Full-spectrum cancer care your life deserves

care spectrum n. the community of people who come together to surround and heal someone with a catastrophic illness. The community ranges from those who provide medical care—primary doctors, specialists, nurses—to those who give emotional care—family, friends, coworkers.

At Springfield Clinic’s Cancer Center, our doctors and staff believe that because no one illness defines a patient’s life, no one treatment or physician defines a patient’s care.   

Just as various cancers and their stages fall on a spectrum, so too does the care we deliver to our patients. Springfield Clinic oncologist Namita Vinayek, MD, says, “What we do is medical, but the support system and attitude of a patient play a big role in healing and living their best life.” Because quality cancer care involves more than doctors and nurses—but also spouses and significant others, family members and friends. 

We sat down with five of our Cancer Center patients to listen to their stories. We wanted to hear about their lives, meet their friends and families, learn about their struggles and triumphs—and understand what care spectrum truly means to each of them. 

Patient Stories

Barbi Walter, Ovarian Cancer

Barbi WalterBarbi owns a beauty shop in Sherman, Ill., Barbi’s Styling Studio. Her favorite part of her job is watching people walk out of her salon with a smile because they feel like their best selves. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2011, and it has recurred twice since then. She is married to Kyle Walter and has three children and two grandchildren; her two youngest, who are twins, graduate from Williamsville High School May 2018 and will both go off to college. Her oldest daughter is a teaching assistant at Sherman’s preschool. Many things have changed since her first diagnosis, but what amazes her and her husband is how many good things have come from Barbi’s cancer journey. Namely, they take family vacations, Barbi has met some amazing friends and it has shaped them into the parents and friends they are today. Barbi loves her care team at Springfield Clinic and calls her chemo treatments “spa days” because she feels so pampered. “When you’re going through something like this—not just cancer, but anything—that’s huge, I think. It’s huge to have a doctor that’s not just your doctor but your caregiver. They’re not just doctors, they’re caregivers, and they have to be, especially when you’re going through cancer.”

Barbi's Video and Full Story button

Alan Chase, Colorectal Cancer

Alan ChaseAlan worked almost 30 years in the electrical business, as well as bartending on the side, where he met his wife, Dara. Alan was diagnosed with colorectal cancer on Christmas Eve in 2014. He doesn’t believe he would be able to struggle against cancer without his wife, who “holds my hand and holds my hair back,” along with the rest of his support system. He can’t really pinpoint what motivates him every day to get up and keep going, except for the fact that he just knows he’s not ready to go yet. Alan has been especially impressed by the positive attitudes and motivating people he’s met on the Cancer Center staff. “It was a no-brainer coming to Springfield Clinic. I didn’t know what to expect when we first started. But it’s been great. The doctors, the nurses, they’re all very cheerful and caring in a situation where they have to walk in and see people that probably aren’t going to be there next week or next month. For them to walk in with a smile on their face and listen to you and talk to you and just be supportive of you. I don’t know how they do it, but they’re great.” If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, he says, “Come talk to me. I’ll hold your hand if you need it. I’ll walk you through it.”

Alans Video and Full Story button

Lisa Tomasino, Breast Cancer

Lisa TomasinoLisa originally went to school to be able to work in not-for-profit management, but went back to school to become a licensed esthetician later in life. She specializes in skin care for cancer patients, and after treating many clients and friends, she now treats herself. Lisa was diagnosed with lobular carcinoma, a type of breast cancer, in May 2017. After a round of chemo and radiation and a double mastectomy, she is now cancer-free. She has a large group of family and friends who support her, but top of that list is her daughter, Erin, who lives in Florida, and Lisa’s partner, Jonna, who lives with her. Lisa thinks that hearing the word ‘cancer’ is always terrifying, but when you have special people to cheer you on, it doesn’t have to be insurmountable. “It’s just one of those things that doesn’t have to become a definition of your existence. It can certainly become simply a part of who you are, but it doesn’t have to define you.” Lisa felt like she was in great hands with her department-spanning care team at Springfield Clinic. It includes her doctor and radiology technologists with the Center for Women’s Health, her plastic surgeon with the Center for Plastic Surgery and her oncology care team at Springfield Clinic Cancer Center. 

Lisas video and full story button

Phyllis Suiter, Leukemia

Phyllis Suiter headshotPhyllis Suiter and her husband, Bill, own Antonio’s pizza in the Springfield area, and hope to turn it over to their two sons, Bill Jr. and David, when they’re gone. Phyllis was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2015, and after a miraculous remission, is looking at being treated with a mild form of chemotherapy for the foreseeable future. “If you have to be diagnosed with cancer, any form of cancer, the best place in the world to be is Springfield Clinic’s Oncology Department. I can’t think of a better place to be and better people to surround you as you’re going through this journey.” She is as grateful for her care team at Springfield Clinic as she is for every single day she gets to wake up, smell fresh air, and hang out with her husband, four children, seven grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. “It’s a very difficult and scary journey, but it’s also a journey I knew in the end I was going to come out winning. I know it’s not going to last forever, because nothing last forever. I have just always known I was going to be okay because I was in good hands.”

Phyllis Video and Full Story button

Dan Boyer, Bladder Cancer

Dan BoyerAfter serving in the Air Force for twenty years, Dan Boyer retired and became a minister following a significant life “turnaround.” Described lovingly by his family as funny, a long-winded storyteller and occasionally exasperating, Dan’s number one goal if you meet him is to make you laugh. Even after he was diagnosed with cancer of the bladder in January 2012, he makes it his life’s mission to continue living his life, loving his family and friends and bringing joy and laughter to everyone he meets. Dan’s care team at Springfield Clinic includes William Severino, MD, Scott Mink, MD, and Andrew Guardia, PA-C. “Springfield Clinic is a super place with people who are genuine and are willing to talk with you and also just listen if you need someone to talk to.” Dan has a wife, Linda; two daughters, Deanna and Danella; and a son, Jason, and son-in-law, Tom. He also has four grandchildren.

Dans Video and Full Story button

Our patients showed us that while they come from vastly different walks of life, cancer gave them common ground and shared experiences. One of these was exceptional care from Springfield Clinic’s Oncology Department.

Getting a cancer diagnosis is devastating—but as three-time ovarian cancer survivor Barbi Walter puts it, “not the end of the world.” The Cancer Center at Springfield Clinic is here to help you:

  • understand your diagnosis
  • develop an individualized treatment plan
  • coordinate all aspects of treatment

Springfield Clinic providers treat every known kind of blood disorder and cancer and are here to provide effective surgical, chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatment. Because your life deserves a full spectrum of care.