Shirlene Bonsignore

cancer-care

04/25/2019

Shirlene Bonsignore was not really interested in following up with her yearly mammogram. Even though she had a family history of breast cancer, she didn't want to think about the possibility that it could happen to her. "My primary care doctor insisted I do a follow up to my mammogram, and I didn't want to go. I put it off for over a year. And finally she said she'd make the appointment for me and make sure they did all the tests I needed in one day so I didn't have to go back." After that follow up, in October 2018, Shirlene's doctors told her they found something abnormal and needed to perform a biopsy. When that biopsy also came back abnormal, Shirlene was referred to Dr. Georgios Rossidis, an Ocala Health surgeon. "What could have initially been a very scary and traumatic situation, was made so streamlined and easy with the staff in Dr. Rossidis' office. They were truly fantastic. I had to do nothing - which is good because I was ready to run out of the office." Shirlene was scheduled for a lumpectomy to remove the abnormal cells. But she didn't get the answers she was hoping for afterwards. "We expected it to be benign. Everyone did. And when I went into the office to follow up, they had to tell me that I had cancer," Shirlene remembers. Instead of sending her home with this news and giving her time to dwell on her diagnosis, an Ocala Health Cancer Navigator was immediately introduced to her and staff was walking her through next steps, procedures, insurance protocols, etc. "They really empowered me by knowing what I needed before I even knew," she says. "I was not just any patient - every person that I work with at Ocala Health knows me as a person and doesn't allow me to break down or get stuck because I'm still going through it." Shirlene is currently awaiting further testing to see what additional treatment she'll need to have. "The team at Ocala Health has literally saved my life. You don't even know you need them until you do."