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Together We Have Faith - Lucille Constantino

A stomach pain that wouldn’t go away sent me to the ER at Maui Memorial Medical Center. An endoscopy showed a bowel obstruction, which as a retired nurse, I knew is often caused by an adhesion or hernia.

But mine was a cancerous tumor, stage III.

A friend who was an endoscopy nurse told me that Maui Memorial now had a fellowship-trained oncological surgeon on staff and my gastroenterologist suggested a consultation with him. I fell in love with Dr. Beech right away. I was thrilled there was someone with his specialized experience and caring demeanor available here on Maui to remove the tumor.

Dr. Beech successfully removed the tumor but found something else: the cancer had spread to my omentum. So the tumor was gone, but I now was facing stage IV cancer.

Chemotherapy is recommended for this type of cancer, but I didn’t want to go through that. I told Dr. Beech “I’m done. Jesus Christ is the great healer and I’m going to let him decide.” Dr. Beech never questioned my decision, but suggested we continue to track the progression.

I had another scan in November, and had yet another surprise: no cancer, not in my colon, not in my omentum, not anywhere.

I am so thankful for not only the skill of Dr. Beech and his Maui Memorial team for their expert care with my initial diagnosis, but also for the respect shown when I chose how to deal with the second one. They viewed me not as an illness to be cured, but a whole person.

- Lucille Costantino