Cancer-Free, She Volunteers to Help Other Patients
After Mareshah Brown felt the pain under her arm, the doctors in the first emergency room she turned to wouldn’t give her a mammogram. She was only 26, so cancer was unlikely.
But at Einstein Healthcare Network, she got the tests and the empathy she needed for what turned out to be stage three breast cancer. “The doctor at Einstein, she said, ‘Don’t worry, we’re going to take good care of you,’” Brown says. “I remember her saying that.”
Now cancer-free , Brown is in her third year of monthly hormonal treatments. She was so happy with the care she received that she told her story last year in an Einstein video.
Now she’s trying to do even more to help other cancer patients. She’s serving as a patient representative on the Cancer Committee at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia. She was selected by doctors and nurses “to give insight and help them to make the cancer center better for the patients,” she says.
Her willingness to serve comes straight out of her own experience as a cancer patient.
“When I was there I met a couple of people that I noticed were having a really hard time adjusting and actually talking about it,” she recalled in a recent interview. “So if it was easy for them to talk to me and see me coming in, going to work and all of that stuff, I guess I gave them a little bit of hope.
“Even though I don’t look how I was looking while I was going through [chemotherapy], I still have a testimony and I would like to share it with people and help them get through it.”
Although Brown is new to the role of patient representative, she’s looking for ideas and ways to get suggestions from other patients to make care even better.
Meanwhile, Brown also does what she can to make things easier for the patients she encounters daily as a paratransit driver.
“A lot of them are dialysis patients,” she says. “So sometimes they’ll be nice, and some days they’re not feeling too good. So you’ve got to just play it by ear. ‘Cause I can look at the faces and see if they feel like talking or not.”
But she says they tell her that her smile brightens their day. It’s the smile of someone who knows what it’s like to be really sick and is grateful to have her life back.