A Healing Space

Teresa Hughes

Perched on a bed in a room overlooking Paynes Prairie, Teresa Hughes adjusts the fuzzy brown cap she’s wearing and recalls the day in June when she couldn’t ignore how sick she felt anymore.

While walking through a CVS pharmacy, she slumped over a cart and told her husband she couldn’t make it any farther. She’d been denying the nagging pain for a while because she didn’t want to face the truth. She’d relapsed. The lymphoma she had been fighting for a year and a half was back. The next morning, she was admitted to the Shands Cancer Hospital at the University of Florida.

“I thought that was it,” Hughes said. “But that has not been the case. They have given me new hope and new opportunities, and that has been wonderful.”

Her relapse in June marked the fourth time Hughes had been admitted as a patient in the Shands Cancer Hospital, a 500,000-square-foot, $388 million medical tower that opened in November 2009.

The hospital’s opening allowed UF to consolidate many of its cancer services in one location. The hospital houses the Davis M. and Judith C. Rembert Jr. Bone Marrow Transplant Unit — where Hughes is a patient — as well as chemotherapy services, the Samuel N. and Constance C. Holloway Sr. Stem Cell Laboratory, 12 operating rooms equipped with the latest advances in technology, and the Jerry W. and Judy S. Davis Family Consultation Rooms (see back cover for a photo collage of hospital facilities). The hospital also was designed with healing in mind, with wide windows in each room and comfortable spaces for family members.

In July, Teresa Hughes was admitted to Shands Cancer Hospital for a round of experimental lymphoma treatment.

For Hughes, the new facilities and healing environment are a bonus, but the hospital’s real draw is the people who work there, the staff and doctors who have treated her and helped her deal with a difficult diagnosis.

“I pray for peace and not for a cure,” said Hughes, who has since been discharged. “I just wanted the peace to be able to handle what was ahead of me and whatever length of time it was. These people have made that peace easy.”

— April Frawley Birdwell

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Fall 2010

From the Director’s Desk

We want to cure cancer. We want to catch it early if we can. But even if we can’t, we want to cure it anyway. Here at the University of Florida Shands Cancer Center, we are committed to finding innovative ways to treat this disease, and ultimately, cure it.

Changing the Way Cancer is Treated

The University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute in Jacksonville has delivered more than 73,000 treatments to more than 2,200 patients, placing it among the top 10 proton therapy centers in the world.

A Healing Space

Perched on a bed in a room overlooking Paynes Prairie, Teresa Hughes adjusts the fuzzy brown cap she’s wearing and recalls the day in June when she couldn’t ignore how sick she felt anymore.

Babies?

Preserving fertility is a complicated issue for young cancer patients. It’s a question a 28-year-old woman might ask her doctor after learning she has been diagnosed with cancer. But a 13-year-old girl?

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