Patient Story - Peggy Hayson
Peggy Hayson counts the colleagues she works with at Lafayette Regional Health Center among her best friends. And when the chips were down for Peggy, a 15-year employee in the hospital’s Emergency Department, those peers rallied with encouragement, support and compassion—everything good friends do for friends.
It was July 2008 and Peggy’s cancer story started as it does for many women—after a shower, when they notice something that doesn’t look quite right. In Peggy’s instance her mammogram was five years overdue so she made an appointment at Lafayette’s imaging department. Her technician was Connie Kalthoff, a fellow hospital employee and friend.
“Connie returned to the room following my mammogram and said the doctor wanted to get another film,” says Peggy. “I was a bit nervous, but assumed they were being cautious. I never really thought it would be breast cancer because I didn’t have it on either side of my family.”
Jay Crockett, DO, of Mid-America Radiology told Peggy to make an appointment with Daljeet Singh, MD, of the Higginsville Medical Clinic.
“Dr. Singh explained that I might have breast cancer and referred me to a surgeon,” recalls Peggy, saying that the most difficult challenge for her came after that session. “I had to tell my husband, children and mother.”
Peggy was referred to a surgeon at Research Medical Center in Kansas City who performed a biopsy and indeed found breast cancer. She had a mastectomy, during which the doctor discovered the disease had spread to Peggy’s lymph nodes. She was going to need chemotherapy—and the loving care of her friends at Lafayette Regional Health Center.
“I never imagined I would be on the other side,” says Peggy.
Nurses, technicians, administrative staff and even doctors sent Peggy cards, letters and flowers. They kept her in their prayers and reassured her when hair started falling out following powerful chemotherapy. They told Peggy her wig looked beautiful and helped her find humor in her shiny new baldness. And when Peggy’s non-dyed hair grew, back they complimented her gray and stylish new cut.
“No one has better friends than that,” laughs Peggy.
Peggy’s unexpected diagnosis has made her aware that cancer can happen to anyone, at any time—regardless of family history.
“If I hadn’t looked in the mirror that morning the outcome might have been different,” says Peggy. “I have a good chance for a cure but the truth is that some of us will win the battle and some of us won’t.
Peggy’s own army of supporters at Lafayette Regional Health Center have made her grateful for the TLC she received as both a patient and an employee.
“It’s just remarkable,” she says.
Peggy is involved with the American Cancer Society’s annual Relay for Life and is asking her friends at Lafayette Regional Health Center for a bit of their time so that others who are fighting cancer might have more time : A lap (or two or three) around the track at Lexington High School in June. See Pam Johnson to sign up for the walk that raises money and awareness to fight cancer.
“With more research and treatments available we have a better chance than ever of winning this battle,” says Peggy.