Carol’s Story

Carol’s Story

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A representative from ConnectCare3 visited my place of employment and told us about their nurse navigation program.  The timing couldn’t have been more perfect as just days before my dentist’s office had felt a lump in my neck and encouraged me to follow-up with my Primary Care Physician (PCP).  My PCP ordered blood work which showed an elevated calcium level, frequently a sign of hyperparathyroidism.  He suggested I be evaluated by an endocrinologist, a specialist in hormone disorders, and I scheduled that appointment.

The ConnectCare3 nurse navigator assigned to me indicated she would be happy to prepare questions for the appointment and added she could also accompany me to the appointment, if I’d find that to be helpful.  I gladly accepted her offer as we had developed a rapport during our very first telephone conversation, and I knew I would appreciate her being there.

My instincts were correct as having a registered nurse with me at that appointment and all follow-up appointments was very comforting.  Before each appointment we would develop a list of questions to ask the doctor.  On the day of the appointment, our advance preparation created a healthy exchange of information, and I always felt the appointments were productive and informative.  My ConnectCare3 nurse navigator took such detailed notes and provided me with a comprehensive summary of every appointment that I was able to share with my husband.

I learned there are four small parathyroid glands located behind the thyroid gland.  An ultrasound would determine which gland was possibly enlarged and causing an overproduction of parathyroid hormone, resulting in a high calcium level in the blood.

The ultrasound revealed one parathyroid gland that was abnormal.  It was interesting to learn that a normal parathyroid gland is the size of a grain of rice.  My atypical gland was the size of a blueberry and needed to be removed.  I was scheduled for a parathyroidectomy.

My surgery was successful, and I felt so much better once I was back home recovering.  My cough was gone, and my energy level returned.  I had not realized how adversely that one small, abnormal gland was affecting my health.  My co-workers noticed positive changes in me as well when I was able to return to work.

I am so thankful for the ConnectCare3 nurse navigator who accompanied me on this medical journey.  She advocated for me every step of the way, and I valued her support tremendously.  I encourage anyone eligible for the services of ConnectCare3 to contact them when they are trying to navigate a new diagnosis.  Their nurses can help you understand your diagnosis and treatment options, research physicians with the expertise to treat your condition, identify second opinion options, prepare you for appointments, and offer clinical support throughout your illness.  I will be forever grateful for the knowledgeable and caring nurse who assisted me!

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