Patient with cancer in lymph nodes shares Sparrow cancer journey

Lisa’s Story

Lisa Hildorf was in disbelief when she was told in August 2017 cancer had been detected in the lymph nodes in her neck. 

Upon hearing the news of her cancer diagnosis, she recalls the thought, ‘“You’re wrong, I can’t possibly have cancer.’ I was just floored. My thought was that they mixed up my records with someone else, that this was just a crazy error.”

The next thought Hildorf remembers is feeling extremely sad. “Have I told people I love that I love them? Your thought is it’s too soon or I’ve maybe not done enough.”

Hildorf was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system, which helps fight diseases. Signs and symptoms of Hodgkin’s lymphoma may include painless swelling of lymph nodes in your neck, armpits or groin, persistent fatigue, fever, night sweats, unexplained weight loss, severe itching, and increased sensitivity to the effects of alcohol or pain in your lymph nodes after drinking alcohol.

Hildorf found that she had many people behind her in her cancer journey thanks to Sparrow Herbert-Herman Cancer Center’s multidisciplinary team approach to cancer care.

“I knew that any question I had would be answered honestly and completely,” she said. “I knew I could call on them any time I needed to. I was assigned a captain, who was my leader, my go-to person. And they made every step informative, honest, and they were really enthusiastic that I was going to get through this.”

Hildorf remembers the importance of each member of Sparrow’s cancer team, from the person who helped her into her Patient’s gown for the first time to those who organized her chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

“Everything you need is there. Every level of your cancer treatment can be accommodated there. Dr. (James) Herman and his family have really worked hard to make cancer disappear for many, many people in Mid-Michigan.”

Hildorf praises the experience at Herbert-Herman Cancer Center for being a “team effort of just wonderful care”. 

“You couldn’t find a better place. The Cancer Center represents thoughtful efforts of planning for success.”

The Herbert-Herman Cancer Center features a multi-disciplinary team approach that puts the Patient at the center of everything we do. Patients will see a team of clinicians under one roof and in one visit, rather than making separate appointments with specialists from different practices. Each Patient will receive an individualized treatment plan with input from numerous specialists. Each major cancer has its own clinic, such as breast, lung, and colorectal cancer.

Sparrow is transforming care through innovation such as the region’s only cancer genetics counselor and access to cutting-edge clinical trials. The Herbert-Herman Cancer Center is home to the largest clinical trials program in the region and the only one accepting Phase 1-3 clinical trials not accessible to Patients anywhere else locally.

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