Cancer and Clinical Services Patient Stories

Below are a series of first-person accounts from the OSUCCC – James cancer patients who wished to share their journey, in the hope that they may provide future and current patients with additional hope, strength and a deeper understanding of the overall cancer journey.

Learn more about people's experiences at the OSUCCC – James by reading stories about our clinical trial patients and volunteers.

Robotic Surgery

Amy Ervin

After finding out she had endometrial cancer, Amy began a quest to find the top experts and hospital. Multiple sources and recommendations pointed her to Dr. Fowler at the OSUCCC ­– James.Read More

Jan Frutal

Seeking a second opinion after her first cancer treatment, Jan met with Enver Ozer, MD, one of the first surgical oncologists to perform robotic surgery for head and neck cancers.Read More

Blood & Marrow Transplant (BMT) Program

Angela Poynter

Angela Poynter’s aplastic anemia required a bone marrow transplant. She turned to the OSUCCC – James doctors, who performed a successful transplant that helped her resume a healthy life.Read More

Joel Rice

A bone marrow transplant at The James not only saved Joel’s life; it inspired him to become a nurse practitioner and join the team cancer experts who saved his life.Read More

Joseph Ogden

When Joseph Ogden learned he had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, he insisted on receiving his bone marrow transplant at the OSUCCC – James, and he credits his expert team with saving his life.Read More

Leeanne Hester

Leeanne had been feeling progressively unwell for a number of months. After seeing a series of specialists and being misdiagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, she was finally correctly diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.Read More

Summer Drake

After being diagnosed with aplastic anemia, Summer Drake was referred to the hematology experts at The James, where she underwent a bone marrow transplant to save her life.Read More


Anita Bartlett

Receiving information and detailed answers to questions rates high with lymphoma survivor Anita Bartlett, who felt involved in the management of her cancer.Read More

Christine Sander

After a series of misdiagnoses led her to seek a second opinion at the OSUCCC – James, Christine Sanders finally received the care and treatment she needed.Read More

Laura Schoettmer

When Laura Schoettmer asked her doctor about a lump on her jawline, she never thought it would lead to a diagnosis of cancer.Read More

Lynn Aspey

“Cancer is such a big thing to process,” says Aspey, "I feel lucky to have such a calm, top-notch doctor and team.”Read More

Mark Mandelbaum

Mark Mandelbaum wasn’t sure he would make it to his 30th birthday. He was 29 years old when he noticed a lump the size of an M&M in his throat.Read More

Michael Bragalone

Michael Bragalone was extremely busy—he had a full-time job a 6-month-old daughter and he had started taking weekend college classes—when he noticed he was more fatigued than normal.Read More

Robyn Stacy-Humphries

Robyn Stacy-Humphries has biopsied and diagnosed cancer her entire career, so when she developed an enlarged lymph node above her clavicle, her clinical perspective told her there was something very wrong.Read More

Scott Hinsch

Scott Hinsch was a serious long-distance runner who led an active, normal and healthy life, but that all changed when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.Read More

Suzanne Kaszer

Typically healthy and on top of her game professionally, Suzanne Kaszer was devastated when she learned that what she thought was a common cold was actually a cancer diagnosis.Read More

Tenna White

Having planned on simply going bald once her hair fell out, Tenna had not thought much about wigs, but after hearing about the wig program provided by Hope’s Boutique, she was willing to give it a try. Read More

Gynecologic Cancer

Anne Hermiller

Anne thinks very fondly of the care she received at The James and the breast center, and she is grateful for the continuous inspiration she gained from the Spielman Family to keep fighting.Read More

Diane Crawford

After Diane Crawford developed cervical cancer, she underwent a radical hysterectomy at the OSUCCC – James to remove it. And then she started a nonprofit organization to help other women prevent it. Read More

Sandra Miller

At first, Sandy didn’t think much about the persistent stomach cramps. Then a CT scan revealed a fibrous tumor in her uterus. For treatment, she turned to the OSUCCC – James.Read More

Sherry Wang

Midway through 17 rounds of chemotherapy to treat her ovarian cancer, Sherry Wang was exhausted, anxious and feeling sick. So, she decided to ride in the upcoming Pelotonia.Read More


Barb Mindel

A bone marrow transplant at the OSUCCC – James brought leukemia survivor Barb Mindel a clean bill of health, more time with her children and the gift of a new friend.Read More

Joan Shoults

Five years after losing her son to Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Joan Shoults was diagnosed with a rare blood disease known as peripheral T-cell lymphocytic leukemia.Read More

