Sally's Story

Louisa woman had to look no further than Tug Valley ARH Regional Medical Center to find great cancer care

There are certain things that Sally Grace is sure of these days: You can only place your complete trust in one person, and that is God.  Everything happens for a reason, and when it comes to getting great healthcare bigger isn’t necessarily better.

She discovered the latter first hand after several months of stomach and back pain led her to the Tug Valley ARH Hospital Emergency Room and later to surgeon Rao Vempaty,MD for a colonoscopy,which in July of last year, ultimately determined Sally had colon cancer.

“Being diagnosed with cancer was hard. I knew going through chemo was going to be tough, but I wanted to be alright.  I wanted to live,”says Sally of Louisa.“  I wanted to get the best of
cancer instead of it getting the best of me.  When it came to choosing a location to get my 12 rounds of chemotherapy, everything seemed to point me to Tug Valley ARH Regional Medical Center."

Coincidentally, around the same time Sally was diagnosed with cancer, Tug Valley ARH had welcomed a new medical oncologist,Walid Baz,MD, and had opened a dedicated chemotherapy and infusion suite. 

Sally Grace  
“When I first decided to go there it was mainly because Dr. Vempaty recommended it and I trust him. It allowed me to get treatment for my cancer and be close to him as well.  They say that your first gut feeling is always the right one and I believe that because from the moment I walked in there, I knew it was where I was supposed to be,”says Sally,who had the distinction of being the hospital’s first oncology patient.

“I truly believe everything happens at the time it happens for a reason and I think it was a God send that Dr. Baz just happened to come to ARH when I just happened to need treatment.”

As she began the chemotherapy treatments and became more familiar with Dr.Baz and his staff, Sally says she was positive she had made the right decision.

“I was real pleased and don’t think you could beat the nurses there, they were always so uplifting,  ”Sally says.“It’s a smaller hospital, but I think sometimes that can be better because you have people right there constantly checking on you to make sure you are alright. I don’t think you could find better anywhere else.” 

Tug Valley ARH offers patients with cancer and other blood disorders a dedicated chemotherapy and infusion suite staffed with two chemotherapy-trained registered nurses.

Also oncologist Dr.Baz is extensively trained having spent several years at a busy treatment center in Staten Island, New York and also holds the unique distinction of being triple board-certified in internal medicine, oncology and hematology.

However, it is that individualized attention and personal connection that Dr.Baz takes the most pride in offering his patients.

“A cancer diagnosis and the subsequent treatment that follows can be a very
frightening experience. I like to explain and take my time with my patients.  When they come here for treatment, I take the extra time to explain everything in detail – the benefits and risks of chemotherapy, how it is going to treat their disease – and answer any other questions they might have,” Dr.Baz says.  “The nurses here are very good and very caring.  They do everything they can to make our patients comfortable, and if the patient needs anything while they are receiving treatment, they can call me. I feel that communication with the patient is very important to the recovery process.”

Also very important, he says is being close to family members for comfort and support during treatment.

“When people get sick, it’s not just physically, but spiritually and mentally as well,”he says.  “A very important part of the treatment is to have emotional support.”

For Sally, it was that family support that she credits with helping her get through days of treatment when she felt she was too sick or weak to make it through.

“There were times when I didn’t know if I could keep going, but I did for my husband and my family. If there is one thing I would tell someone who is getting ready to be treated for
cancer, it would be that treatment is not easy, you are going to need your family and there is only one person you can put your full trust in and that is God,”Sally says. “But as for the treatment I got at ARH, I would definitely put my trust in them again. I honestly don’t think I could have gotten better treatment anywhere else.”