“No lung cancer warning signs: An unlucky fall led to a surprising diagnosis and life-saving lung cancer treatment for Manchester resident Mary Kay Bailey.”
While on a camping trip in Monroe, Mich. in October 2016, Mary Kay tripped down the front steps of her camper, leaving her in excruciating pain. She insisted she didn’t want to go to any hospital except St. Joe’s in Ann Arbor. She gingerly got into her car and made the hour-drive to her hometown hospital, passing several other facilities along the way.
Once inside St. Joe’s Emergency Room, a CT scan of her chest showed three broken ribs but also a spot on her lung.
“My daughter had been bugging me for a while, even before this happened, to go to the Lung Clinic,” said Bailey, 72, adding that she had smoked off and on throughout her life.
The lung clinic confirmed the initial diagnosis of stage-one lung cancer. Within a month of her accident, thoracic surgeon Kumari Adams, MD, removed the lower right lobe of Mary Kay’s lung using the Da Vinci Robot surgery system.
“I can’t praise St. Joe’s enough, and Dr. Adams is just the greatest. She took me under her wing as soon as I saw her. I was never scared, I knew God would guide her.”
Mary Kay was back home shortly after surgery.
“I was in far worse pain from my broken ribs than I was from the lung surgery,” exclaimed Mary Kay. “A few days after surgery, I went refrigerator shopping and washed our kitchen floor. I can still do everything I want.”
All of the post-operative biopsies came back clear. Mary Kay was cancer-free and required no additional treatments. Every six months, she returns to St. Joe’s for a CT scan and checkup with medical oncologist Kathleen Beekman, MD.
Mary Kay gained more than expert care; she found friends who care about her cancer journey.
“I can’t praise St. Joe’s enough, and Dr. Adams is just the greatest. She took me under her wing as soon as I saw her. I was never scared, I knew God would guide her. When I was in the hospital after surgery, she always gave me and my husband a hug. It’s like I have a new friend.
“Dr. Adams is my remarkable.”
For more information about the Lung Clinic at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, call 1-877-712-HOPE or visit stjoeshealth.org/cancercare-lung.