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“Thank you. Thank you for battling. We appreciate you…your strength and your perseverance.”

Health for Life is a publication of Piedmont Henry Fall 2012

~ Jason Heyward


Fall 2012 Health for Life is intended to provide general health information only. It should not be used to self-diagnose or as a substitute for advice by a physician or other healthcare professional. For questions or comments about Health for Life, please write or call the Piedmont Henry Marketing Department, 1133 Eagle’s Landing Parkway, Stockbridge, GA 30281, 678.604.1026.

Charles Scott President and CEO Jeff Cooper Vice President and COO Donna M. Braddy Director of Marketing, Public Relations, Community Education and Volunteer Services

Alvin Case with his wife Joan and great grandson Brayden. His story on page 18.

Michelle A. Nunnally Public Relations Specialist Design and Art Direction by tbg design Terry B. Gardner – Designer Leigh Delozier – Writer Michie Turpin – Photographer Health for Life, Fall 2012. Published bi-monthly by Piedmont Henry. All information herein has been checked for accuracy to the best of the publisher’s ability. No responsibility is accepted for deletions, omissions, errors and/or inaccuracies. No materials contained herein may be reproduced without the exclusive written permission of the publisher.

on the cover:

Jason Heyward of the Atlanta Braves & REAL MEN WEAR PINK story on page 14

©2012 Piedmont Henry. All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A.

Fully accredited by The Joint Commission of National Quality Approval.

Need a physician? Call 678.604.1017 or visit

In this issue - it's all about Awareness, Support & Healing

breast and prostate cancer

4 Holding On To Joy - Crystal Hildreth 8 Faith Through The Fight - Sonia Ray 12 Digital Detection - Kathy Teal 14 Real Men Wear Pink 18 Prostate Cancer - Alvin Case

“Breast cancer doesn’t have to be a death sentence anymore. There is so much more hope for women than there used to be.” Crystal Hildreth’s story on page 4


“My prayer has been that my children see me walking this path in joy because I know that God is holding my hand.” ~Crystal Hildreth

Holding on Crystal Hildreth still has vivid childhood memories of her aunt battling breast cancer. But life was busy and she didn’t seem to have any health problems, so she didn’t dwell on the possibility of having cancer herself. “My doctor said that I needed to start having mammograms by age 35 because of my family history,” Hildreth says. “But I was pretty healthy, so I never would go. The one thing I did do was promise God that if I ever found a lump I would go straight to the doctor.” That day came in January 2012. “I hadn’t done a self-exam in about a year,” Hildreth says. “For some reason, that morning I raised my left arm, reached my right hand across, and it went straight to a lump. I couldn’t see it, but I could feel it. I knew I had cancer.” Mammograms showed spots that the physicians considered suspicious, so Hildreth scheduled a biopsy with Scott Timbert, M.D. She had the procedure on her daughter’s 14th birthday, then spent the rest of the day with family at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.


“It was such a peaceful way to be together while we were waiting for the news,” she says. “I knew I had a 50/50 chance. I prayed to God that if it was His will for me to go through this journey, I knew He would be with me.” Hildreth had her answer by the next evening. Her family gathered around for the first of what would be many prayers as they dealt with her cancer. Treatment began with six rounds of chemotherapy, starting in March. The support of family and friends, her faith, and a love for working with children at her tutoring center in McDonough kept Hildreth going. “I’ve home schooled our children for nineteen years,” Hildreth says. “They’re leaving the nest, but I still wanted to help children. The doors started opening for me to offer tutoring services, and we opened The Hildreth Center. I believe that God has used the Center to help me have a reason to keep going and a goal to focus on. “There were a few days when I couldn’t make it to school, but my mom and a friend filled in,” she adds. “I can’t imagine going through this without my family and my sisters of faith.” Hildreth had her last treatment on June 29. Follow-up tests showed that a 7 mm growth remained after the chemotherapy. She underwent surgery on August 3 to remove both breasts and ten lymph nodes. The physicians obtained good margins and tests showed her lymph nodes were clear.



The Hildreth Family Health for Life Fall 2012 | page 5

The Hildreth Center Family The next steps in Hildreth’s journey will be radiation treatments at Henry Radiation Oncology Center, followed by reconstructive surgery when her body has recovered.

forward to running another one next year when all of this is finished to ‘book end’ this thing.”

