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Commuting from Las Vegas to beat breast cancer

October 24, 2019 | Kristina Lindgren
teresacorso264
Teri Corso regularly travels from Las Vegas to Orange County for her cancer treatments. "It's worth it, trust me."

Teri Corso moved to Las Vegas in May 2017. Two months later, when she had trouble getting a definitive diagnosis for a golf-ball-sized lump in her left breast, she returned to Orange County and her physicians at UCI Health.

Corso called for an appointment on a Friday, drove to see her UCI Health primary care doctor on Monday and within a matter of days had a mammogram, a breast ultrasound and a biopsy, followed by a surgical consultation at Pacific Breast Care Center in Costa Mesa.

Within a week, she’d had a lumpectomy to remove a 2-centimeter tumor.

Because cells from the stage IIb tumor were found in three lymph nodes, her breast cancer specialists recommended very aggressive treatment: 16 courses of intensive weekly chemotherapy followed by 30 daily radiation treatments.

Eight months later, her most intensive therapies completed, Corso returned to Las Vegas and her job as a project manager for a risk-assessment software company.

On the road to Orange County

But after interviewing four local oncologists for twice-a-year maintenance infusions, she was back on the road to Orange County to continue those treatments with in Costa Mesa.

“It’s worth it, trust me,” Corso, now 53, says of the drive, which can take anywhere from four- to five-plus hours one way. “My UCI Health doctors saved my life.”

Corso was in Costa Mesa in late August for regular tests, which showed no sign of the tumor’s recurrence.

Under watchful eyes

She’ll return in late January 2020 to the breast center, where UCI Health radiologist Dr. Freddie J. Combs keeps a watchful eye on her mammograms and other imaging tests.

“Dr. Combs is so caring,” she says. “He really tries to uplift your spirits and make you feel at ease.”

She also looks forward to seeing her favorite infusion nurse, Jeanette Beerck, who reassured her before her very first chemotherapy treatment.

“I was scared to death,” she recalls. “But she talked to me and explained everything that was going to happen. She said, ‘Don’t worry, everything is going to be OK.’

No. 1 priority

Receiving a cancer diagnosis is scary and life-changing, and you need nurses around you who really care, not just because it’s their job but because that is how they are built – with a heart that is amazing.”

Corso, who has seen most of her hair grow back after chemotherapy and regained much of the weight she lost, isn’t shy about praising the healthcare providers who saved her life.

“If you want to make sure your health is the No. 1 priority, you need to go to UCI Health and see these doctors.”

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