Conquering Breast Cancer with a Wellstar Support Team
When Ebony-Joy Igbinoba was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer at age 38, an interdisciplinary team of Wellstar experts stood by her side to help her face cancer with confidence.
Now she is living cancer-free, with a Wellstar care team dedicated to keeping her healthy.
Ebony-Joy started to feel ill at a church concert in spring 2019. She checked in with her primary care provider Dr. Nandini Sunkireddy, who told her that due to the anatomy of her breasts, a mammogram would give a more accurate picture of her health than a traditional exam.
Once Ebony-Joy had gotten her mammogram, Wellstar acted quickly, calling her the same day to get additional images and then a biopsy. Ebony-Joy was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer — cancer in both breasts, which is rare, especially at her younger age.
Ebony-Joy decided to get a double mastectomy with Wellstar Breast Surgeon Dr. Laura Pearson. Then, she got chemotherapy at Wellstar North Fulton Hospital. At every step, she found a support system, including oncologists Dr. Carlos Osmon and Dr. Nagender Mankan, as well as Physician Assistant Kristen Gue. Dr. Pearson and Dr. Asaf Yalif completed her reconstruction.
Ebony-Joy said her providers are proactive, friendly and approachable.
“I trust them with my life, and they’re fighting with me,” she said. “They’re rooting for me.”
Ebony-Joy’s care team looked out for every aspect of her well-being — even as she was being treated for breast cancer, her providers paid attention to all her health needs. She saw Dr. Kevin Stein, a Wellstar psychologist, who helped her cope with the diagnosis.
Gynecologic Oncologist Dr. Evelyn Reynolds discovered on a CT scan that Ebony-Joy has benign uterine cysts, so she sees Dr. Reynolds for monitoring. To watch for any side effects of cancer treatment on her heart, Ebony-Joy sees Cardiologist Dr. Natasha Mamdani. Wellstar Gastroenterologist Dr. Inder Tandon and Wellstar Pulmonologist Dr. Nora Hurt also joined her care team to monitor her health.
“God has blessed me with Wellstar doctors, nurses and staff that are truly dedicated to top-notch comprehensive care,” Ebony-Joy said. “They are my superheroes.”
Ebony-Joy’s care team also knew that her diagnosis did not just affect her — they were concerned for her family’s well-being, too. Her nurse navigators referred her to resources about how to talk to children when their parent has cancer, as well as support groups and financial assistance.
“As a single mother, they knew how important it was for me to fight for my kids,” Ebony-Joy said about her Wellstar providers. “I come from an amazing family, and I am happy to add Wellstar to it as they will continue to support me for years to come.”
Ebony-Joy not only stays informed of her own health — she is looking out for her children, too. She learned that she has a gene mutation that also makes her more likely to be affected by pancreatic cancer. She also discovered that two of her great aunts and her cousin all had breast cancer. Now that she knows her family history, her children will get screened at early ages to stay healthy.