By: Dana Earley, Corporate Manager of Communications – Jefferson Health – New Jersey
Patricia Lorentzen may be Jefferson Health – New Jersey’s biggest fan – even though the 65-year-old grandmother lives 1,000 miles away in Florida. Lorentzen was a New Jersey resident in 2018, when she faced an avalanche of health problems.
But through the expert care she received at Jefferson Health, she survived four bouts of cancer and was able to move to Orlando, FL, to be near her grandchildren. Lorentzen praises thoracic surgeon Jay Steinberg enabling her to “embrace life again,” as she puts it.
Lorentzen had nodules on both her right and left lungs; her left lung nodule was Stage 1, Type B, large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma: Dr. Steinberg performed a lobectomy (surgery to remove the left lobe of her lung) in April 2018, and four months later took out the nodule on the right side. Lorentzen, fortunately, did not need chemotherapy or radiation.
“Dr. Steinberg was my rock and we call him ‘family,’” she says, adding that Dr. Steinberg even visited her and her family in Florida in Florida last year, where they enjoyed a dinner together.
Following her procedure, Lorentzen was referred to Family Medicine Practitioner Dr. Ciby Varkey to manage her ongoing care. When she later developed cancer in her right breast, a breast surgeon at Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center – Washington Township, successfully treated Lorentzen. Also in 2018, a bout with thyroid cancer brought her to Jefferson New Jersey Chief of Surgery Dr. Roy Sandau, who she credits with giving her back her voice: “Unfortunately, it’s not a singing voice and we both agreed I should use my singing voice only in the shower and with a very loud radio!” she jokes.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Lorentzen had another brush with cancer, discovering she had skin cancer on her left breast. Plastic Surgeon Dr. Julia Spear operated on her at Jefferson Cherry Hill Hospital.
“These doctors demonstrate an extraordinary level of concern for each patient. It is rare to find so many remarkable physicians in the same healthcare system,” Lorentzen said. “How can I ever thank everyone I’ve come in contact with who has taken me from death’s door to a very joyful life? Because of the amazing care I received, I am in the process of writing a book called Broken to Beautiful. In the beginning I felt my scars were ugly; now I feel beautiful because the scars tell my story.”
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