“When we started this whole process, Dr. Timbert told me we were going into it with an expectation of hope,” Hildreth says. “He said I would go through treatment and get on with my life. “The hardest part is behind me now,” she continues. “Our family ran a half marathon right around the time this started. I’m looking


“As women, we nurture others. It’s hard when we can’t – it’s very humbling.” ~Crystal Hildreth

Hildreth also plans to do whatever she can to help other women who are going through treatment. She stresses the importance of early diagnosis. Hildreth tested positive for the Breast Cancer 2 Susceptibility Protein (BRCA2). Knowing BRCA2 can be hereditary, Hildreth’s sister has already undergone a preventative double mastectomy. Hildreth’s 21-year-old niece also tested positive and plans to increase monitoring for signs of cancer. Hildreth encourages women who have a family history of breast cancer to talk to their physician about BRCA2. Hildreth says her friend Teresa Garmon, a breast cancer survivor who leads support groups and offers encouragement to others, has been her angel throughout her treatments. “My prayer is that when I come out on the other side of this, I can be a Teresa for someone else,” says Hildreth.

Teresa Garmon Ms. Face of Hope 2012, breast cancer survivor and Hildreth’s friend

Health for Life Fall 2012 | page 7

FAITH through the FIGH T



Each of us should listen to our bodies and know ourselves better than anyone else. For Sonia Ray of Rex, self understanding might have been the difference between life and death. “I felt a huge lump with pain under my breast and arm in January 2011,” she says. “I was healthy and didn’t have a close family history of breast cancer, so my doctor told me it was nothing to worry about.” When the pain continued to worsen over the next few weeks, Ray decided it was time to be more assertive. “I called my doctor back and demanded an ultrasound,” she says. “I went to Piedmont Henry for it.” Ray was only 34 years old at the time and had never had a mammogram. “But I’ve gone with my mom when she had her mammograms for the past 10 years,” she says, “so I knew how things worked. The radiologist came in after the ultrasound and started asking questions. He said we were also going to do a mammogram. When he came in again, I knew it wasn’t good.”

I was so “thankful

to be alive last Christmas that I put up four trees!

The radiologist told Ray that he believed she had breast cancer. “I went to the hospital by myself that day,” she remembers. The staff was wonderful to me. They gave me a blanket and wrapped their arms around me. They told me that I wasn’t the first woman to have breast cancer, and that I wouldn’t be the last. They said I was going to be OK.” Ray broke the news to her husband Danny that weekend, despite it being their anniversary. She had a biopsy and diagnosis confirmation by the next week. “My oncologist [Ruth Sarmiento, M.D.] wanted to hit this disease from every angle,” Ray says. Ray began 16 rounds of chemotherapy in late March 2011. The medication used during her first four rounds is so strong many patients refer to it as the “red devil.” One of the women in Ray’s survivor support group, Teresa Garmon, suggested she think of it from a different perspective: as the blood of Jesus going through your veins. “I was weak and my body felt different, but I wasn’t sick and didn’t spend any days in bed,” Ray says. Instead, she lived life as fully as possible throughout chemotherapy. Ray went camping, spent the day at Six Flags, and more.

~ Sonia Ray

Health for Life Fall 2012 | page 9

“I cut my hair on my birthday, April 5,” she says. “Some chunks were already starting to come out, so to take the seriousness out of the situation I had a cutting party with my family. I let my 7-year-old son cut my hair and I donated it to Locks of Love. I never wore a wig, so people asked questions wherever I went. I used it as a chance to declare my healing and encourage other women.” Chemotherapy shrank Ray’s cancer so much that physicians thought they could remove it with a lumpectomy before radiation. Lab reports, however, showed that they were dealing with a type of cancer with extremely rapid growth. “I didn’t understand all the scientific terms in the report, but I knew that it was bad,” Ray says. “Dr. Sarmiento recommended that we do a double mastectomy immediately.” One week later, Ray underwent the procedure. “When I woke up, the first thing that came to me was, ‘What kind of woman am I? I have no hair, no breasts.’ I felt like I would be OK if I could praise God even in that moment. I started to worship, and the fear left me.”

Sonia’s supportive family

more tolerable. “At the end of the seven weeks, Dr. [Kim] Vu, M.D. said I was the first patient she’d seen who hadn’t stopped treatment, who didn’t have any burns, and whose cuts from surgery hadn’t opened,” Ray says. “I told her that’s the power of the God I serve.” After radiation, Dr. Timbert told Ray she was doing so well she could wait four months before her next appointment. “When I went to schedule a time, the receptionist asked if March 5 would be OK,” Ray says. “She had no idea that March 5 is our wedding anniversary and that it would be the anniversary of when I told my husband I had cancer. It felt like everything was coming full circle.” Ray looked forward to the appointment, but had another scare when she found a lump where her breasts had been. She saw her oncologist, and decided to wait until March 5 to see Dr. Timbert about a biopsy and ultrasound.

