Cancer survivor Jane Eberle benefits from the new Thrive Oncology Program

Cancer survivor, Jane Eberle, is thankful for the compassionate cancer, surgical and rehabilitative care she received from Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS).  

In her early twenties, the ambitious Watauga County native left her home in Blowing Rock with eyes set on Washington D.C. Always fascinated by politics, Eberle spent the next 35 years working in and around Capitol Hill. Her impressive career includes, serving under Congressman Jim Broyhill, as well as, former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon.

Eberle’s perennial devotion to her exciting career was eventually overshadowed by the familiar allure of the mountains. In 2002, Eberle decided to move back to the High Country to retrace her favorite hiking trails and spend some more time on the golf course.

Tragedy struck in 2006 when Eberle was diagnosed with breast cancer. Devastated, Eberle elected to have her mastectomy preformed at Watauga Medical Center.

“I love Watauga Medical Center,” said Eberle through a tearful smile. “It is convenient and has provided excellent care for me over the years through each of my procedures.”

In 2009, Eberle was once again a patient at Watauga Medical Center when she had her right hip replaced.

“After my successful hip replacement, everything was going fine. Until last year, when the cancer raised its ugly head again,” said a frustrated Eberle. “I noticed suspicious tumor markers last August and I was diagnosed in October with triple negative breast cancer.”

One of the unfortunate outcomes of triple negative breast cancer is that the only treatment option available is chemotherapy. In January, under the direction of Medical Oncologist, Anne Sobol M.D., Eberle began chemotherapy treatments at the Seby B. Jones Cancer Center. Regrettably, the cancer morphed into metastatic breast cancer and spread to her lower spine and lymph nodes.

Discouraged by the prognosis that chemotherapy would be a necessity for the remainder of her life, Eberle found solace in Paul Young, RN, OCN, Oncology Nurse Navigator at Seby B. Jones Cancer Center. Young has 14 years of experience working with cancer patients. He does a remarkable job partnering with patients and their families, offering assistance with education, emotional support and help obtaining financial assistance.

“Paul is a wonderful encourager,” said Eberle. “He is very attentive to my condition and he recommended that I participate in the Thrive program.”  

Offered at the Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center, Thrive is a medically supervised program that transitions patients from more acute phases of chronic disease management to wellness. Thrive consists of three components – Rehabilitation, Cardiopulmonary and Oncology.

“Jane was a good candidate for Thrive because she was suffering from the draining effects of chemotherapy,” said Young. “She was very upbeat about the opportunity and willing to take part in the program.”

The Thrive program, offered three days a week, provides a multidisciplinary team approach to wellness. The wellness staff works in collaboration with the patient’s physician to measure outcomes as they transition to a healthier lifestyle.

Eberle shared that she felt exhausted and depressed after each chemotherapy treatment. However, since joining the Thrive program, a little over four months ago, she has regained her strength and joined a support group.

“I cannot say enough good things about the Thrive staff,” said Eberle. “They keep a good eye on us as we make our way through a variety of exercises each session. Besides feeling better, I would have to say the most encouraging part is forming instantaneous friendships with other cancer survivors. We are all there for the same reason and we encourage each other.”

Eberle, who recently decided to have her left hip replaced at Watauga Medical Center, shared that she is very impressed with how health care has advanced in the High Country during her lifetime.

“When I was growing up, the hospital was still located across from where Stick Boy Bread is now, said Eberle. “We in Watauga County are so blessed to have our present facilities.  It enables the residents to have quality healthcare without having to go off the mountain.  I am so impressed with Richard Sparks and how the care is now so expansive.”

Eberle, who is looking forward to winter so she can wear sweaters once again said, “My faith is what keeps me going. I believe God has a plan so I can have hope.”

For more information about Thrive, call 828-266-1060 or visit www.apprhs.org/thrive.

For more information about Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center, visit www.apprhs.org/sbjcc.

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