Kelly Cerovcevic

While pregnant with her second child, Kelly Cerovcevic underwent a bone marrow biopsy that revealed a blood disease known as myelodysplastic syndrome, which eventually progressed into acute myeloid leukemia.Read More

Nathanael Durbin

As a healthy and successful college athlete, Nathanael Durbin was shocked when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.Read More

Susan Powers

A mother of five and grandmother of eight, Susan Powers was living and loving a beautiful life – until she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.Read More

Tina McMannis

After a successful bone marrow transplant, acute lymphoblastic leukemia survivor Tina McMannis knows how fortunate she is that the OSUCCC – James was nearby.Read More

Tom Robinson

After a routine blood test came back with results he didn’t expect, Tom Robinson found himself fighting for his life. He credits the experts at the OSUCCC – James with saving it.Read More


Bill Mason

Bill Mason thought the lump in his back thigh was just a strained muscle. Finding out instead that it was a rare, soft tissue sarcoma, he found the specialty and expertise he needed to heal at the OSUCCC – James.Read More

Jared Sylvester

Diagnosed at 21, Jared’s life was put on hold as he prepared to battle against osteocarcoma – a form of bone cancer. With a strong commitment in faith, Jared realizes the importance of believing in Ohio State’s medical care, combined with a positive attitude, is key to becoming healthy again.Read More

Sherry Buchsteiner

After noticing a lump in her arm and occasional numbness in two of her fingers, Sherry Buchsteiner made an appointment with a local nurse practitioner to get it examined. An MRI revealed that Sherry had sarcoma in her arm.Read More

Oncology Rehabilitation

Bonnie Halterman

When Bonnie Halterman, 80, learned she had triple-negative breast cancer in 2009, her first reactions were shock and sadness. Then she asked herself an extraordinary question.Read More

Genitourinary Cancer

Charles Ruma

After Charles Ruma developed testicular cancer, he underwent treatment at the OSUCCC – James to remove it. And then he started a nonprofit organization to help raise funds for cancer research. Read More

Ken McNutt

Ken and Suzanne McNutt held their wedding reception at OSU more than 50 years ago. They found the kind of life-saving prostate cancer care Ken needed and the bedside manner they wanted at the OSUCCC – James.Read More

Shawn Turnbull

Shawn Turnbull had never really been seriously sick a day in his life, and he wasn’t ever particularly concerned about his health… until 2015, when he noticed blood in his urine.Read More

Tom Shevlin

When the normal activities that Tom Shevlin likes to do started to make him feel constantly worn down, he knew something wasn’t right. Read More

Skull Base

Christy Burdette

When Christy Burdette, a registered nurse, needed surgery for a skull base tumor, she did her homework and, despite the long drive from home, chose the OSUCCC – James.Read More

Concetta Troskie

It was a relief, really. An actual diagnostic term to attach to the debilitating symptoms that had dogged her for years. But just like that, her enemy had a name – Cushing’s Disease – and Concetta Troskie now had a plan.Read More

Kim Barney

Kim Barney's husband Christian Barney, MD, was matched to the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute in 2014 for his residency training in radiation oncology. Later, Kim would receive the expert treatment she needed for a relatively rare skull base tumor that was diagnosed here while she was pregnant with their fourth child.Read More

Susan Duderstadt

For Susan Duderstadt, the symptoms kept escalating. As two years turned into three, she just knew that certainly someone must be able to figure out what was wrong.Read More

Gastrointestinal Cancer

Clara Whitaker

After being referred to the Precision Cancer Medicine Clinic at the OSUCCC – James, genomic testing revealed that Clara was a candidate for a new treatment for her rare cancer diagnosis.Read More

Denis Mangen

A second opinion from the OSUCCC – James gave Denis Mangen five more years with his family and doing the work he loved at Insurance Auto Auctions in Drexel.Read More

Linda Boyed

Linda Boyed has always been extremely active, so in early 2017, when she couldn’t shake a feeling of extreme fatigue, she just chalked it up to getting older or perhaps being a little worn down.Read More

Mark Ahles

When Mark Ahles was diagnosed with a rectal tumor, he did his research and turned to The James, known for a high survival rate and excellent care.Read More

Marsha Edwards

Marsha Edwards’ more than 40 years of experience as a radiologic technologist was beneficial when she suddenly had concerns about her own health.Read More

Head & Neck Cancer

Elli Thatcher

Elli was a sophomore in high school when she began experiencing unexplained episodes of light-headedness. Repeated doctor visits left her without answers, but in her gut, she always believed something was wrong.Read More

Keith Conroy

When Keith received a tongue cancer diagnosis, he couldn’t believe it. He made his living talking to business executives and wondered if his career was over. Then he called The James.Read More