“Dr. Timbert agreed that we needed to do an ultrasound, but he needed a biopsy first,” she says. “He did it there in the office, and it felt like it took forever. Then he The healing and recovery “ I m ’ so thankful for the physicians and the facilities where was cheering, ‘It busted, it process went so well that I ve ’ been . It ’s meant so much to have this team around me.” busted!’ I didn’t know what Ray even returned to home he meant until he said that schooling her sons the next cancer doesn’t bust – so that meant this lump wasn’t cancer. week. Pathology reports showed clear margins, but the tests He was as happy as my husband and I were that it wasn’t cancer.” showed rapid growth within vessels of the specimen.

the support team

“Dr. [Scott] Timbert said he’d done all he could for me,” Ray says. “I spent about three days so afraid it was going to come back, but I couldn’t go on that way. God gave me confirmation so I know it’s not coming back. As the years go by and it doesn’t recur, that’s my testimony to a miracle.” Ray had 33 radiation treatments at Henry Radiation Oncology Center in the fall of 2011. Once again, she prayed her way through each day and took preventive measures to make things

Today, Ray is going through the follow-up steps to reconstructive surgery and finding ways to encourage other women. She visits with them as they have chemotherapy treatments and speaks to groups whenever possible. “I can tell them that I know how they feel when they’re weak, with no hair and no breasts,” she says. “I’ve walked this path and want to help them walk theirs. The fruits of my journey are starting to show.”

“My message to women is do self-exams, even if you don’t have a family history of breast cancer. Be aware of your body and demand to have a mammogram if you think something is wrong.” ~ Sonia Ray


Sonia and her husband Danny

I told my husband “about my cancer on

our anniversary. We joked that I won the prize for having the worst anniversary present ever.

~ Sonia Ray

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MAMMOGRAMS SAVE LIVES Call 678-604-1055 to schedule




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Piedmont Henry’s Foundation Education Center Register online at

Health for Life Fall 2012 | page 11

Every hospital wants the latest technology available for its patients. A few months ago, McDonough

resident Kathy Teal became living proof that having the latest equipment at Piedmont Henry saves lives.

Teal’s story began when her physician saw two small nodules on mammogram films that she didn’t like. She sent Teal to Piedmont Henry for a second mammogram, and gave instructions that she should have a follow-up mammogram and ultrasound every six months to keep a close check on things.

Digital Detection

“When you’re told you have cancer, there are just so many things that go through your mind. It broke my heart.” ~ Kathy Teal

“I’ll admit I whined,” Teal says. “Work was always busy, my parents needed a lot of help because of their health, I wanted to spend time with our grandkids. But my husband always kept asking until I would schedule the appointment.”

Kathy Teal and husband Danny are very proud of her “graduation” certificate.

At her second follow-up, Teal asked the radiologist what he thought about the nodules. “He said they were probably absolutely nothing, but that if they were still there in six months they might be worth investigating further.” During that six-month time frame, Piedmont Henry acquired a new digital mammography machine. When Teal returned for her next mammogram in December 2011, the technologist thought she saw something suspicious. “She got the radiologist, and they kept taking pictures,” Teal says. “After I had the ultrasound the radiologist told me the digital equipment had picked up on some more things so he wanted to refer me to a breast specialist. I thought they were still looking at the first two nodules, but they’d seen something else.” The “something else” was calcification that Scott Timbert, M.D. said was only seen because of the new digital technology. Teal was scheduled for a surgical biopsy at Piedmont Henry because the


calcification was too large and deep to remove in an office setting. “About 10 days later Dr. Timbert told me it was cancer,” Teal says. “No one on either side of my family had ever had breast cancer. I didn’t feel anything, I had no symptoms. I never imagined it would happen to me. That’s what was so devastating.” Dr. Timbert was quick to follow the news with


encouragement. “He said, ‘Any woman I’m treating would gladly trade places with you,’” Teal says. “We caught it so early. He said it wouldn’t take my life, it wouldn’t shorten my life. But we needed to take care of it.” On March 9, 2012, Dr. Timbert removed the calcification and the two original nodules. Teal began a series of 30 radiation treatments at Henry Radiation Oncology Center a few weeks later. “The people who help patients through those treatments, those are the people you need to admire,” Teal says. “They told me they were going to be my new best friends as I went through treatments, and they were. Every one of them was precious.” Teal’s last treatment was June 5. The staff presented her with a certificate showing she had “graduated” from radiation.

“Radiation wasn’t easy,” Teal continues. “But I can’t praise the people who helped me through it enough. I wouldn’t have made it without them and without my friends and family.” Now Teal looks forward to catching up on watching her grandchildren play ball, cheer, and do gymnastics.

