Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center
This Is My Team
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Angela McDonald didn’t know how to tell her teenage twins, 14 at the time, she had stage 3 breast cancer and would need a double mastectomy. She waited about two weeks after her diagnosis, during which time she met with her entire team at UT Southwestern Simmons Cancer Center and felt she knew what to expect before breaking the news.
At Simmons Cancer Center, Angela had conferred with some of the top specialists in the country for treating breast cancer and performing reconstructive surgery, so she felt confident.
“I knew when I came to UT Southwestern that I was with the best of the best, and there was a lot of comfort in that,” Angela says. “I knew they had the facilities, I knew they had the equipment, and I certainly knew they had the doctors. There was no doubt in my mind that I was supposed to be at UT Southwestern.”
Angela recalls the first time she met her medical oncologist, Nisha Unni, M.D., a breast cancer specialist at Simmons Cancer Center. “I walked in and said, ‘I’m just grateful it’s treatable.’ But Dr. Unni said, ‘Angela, it’s not treatable; it’s curable.’ And I said, ‘I like your word better.’ That was very comforting to me – and just what I needed to hear.”
“I knew when I came to UT Southwestern that I was with the best of the best, and there was a lot of comfort in that."
Now cancer-free and focused on the next chapter of her life, Angela says it is all the individual specialists who provided her care at Simmons she’ll never forget.
“I can’t say enough about my team,” she says. “They’re just part of me now, part of my life. The value of having a group of people who are communicating with each other on a high level, who are working together on your case, and who are accustomed to working with each other makes for a remarkable process.”
Every part of the cancer journey can be scary, Angela says, but still she goes back to when she first decided to tell her kids: “I think by the time I sat down with them I felt so confident in what was to transpire, the process I was going to go through, the doctors I was working with, and the plan along the way that my kids fed off my confidence – they know me well, obviously. I think they left that conversation feeling like this may be difficult, but mom’s going to be OK. And they were right.”