William Murin

For Bill Murin, it started with a nagging head cold that refused to clear up. So he dutifully made an appointment with his local Ear Nose & Throat specialist, who decided a CT scan was in order.Read More

Benign Hematology

Jennifer Cox

With attentive care from her OSUCCC – James treatment team, Jennifer Cox has learned to manage von Willebrand disease, an inherited bleeding disorder. Read More

Mark Sulzman

Born with severe hemophilia, Mark Sulzman sought out benign hematology experts at OSUCCC – James to help him manage the disorder with the most advanced treatments. Read More

Reconstructive Surgery

Kathy Hummel

When Kathy Hummel found out she had stage II breast cancer, her OSUCCC – James treatment team moved swiftly to perform cancer-removing and breast- reconstruction surgery in one coordinated operation.Read More

Lorie Bodfield

Lorie Bodfield had lived with the painful side effects of rheumatoid arthritis for more than two decades. When she experienced severe pain, she modified her behavior and moved on with life.Read More


Kathy Koontz

Happily married with two wonderful daughters, extremely active and an accomplished executive at a large central Ohio corporation, Kathy Koontz was enjoying true success in all aspects of her life. Then something went wrong.Read More

Pat Jordan

When Pat Jordan, 65, was officially diagnosed with hereditary ATTR (hATTR) amyloidosis in May 2016, her first thought was, “Well, now I know how I’m going to die.” Her second response, however, was one of relief, because the diagnosis finally put a name to the various medical problems she had been experiencing over the past 20 years.Read More

Skin Cancers

Kelly Bishop

After Kelly Bishop learned she had melanoma, she received treatment that included surgery and immunotherapy from the OSUCCC – James. Now, she considers her treatment team family.Read More

Nancy Chandler

Nancy Chandler was very excited to shout “Blingo!” on the Buckeye Cruise for Cancer, a vacation that has a deeper meaning to her as a cancer survivor.Read More

Breast Cancer

Kristal Staker

Kristal Staker says she always knew deep down that she would develop cancer – it was simply a matter of when.Read More

Michelle McCarthy

Breast cancer wasn’t on Michelle McCarthy's radar – for good reason. She had no family history of breast cancer, and screening mammograms were years off. But then Michelle felt a lump.Read More

Susan Tallentire

After the initial shock of her diagnosis, Susan Tallentire decided she was — and is — a breast cancer survivor. She credits the steady support of her family, students and The James team.Read More

Tori Geib

After being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, Tori Geib turned to the doctors at the OSUCCC – James to help manage her disease and focus on improving her quality of life.Read More

Wendy Lybarger

Days before traveling across the world, Wendy Lybarger was told she needed follow-up testing after a routine mammogram, which resulted in a diagnosis of breast cancer.Read More

Lung Cancer

Laird Smith

Persistent hip pain troubled Laird “Smitty” Smith for many years, eventually sending him to the doctor and resulting in a surprising diagnosis of stage 3 lung cancer.Read More

Brain Cancer

Maggie Wehri

If this unforeseeable experience has taught me anything, it has brought out my key characteristic: resilience. I never knew I could be pushed down that far and still come up on top. Resilience sums up my time, my effort and my experience at The Ohio State University.Read More

Ron Fichthorn

Ron Fichthorn never spent a day in the hospital his entire life until the day he found out he had a brain tumor. He found the treatment and care he needed at the OSUCCC – James and hasn’t looked back.Read More

Sam Mierzejewski

In 2008, former sergeant for the Upper Arlington Division of Police, Sam Mierzejewski, was diagnosed with brain cancer. 10 years later, he is cancer free and back to work thanks to the care he received at The James.Read More

Endocrine Cancer

Meredith Hunt

Meredith Hunt of Clintonville never thought she might one day be treated by the same healthcare team that she serves on at the OSUCCC – James. But that’s what happened after she was diagnosed in 2013 with papilliary thyroid cancer (PTC).Read More

Prostate Cancer

Ron Scharer

Ron Scharer has a family history of prostate cancer, so he has paid careful attention to his prostate specific antigen test results throughout adulthood.Read More


Susan O'Brien

After having a double mastectomy and several lymph nodes removed as part of her breast cancer treatment in 2011, Susan O'Brien thought her health issues were behind her.Read More

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Tim Brown

When you are diagnosed with cancer, “all these things come through your mind like a checklist,” says Tim Brown. “You’re not sure what events you’ll get to go to.” Since his treatment at the OSUCCC – James with Dr. Byrd, Tim no longer worried about the events he would miss.Read More

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