She and her husband Danny also hope for a beach getaway to celebrate all they’ve been through. “By the grace of God, the hospital had new equipment that caught things very early,” she says. “I want to live, and want to be the healthiest I can for my family. I made it!” •

“My advice to other women? Don’t hesitate one minute to go have your mammogram. Just because you don’t see or feel something doesn’t mean it can’t happen.” ~ Kathy Teal Health for Life Fall 2012 | page 13

Get ready to paint the town The initiative began in 2009 as a new way for Piedmont Henry to educate the community about breast cancer and to encourage women to have a yearly screening mammogram. Individuals and organizations throughout the

Left to right: Morrelle McCrary–Owner, RAM-Tech; Dr. Ethan Hildreth–Henry County Schools Superintendent; Beau Kelley–Buddy Kelley Properties; Danny Brown–Owner, SERVPRO of Henry & Spalding Counties; Scott Willett–




It’s time for Piedmont Henry’s annual Real Men Wear Pink campaign.

county get involved by displaying posters, hosting “wear pink” days, and even starting fundraising efforts in support of the hospital’s breast cancer awareness initiative.

–Owner, Willett Honda South; Jason Heyward–Atlanta Braves; Raj Anand–CEO, Southern States; Robert Oden–; Al O'Quinn–Senior Pastor, Bethany Baptist Church; Steve Nail–Owner, Nail Heating & Air

Health for Life Fall 2012 | page 15

This year, 10 Henry County men will spend the coming weeks educating people about National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. They’ll be the driving force behind Real Men Wear Pink 2012.

Seeing Widespread Effects “While breast cancer is primarily viewed as impacting women, the fact is that it impacts men and women,” says Morrelle McCrary, owner of the local tech support firm RAM-Tech PC Solutions. “When a woman is diagnosed, it impacts everyone from her family members, to her colleagues, to members of her congregation. As such, it’s a disease that has the potential to impact a large number of people in our society.” Breast cancer also affects women of all ages, which people sometimes tend to overlook. Real estate broker Beau Kelley learned this when a friend was diagnosed at age 29. “Breast cancer came as a surprise to her,” he says. “Younger women generally don’t consider themselves to be at risk for breast cancer. They often get caught up in the transitions of graduating from college or entering a new job or starting a family. They can overlook the warning signs.” Experts state, however, that five percent of breast cancers occur in women under age 40 who have no family history of the disease. Kelley’s focus during Real Men Wear Pink will be to encourage young women to know the risk factors and get yearly screenings.

Sharing Their Hearts All of the Real Men for 2012 have seen friends or family members battle breast cancer firsthand, so they understand the importance of preventing the disease. They also agree that early detection offers a woman’s best chance of survival.


“My mother is a 20-year survivor of Stage 4 breast cancer,” says Al O’Quinn, senior pastor of Bethany Baptist Church in McDonough. “In my work of ministry, I’m always dealing with this issue. I’m honored to be part of this campaign since it’s a vital means of encouraging women to get regular checkups and mammograms.” “It’s been noted in medical journals that people who pray do better in recovering from health issues,” O’Quinn adds. “Lots of encouragement, laughter, prayer, and a positive attitude were crucial when my mother was dealing with her breast cancer.” “I feel it’s essential that the message gets out that early detection is key when combating this horrible disease,” says Robert Oden, a department lead and equipment trainer for “If I can encourage just one woman to get a mammogram, perhaps that will be one life saved – and that is more than worth any effort I can make. I do this for the women who are my family and friends, and for all women.”

Encouraging Perseverance We all look forward to the day when scientists discover a cure for breast cancer. In the meantime, our Real Men encourage women to stay strong through the fight. “Breast cancer is one area where early detection can provide good outcomes and allow women to retain a good quality of life,” says Raj Anand, president and CEO of

Steve Nail, president of Nail Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc., sums up what all the Real Men for 2012 want to share: “It’s an honor to be asked to participate in this campaign. You are not alone! Through faith, courage, and determination, we can all be survivors.”

Southern States, LLC. “Cancer in general continues to be a challenge, but the advances in breast cancer therapies continue to be encouraging.” “The continued progress in finding a cure for breast cancer is occurring every day,” agrees Danny Brown, owner of SERVPRO of Henry and Spalding Counties. “The army of support for those fighting breast cancer is incredible. Keep the faith, and remember what an awesome team you have working on your behalf.” “Every one of us has fallen before,” Scott Willett of Willett Honda South reminds us. “That’s why it’s always good to walk hand-in-hand.”

“You can overcome this challenge,” adds Dr. Ethan Hildreth, superintendent of the Henry County School System. “Know that many are praying for you, working toward a final cure, and are determined to help you along in this journey.”


