Professional dancer and choreographer Tiffany Patterson, 43, isn’t one to slow down for little things. But when she experienced severe pain in her abdomen while teaching a dance class, she immediately knew something wasn’t right.
“It felt like I had been sucker punched in the stomach, and it was unlike any pain I’ve felt before,” Patterson says. “I drank some water and it got a little better, so I thought it was over. That was until my stomach became very swollen a few days later.”
Patterson listened to her instincts and went straight to the ER at Lehigh Valley Hospital–Muhlenberg, where they did blood and imaging tests. The results showed the exact cause of her symptoms: a mass attached to her abdominal wall and bloodwork findings that suggested it was cancerous.
“I was beside myself when I got the results, but the doctors and nurses were very kind and empathetic,” Patterson says. “They even set up a video call with the surgeon who would perform the surgery, if it was cancer.”
“I can’t wait to get back to my normal schedule, and when I do, my care team members will be some of the first people I think of. Without them, my family, my friends and my faith, my recovery journey wouldn’t be possible.” - Tiffany Patterson
That gynecologic oncologist was M. Bijoy Thomas, MD, one of the region’s most experienced robotic surgeons (who recently completed his 3,500th robotic procedure).