Cumberland’s Lyman Allen “Back to the Life I Love” Thanks to WMHS
Always very active, Lyman Allen enjoyed long distance bike riding and kayaking. He became alarmed when he started to develop shortness of breath one day while on a bike ride with his son. He was afraid he was going to have to give up his favorite hobbies.
“After going to many different doctors, they finally told me that I would have to live with the condition I was battling. Apparently, there was nothing they could do to help,” said Lyman. “I got depressed, and I got to the point where I couldn’t even last a whole trip to the market with my wife without becoming short of breath.”
It was then that he was referred the Western Maryland Health System. Just days after his initial appointment, he was in surgery to repair his paralyzed diaphragm.
“They spent lots of time explaining every step of the way. My wife and I would recommend him to anyone,” he said.
“Just seven months after my surgery I was back to doing 30 mile bike rides,” he said. “Now, a year later, I’m feeling much better and back to kayaking and up to 35 miles on my bike.”
“Thanks to the care I received—I am back to the life I love.”
Don and Tammy Corwell Say WMHS is their “Comfort Zone”
When Don Corwell was diagnosed with cancer, he didn’t hesitate coming to the Western Maryland Health System for care. Why? His wife Tammy had already been a patient at the WMHS Schwab Family Cancer Center.
“Once I got to know the doctors there, I knew I wasn’t going anywhere else. I trusted my life with them,” said Don.
“I’ve had both radiation and chemotherapy. You only see these people 15 minutes a day; but when you see them on the street, they know you by name. Staying in the community means a lot to us, and I think the care that you get here is just as good as you can get anywhere.”
The Corwells were so impressed that they started an annual fundraiser that benefits other patients at the WMHS Schwab Family Cancer Center. The proceeds from their Redneck Float go the Cancer Patient Assistance Fund at WMHS. This fund provides patients with financial assistance for some of the things that insurance doesn’t cover—or even the necessities of life.
Tammy explained, “Even with insurance, people were lagging behind on their bills because they lost their jobs to cancer. There were so many people who couldn’t afford their medications or even a wig. That’s when I had the idea for the Redneck Float. There are so many wonderful people receiving care. Even though they’re sick and getting treatments and blood transfusions, they smile and say hi. It’s just a wonderful place to be.”
Tammy added,”I know cancer can reoccur anytime, and I wouldn’t want to be any other place than here. This is our comfort zone.”
“Were comfortable with everyone here – not only the oncology doctors but the surgeons and the radiologists,” concluded Don
Don and Tammy Corwell
Ridgeley, West Virginia
Cowgill Family from Keyser Says Labor & Delivery Care was Great
Having experienced many complications with the delivery of their daughter in 2008, Ken and Amy Cowgill were feeling very anxious when it was time for their second child to be born.
However, upon arriving at the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center on June 25 for her scheduled caesarean section, the feelings of anxiousness seemed to go away. Amy says that she received some of the most attentive and genuine care she has ever experienced.
“From the moment I was admitted to Labor and Delivery to the time I was wheeled to our car, I received nothing but first-rate care,” she said.
“Every nurse who took care of me and my son made sure to check on every need we might have, even bringing me snacks and drinks without my request for them,” Amy said.
They also mention that the nursing students from Allegany College who assisted in Amy’s care were “very professional and eager to learn.”
Ken and Amy couldn’t be happier with the care they received at the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center.
“They (the caregivers) all seemed genuinely concerned for my recovery and my transition to becoming a new mom again, and I truly appreciated their willingness to listen and provide support and suggestions when necessary,” she added.
Ken and Amy Cowgill
Fort Ashby’s Dean Wasson say the Care he Received was Tremendous
With his many years of EMS experience, Dean Wasson knew the signs of a stroke. But when those same signs began happening to him, he was in denial.
“I thought, I’ll go back to bed and sleep it off. Well it didn’t happen. By noon I could hold my arm straight out. By evening time I couldn’t lift my left arm or left leg.” Dean said.
It was then that his family called for an ambulance to get him to the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center.
After a 5-day stay in acute care, Dean turned to the Comprehensive Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit to begin his road to recovery.
“Here I am, 70 years old, trying to learn how to dress myself when I only have use of one side. I couldn’t stand up without holding on to something. Now I don’t need to hold on to something. That is all from the care that I’ve received from not only occupational therapy, but from physical therapy.”
