Lung Nodule Center at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center – Washington Township, please visit KennedyIsJefferson.org/lung.