CRYSTAL LAKE – Diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago, Lynnette Mosson was glad to have someone like Lynn Griesmaier.
“She’s been like an angel to me,” said Mosson, 43, of Wonder Lake. “When [you’re] diagnosed, everything goes blank in your head and you can’t think straight and you’re freaking out about your mortality and everything. She scooped me up and helped me on the right direction.”
Mosson said Griesmaier, a breast health navigator for the Centegra Gavers Breast Center in Crystal Lake, showed genuine care. She went with Mosson to doctors’ appointments and to have her head shaved for chemotherapy.
For Griesmaier, such acts are just an extension of the breast health program she’s helped develop at Gavers since the center opened two years ago.
Gavers provides services such as mammograms, breast ultrasounds, MRIs and breast biopsies, in addition to setting a plan of action for patients with breast cancer and treating other breast-related issues. The center diagnoses at least three new breast cancer patients a week, Griesmaier said.
Centegra opened the center to centralize its breast health services and provide quicker, more specialized care. Gavers has a 24-hour turnaround on biopsy results.
“As I always say, it’s an emotional emergency,” Griesmaier said. “It affects not only the patient but the family, the work environment, because it’s so heavy on their mind. By getting the answer faster, we can at least help them feel like they’re back in control a little bit and figure out what the next step needs to be.”
It’s the compassion for patients that drives the center.
Griesmaier said Gavers staff shows a genuine care for patients, staying with them through treatment.
That helped Mosson – a mother of three – stay calm.
“I think she feels like it’s part of her responsibility,” Mosson said of the care Griesmaier showed well past her diagnosis. “She wants to help and scoop you up and do everything for you.”
It was the care of Gavers’ employees that led Mosson, now a survivor, to host a fundraiser last spring to benefit the center. She wanted to pay it forward.
Griesmaier said that in five years of work with patients, “One of the neat things I’m really noticing this year is the amount of survivors who want to come and give back.”
Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October has helped, Griesmaier said, but there still is a need to raise awareness about the disease and draw more people into the center for regular checkups. Gavers sees about 20,000 patients a year, a number Griesmaier said doesn’t approach the number of women who meet the requirements for yearly appointments.
Griesmaier recommends yearly checkups starting at age 40. Tracking year-to-year changes allows doctors the chance to catch breast cancer earlier.
“Then, if it did turn out to be cancer, you have a much better chance at a cure,” she said.