Patient Stories

As Virginia Cancer Specialists celebrates its recent 50th anniversary milestone, we’re celebrating more than our practice history—we’re celebrating you, our patients! As we look back on our 50-year legacy of compassionate care, we’re highlighting a few of our patients as they share their stories and words of encouragement. We hope you enjoy reading about their journeys and find them as inspiring as we do.

These patient stories are based on the individual patient’s unique experiences and do not represent all patient outcomes.

David Walther

Finding the Right Kind of Care I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in April of 2004, and I immediately started looking for all the possible ways to avoid morbidities. At my urologist’s recommendation, I began a type of radiation therapy called high intensity focused ultrasound. I went through two rounds of that, and while it…

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Trisha Schreiber

Receiving a Leukemia Diagnosis as a New Mother I gave birth to my second daughter in September 2019. My older daughter was two at the time, so when I noticed I felt tired all the time, I assumed it was from having two young kids. But my belly wouldn’t go down, and when I went…

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Sonja Sulcer

Facing the Fear of Cancer Treatment I was diagnosed with HER-2 positive breast cancer in November 2021. I had my regular mammogram, which led to a biopsy. I was initially diagnosed at stage 0, but after surgery, I was diagnosed at stage 1. My mother died from uterine cancer in 2014, and my aunt also…

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Anita Klein

Facing Choices After Diagnosis My journey with breast cancer started with a lump I found during a routine self-check. I went to my gynecologist who sent me for a mammogram and a biopsy which confirmed it was cancer. My gynecologist recommended breast surgeons, and that’s how I found Dr. Vargas.  When I was initially diagnosed,…

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Jeffrey Sapp

Finding a Diagnosis I am a former Navy All-American football player and have worked as a consultant and motivational speaker for students, adults, and business professionals. I was living and working in Saudi Arabia when I began to feel extremely fatigued. On a normal day, I would usually go to meetings, return to my office,…

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Rinad Bsharat

Diagnosed as a Young Adult I had already put down my deposit for law school when I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I was only 23, and at the time, others assured me that since I had one of the most curable forms of cancer, I should expect six months of treatment before I could…

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Betsy Kulick

The Surprising Diagnosis I didn’t fit the risk categories. Twenty-seven years ago, I went in for a mammogram and learned that I had breast cancer. It was a stunning diagnosis. I had no family history, stayed fit, and had healthy eating habits which included lots of fruit and vegetables. And still, I had breast cancer.…

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Reginé Bumper

Finding My Voice My voice has become my most powerful tool, and for that, I’m appreciative that my diagnosis led me to where I am today. Cancer is life-changing, but in the journey, I learned more about myself and my health. Prior to my cancer diagnosis, I thought I was living well by exercising and…

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Sharon Reynolds

Using Creativity to Cope with Cancer Facing a cancer diagnosis during a pandemic can be especially lonely. Through the ups and downs of treatment, I found my energy waning as fatigue came and went. But then a relative suggested I try art again, something I hadn’t done since college. And that’s how after a 50-year…

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Amy Nave

In January 2010, I was diagnosed with melanoma and found myself scared and uncertain about the future. After several surgeries, I was referred to Dr. Patel-Donnelly at Virginia Cancer Specialists. It was the beginning of a journey that would inspire and change my life. The moment I met Dr. Patel-Donnelly, I was immediately comforted. She…

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Kate Zickel

I was diagnosed with stage three invasive ductal carcinoma on September 21, 2017. The good news: It’s the most common and treatable type of breast cancer. The other good news is that I’m one of the fortunate ones who has a huge group of wonderful people backing me up. My husband will tell you that…

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Paul Santori

In February 2017, at the age of 57, I was diagnosed with CLL/SLL trisomy 13. The month before, I was experiencing severe abdominal pain that landed me in the ER. A scan showed that I had a bowel obstruction and a mass on my liver, with additional spotting on a lung and swollen lymph nodes…

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