A Patient’s Story

Haley Konzel

My daughter Sarah, (9 years old) experienced shoulder pain and expressed discomfort during a back-to-school shopping trip. Over-the-counter pain medication didn’t help, and the pain continued to get worse into the night. With growing concern, we continued to look for answers and found a bump on her back.

The pediatrician on-call suggested we take her to the emergency room, if the pain was too much for her to deal with until the morning. The emergency room visit resulted in the need for further testing to determine what could possibly be causing her so much pain.

The x-ray didn’t help with a diagnosis and she was discharged, but we were informed the ‘bump’ was not cancer because the ‘bump’ was in muscle, not bone. The discharge instructions indicated we needed to return to the hospital in the morning for an ultrasound, but when we returned the resources were not available and we were referred to Rochester Radiology. Rochester Radiology was able to accommodate Sarah in their schedule. After the ultrasound, we were immediately rushed across the hall to Rochester Diagnostic Imaging (RDI) for a MRI.

That was back in August of 2007, and it was the first time our family experienced the kind and compassionate care offered by the staff at RDI. We had no idea it was going to be the darkest of all days, the day in which an MRI would unexpectedly reveal a cancer diagnosis that no child or family should ever have to endure. From the very first moment we stepped into the office, I specifically recall the personnel going over and above to care for my family.

It was apparent we were in the best place, with a team that would go to the ends of the earth to give my daughter the best possible care she so deserved. Mona and her staff were absolutely amazing working with Sarah to ease her fears and ensure her comfort before, during and after her first MRI. They saw to it that Sarah had a positive experience by embracing the situation with the utmost patience. It is nearly impossible to prepare a family for such devastating news, but Mona and Dr. Kowalchuk did just that; they were there and somehow managed to provide us the help we so needed.

Although Sarah was treated at a nearby hospital and was required to get her scans at the hospital while admitted, the staff at RDI continued to stay in touch with our family to make sure we were okay. They shared their support throughout the entire year of treatment. It was without question, any scan that could be done at RDI, would be done at RDI, and that is exactly what we coordinated. Sarah felt comfortable there and wanted to be in Mona’s care. Sarah is now a thriving teenager who has survived unbearable treatment to beat her cancer, and continues to have MRIs on a regular basis. The staff knows exactly what Sarah’s preferences are, and they always ensure she has a positive experience, continually adjusting the ‘Sarah’ file as she grows and changes. Sarah doesn’t like follow-up scans, but she never complains about going.

I truly believe it’s the staff that makes the difference; they treat us like family and there is an indescribable comfort knowing Dr. Kowalchuk is behind the scenes analyzing Sarah’s scans, watching over every detail. The entire team at RDI provides compassionate care, and we are forever grateful for their support over the years! Our family is very fortunate we somehow managed to end up at RDI way back in 2007!