“The team in the CIRU couldn’t have been any better. They know how to motivate you to do things you need to do to get back on your feet. From the Emergency Room to my stay in the CIRU – the care I have received has been tremendous,” said Dean.
“I would recommend both the inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services to anyone.”
Fort Ashby, WV
Cumberland Local Katie Murray says “Why go anywhere else?
Having battled cancer before, Katie Murray was no stranger to the excellent care that is provided by the medical and radiation oncologists and staff at the Western Maryland Health System.
Just last year, Katie’s abdomen was enlarged and causing her pain. Doctors at WMHS quickly diagnosed that her previous breast cancer had returned.
Without a second thought, Katie took the advice of Dr. Blanche Mavromatis, a medical oncologist here at WMHS, and began her road to recovery. Katie found the care from Dr. Mavromatis to be nothing short of incredible.
“Dr. Mavromatis is wonderful. I just have such total confidence in her. I really feel like she is so up on the newest treatments,” she said.
“I get my treatment every Tuesday and everyone says, ‘I bet you hate Tuesdays.’ And, actually, no I don’t because I come in and I see all my friends. The doctors and staff at the WMHS Schwab Family Cancer Center are my friends. Actually, I consider them family,” she explained.
“You know they care about you. You hear tons of laughter. It’s never a sad place. For the most part, the patients are all smiling and in a good mood and they know this is a good place to be,” she noted.
One thing in particular that impressed her was the fact that the staff knows your name and is happy to go above and beyond what they have to do in order to make it a positive experience for each patient.
“I never dread coming here at all. I’ve met some people who are also having chemo. There is one woman in particular that I have become close friends with. I went to visit her when I wasn’t having chemo and sat with her during her treatment. Then the other day when she wasn’t having it, she came and sat with me. It’s just a really warm, comfortable place to be.”
Katie finds every aspect of care she has received at the WMHS Schwab Family Cancer Center to be top-notch and cannot imagine going anywhere else.
“I have total confidence in the doctors here. The staff is just incredible and has made my whole experience, which is something nobody wants to go through, delightful,” she said.
“I just cannot say enough. It’s a beautiful, lovely place to be. I just can’t imagine going out of this area for treatment when we have such excellent physicians, as well as such a beautiful facility and great staff right here in Cumberland,” concluded Katie.
Patient Jeff Stump Recommends WMHS in a Heartbeat
When Jeff Stump became short of breath doing everyday things around the house, he assumed it was just part of getting older. Once simple tasks like carrying baskets of laundry now required him to take breaks and catch his breath.
When the time came for him to go overseas with his National Guard Unit, he was startled to find that he did not pass his physical.
“I was supposed to go to Iraq with my National Guard unit and that’s when they found it. I failed my physical and they sent me for more tests. They sent me to Dr. Kullkarni and he told me I wasn’t going anywhere,” he said.
“Dr. Kullkarni really sat me down and took me step by step with what was going on. He showed me everything and that’s what really woke me up. He wanted Dr. Nelson to look at me. He told me I had severe regurgitation of my mitrovalve. I saw Dr. Nelson in August and had the surgery in October.”
Mr. Stump holds Dr. Nelson in a high regard and said that if he ever needs cardiac surgery again, he would come to Dr. Nelson in a heartbeat.
During his stay in the Cardiovascular Unit, he never experienced a problem or wanted for anything. He stated that the nurses were always checking on him and were very responsive to the call button.
Mr. Stump recommends WMHS to anyone. He said that over the years he has been with several family members as they received cardiac care at other facilities.
“I’ve seen other Heart Units around the region and state and WMHS is top notch compared to them,” he said. When asked what advice he would give to people facing heart surgery, Stump recommends first and foremost to listen and follow the instructions that the doctors and nurses give you. He also said watching what you eat and taking care of yourself is crucial.
Since the surgery, Mr. Stump has been able to get back to his old activities like coaching middle school basketball and working out.
“I’m running up and down the basketball court coaching 8th graders. I work out 2-3 days a week. I have a gym in my garage,” he noted.
“I come back about 4-5 months to see the nurses. They tell me to walk in anytime I want to. It’s been over a year and they still remember me. They’re awesome people. They saved my life.”
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