"We've got the best cancer care here"
In 2014, a questionable ultrasound at Sovah Health - Martinsville sent 22 year-old Tyler Martin to his urologist Dr. Gehrken at Piedmont Urology. Twelve hours later, he was in surgery. The ultrasound revealed he had cancer. Tyler was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood cancer. So rare that less than 100 cases are diagnosed worldwide each year.
In October, Tyler began chemo at Wake Forest Baptist Health. After his initial treatments in Winston-Salem, he began receiving his chemo treatments at Ravenel Oncology Center. In January 2015, Tyler started radiation in Martinsville, as well.
Though he received quality care at the larger institutions, Tyler and his mother Mitzi chose to have his chemo and radiation locally at Ravenel Oncology Center due to the strong reputation of its physicians and staff.
"As long as the machines were the same, we were coming here," said Mitzi. "The physicians and staff were going to make the positive difference. You don't have that 'homey' feeling at the other places. You're just a number. You've got to have these caring, loving people to get you through it."
Tyler's oncology team consisted of medical oncologist, Dr. Katragadda, also known as Dr. K, and radiation oncologist, Dr. Goodchild. The two physicians' differing personalities provided just the right balance for Tyler's care.
While Dr. K was always calm, straight-forward and a great listener, Dr. Goodchild kept spirits up with his happy, upbeat personality and sense of humor. In fact, Dr. Goodchild's unique attire even rubbed off on Tyler, as he now wears crazy socks like his doctor.
"A lot of friendships were formed," said Tyler, talking about his relationships with the physicians, nurses, support staff and even other patients.
After he finished his chemo treatments, Tyler continued to come to Ravenel to sit with other patients that he had grown to know so well.
Some of his greatest friendships were made with the nursing staff, including Vera, Ashley and Wendy, who Tyler asserts, "are not nurses, but angels with RN degrees."
Tyler finished up his final treatments at Ravenel Oncology Center in June, and today, he is happy to report that he is officially cancer-free.
"We've got the best cancer care here [in Martinsville & Henry County], and you need to go here," urges Mitzi of local patients, who are facing a cancer diagnosis and treatment.