By Dottie McKown
It all started in March 2021 with a women's wellness checkup with my primary care provider just like I’ve done every year. During the Pap smear examination, my doctor noticed a lump visible close to the wall of my uterus. Without causing much panic, she advised us to wait and see what the culture result was before making any decisions. The result came back negative. Nevertheless, she ordered an ultrasound to look at the lump which I was told was a fibroid. Still, we wanted more testing to ensure there was nothing more. An MRI concluded it was a non-cancerous fibroid.
Fast forward to August 2021, and something still didn’t feel right. I went to see a gynecologist who did a biopsy which determined a stage 1B with uterine cancer. He instructed us to seek out treatment from a cancer specialist.
I felt numb hearing the word cancer. Without any hesitation, my husband asked to have all my medical records transferred to Moffitt. The last thing I remembered was my doctor hugging me with tears in his eyes and saying, "good luck and God bless you, Ms. Dottie."
In the car, my wonderful husband took my hands and said, "listen, we are going to get you the best care and fight like hell to beat this cancer. Now, let’s get things started with Moffitt."
In less than 24 hours of receiving this life-altering news, we were contacted by Moffitt. The young lady who contacted me, in her cheerful and friendly voice told me, "you’ll be seeing Dr. Mitchel Hoffman. You’re in good hands. He is our very best surgeon."
Those words comforted me tremendously, more than she will ever know. Things were moving fast.
The stars were aligned with God’s grace and mercy, I was placed in the very capable hands of Dr. Hoffman and his team in the Department of Gynecologic Oncology. After meeting with him, I knew for the very first time that we made the right decision in choosing Moffitt for my care.
Dr. Hoffman made us feel welcome. He was kind, empathic, understanding, and tremendously informative about what comes next. His medical knowledge and expertise in his field put my mind at ease. He's also very funny. Soon, I was scheduled for my surgery within two weeks after my first appointment.
"Caring for Dottie was and continues to be a privilege and an absolute pleasure."- Dr. Mitchel Hoffman
A bilateral robotic surgery with a total hysterectomy was done followed by three rounds of brachytherapy treatment with Dr. Dan Fernandez who is equally fantastic. The journey at Moffitt was the most amazing and best decision that I’ve ever made.
Dr. Hoffman, Dr. Fernandez and their team saved my life. There’s no doubt about that.
I’m also fortunate to have an amazing support system from my family. Everyone was by my side every step of the way.
I’m sharing my story with the hope to inspire strength and courage in those who are going through the same cancer journey.
You too can win this fight. You must put your faith in God and a cancer center like Moffitt. These amazing doctors at Moffitt are full of compassion. I'm a warrior and a survivor because I chose to fight along with my family and amazing doctors like Dr. Hoffman, Dr. Fernandez, and their team.
I'm living proof. You too can be a survivor.