With great admiration, Jason Heyward of the Atlanta Braves says to all women who have or will face breast cancer, “Thank you. Thank you for battling. We appreciate you… your strength and your perseverance.”








Encourage the women in your life to call

678-604-1055 to schedule their annual mammogram.

Health for Life Fall 2012 | page 17

Just the Facts, Man -

about Prostate Cancer

“If you’re a man who’s 50 or over, get your PSA checked out real good. I wasn’t hurting or anything.” ~ Alvin H. Case Alvin & Little Princess, one of the four horses he owns.

Aside from skin cancer, prostate cancer affects more American men than any other type. The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 241,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. during 2012. About 1 in every 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. As with many other types of cancer, early detection can improve treatment options and increase survival rates.



Sometimes the first sign you have of a potential

health problem leads you in a different direction than you expect. For Alvin Case, vision problems signaled extremely high blood pressure – which soon led to a diagnosis of prostate cancer.

“I was delivering a camper in Florida, and my vision got so bad all of a sudden that I could hardly see,” the Locust Grove resident says. “I went to my doctor as soon as I got back home. My blood pressure was 180 over 102. When he started running other blood tests he found that my PSA [prostate specific antigen] was real high. It was 19.4.” Tests confirmed that Case had prostate cancer. Before beginning treatment, however, Case’s physician ordered several other tests to better understand what they were facing. Liver, lung, and colon exam results all came back normal. Infection around the prostate added another facet to Case’s care. “There was lots of infection, and the cancer had gotten out of the prostate,” Case says. “It was Stage 3 or 4, but it wasn’t in the blood or bone. We got it just in time.”

didn’t know where to look. They told me the last 16 treatments were really like boosters that went straight to the prostate. I didn’t exactly enjoy going through it, but I was pleased with the doctor and the people who took care of me.” Case’s most recent results show a PSA of 1.0. He’ll have four more hormone shots during the next year to keep the infection away, but no other treatments should be necessary. “The whole situation shocked me,” he says. “I never expected blurry vision and high blood pressure to be signs of cancer. It pulled me down some, but I’m feeling really good now.”

“Everyone took real good care of me. They even made sure I knew how much water to drink before coming in for my treatments.” ~ Alvin Case

Alvin & great grandson Brayden

Case’s first step in treatment was a series of hormone shots to treat the infection and help slow or stop the disease progression. “My doctors wanted to hold off on radiation until after I’d had two shots,” Case says. “I had one in November and another in February.” A follow-up MRI showed improvement, and blood tests showed that Case’s PSA level had dropped to 2.0. Case began radiation treatment at Henry Radiation Oncology Center on March 15, 2012. “I went five days a week, every week, until I’d had 45 treatments,” Case says. “By about the fourth week, Dr.[Kim]Vu said the cancer was already so small she wouldn’t have known it was there if she Health for Life Fall 2012 | page 19


1133 Eagle's Landing Parkway • Stockbridge, Georgia 30281

PINK events October 6 Save the Udders Day!


Join us at Southern Belle Farm at 11 a.m. as we celebrate Breast cancer survivors with a Pink parade, Pink Swag bags and Breast cancer awareness information. Admission discounts (valid all weekend): Breast cancer survivors get in FREE; Wear pink and receive $1 off farm admission. For more information visit

October 11 Ladies Night Out

on the McDonough Square 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Join us at this Main Street


McDonough sponsored event. Visit participating merchants for prizes. Drop by the Piedmont Henry table to receive swag bags, refreshments, education and to meet some of this year’s Real Men.

October 20 Diva Dash Run

benefiting Piedmont Henry Breast Cancer Awareness 8 a.m. Southern Belle Farm Come out and support Breast cancer awareness at the Diva Dash 2012. Dress in your best Diva costume and win a prize. Register online at

View Our Real Men Wear Pink Video at

October 23 Breast Health Connection In need of 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Piedmont Henry’s Foundation Education Center Do you or access to a someone you know need assistance with a mammogram? This program in mammogram? conjunction with the Henry County Health Department provides access to those in need. Register online at

October 25 Pink Party

& Henry County Chamber’s Business After Hours 5:30 p.m. Piedmont Henry’s North Tower Atrium Entertainment, refreshments, gifts & more! Show your passion for PINK. Come dressed in your best Pink attire, enjoy the sounds of a Steel Drum band, savor delicious foods and yummy desserts, receive fabulous giveaways and meet this year’s Real Men.

Health for Life - Fall 2012  

Health for Life - Fall 2012

Health for Life - Fall 2012  

Health for Life - Fall 2012