Creating Hope - Karen's Breast Cancer Story

Oct 9, 2020

Karen-300-x-250As a dedicated participant in many Breast Cancer Awareness activities throughout Palm Beach County and an organizer of similar promotions at my own work place, I am a strong proponent and advocate for the prevention, early diagnosis and early intervention for breast cancer. Aware of the advantages and importance of annual mammograms, I underwent this life-saving measure.

To my great surprise, in December 2019, the results of my mammogram came back abnormal. After over 25-years of supporting and promoting Breast Cancer Awareness, I was now forced to personally face breast cancer head-on. Without hesitation, I began searching to find the best team of doctors and a well-trained breast cancer surgeon to guide and assist me through this challenging and life altering event.

My gynecologist recently had a personal connection with breast cancer; her sister underwent treatment and they both highly recommended Dr. Elena Rehl. She had breast cancer surgery with Dr. Rehl and both proclaimed their utmost confidence stating she was one of the best breast cancer surgeons in Palm Beach County. After my first contact with her office, I knew that I had made an excellent choice. The warm and caring communication I received from the office staff was as though I was calling my family to say hello. It was evident that the members of her practice displayed a special attitude toward their patients.

From my first biopsy when Dr. Rehl’s assistant held my hand for comfort and throughout my breast cancer journey, the care and mannerism of everyone under Dr. Rehl’s leadership reflected a family-like atmosphere. Every procedural step taken by Dr. Rehl involved precision, empathy and patience. She always ensured that I felt comfortable and at ease. My own inner strength, confidence, and calmness was radiated and illuminated from Dr. Rehl’s words of support and encouragement.

Dr. Rehl and I connected instantly. She grew up in Jupiter, left after high school and, after her extensive medical training, returned to her family to use her skills to care for the community of women in her hometown. Even with the breast cancer diagnosis the road ahead seemed brighter with Dr. Rehl at my side. I was diagnosed with cancer in my left breast. As we reviewed the next steps, Dr. Rehl responded like a sister. She was gentle, sympathetic and genuine as she discussed my options and the pathways for treatment. With confidence and an understanding of the possible future occurrences of cancer in both breasts, I chose the option of having a double mastectomy.

My surgery was performed in February 2020 at Good Samaritan Medical Center’s Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center. Dr. Rehl’s supportive and caring attitude was mirrored by the entire staff at the hospital. Everybody was wonderful.

After the surgery, and at the recommendation of Dr. Rehl, I went on to have radiation treatment followed by prescribed medication. In my fight with cancer, she had proposed that every avenue be taken to irradiate the disease and I have followed her advice every step of the way. She was a godsend.

Throughout this process, I have stayed positive. I think remaining positive makes the doctor’s job a lot easier. I can say from my heart, Dr. Rehl loves what she does every day.  I am so thankful that Dr. Rehl has a passion for breast cancer care and was my surgeon. She shows compassion and love toward her patients. Breast cancer surgery and recovery is a challenge, but being positive and having a doctor like Dr. Rehl, one you can call anytime, makes all the difference.

Not only did Dr. Rehl’s office staff provide timely communication, but Dr. Rehl would call me herself to explain different parts of this process and to see how I was doing. With Dr. Rehl, it’s not just surgery. She believes in communicating with you throughout the process and following up with you to see how you’re doing. She has passion for what she does, is very calm and easy to approach. Dr. Rehl and her staff wholeheartedly treat you like family. They create a strong team to assist you in your fight and throughout your journey. I am so very thankful for their support system and truly believe they have increased my chances for survival.

Cancer is not kind. I think you just have to face cancer by being brave, positive and putting a great support system in place. Having Dr. Rehl as the center of my support system got me through it. I feel thankful and grateful and would encourage anyone facing the challenges of breast cancer to seek Dr. Rehl’s help. Her passion is to help women with breast cancer. Beginning with the first contact, patients will realize Dr. Rehl’s angelic and masterful qualities; I did and without reservation highly recommend her and Good Samaritan Medical Center to others.