“I was given an initial diagnosis of diverticulitis, which is inflammation or infection in one or more small pouches in the digestive tract, and was sent home with some antibiotics,” she says. However, she experienced more severe pain weeks later that sent her to the emergency department at UC Health’s West Chester Hospital.
“The physician there told me that he thought I had color cancer,” she says. “I was afraid and anxious about what my treatment would be, but I just knew that I had to get through it.”
Hoevel was admitted to the hospital that day, and a CT scan and colonoscopy confirmed that it was, in fact, colorectal cancer.
Her multidisciplinary UC team, which consisted of Richard Rood, MD, from the Division of Digestive Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, members of the UC Health and UC Cancer Institute surgical team and Olugbenga (Benga) Olowokure, MD, in the Division of Hematology Oncology, helped manage her care from start to finish.
“I knew I was in good hands,” she says, adding that the cancerous portion of her colon was removed. “I had a huge family and spiritual support network—most of all, my son Officer Nick Hoevel, who passed away in 2014—and I trusted in my medical team to do what was best for me.”
After her surgery, chemotherapy was ordered to keep the cancer from returning. Hoevel received her treatments at both West Chester and the UC Health Barrett Cancer Center and said she couldn’t be happier with the staff that cared for her during that time.
“Chemo made me feel terrible, and the nurses and staff there explained it to me as like soldiers who were entering my body to kill the bad cells,” she says. “It really helped me visualize what was happening to me and helped me cope with each infusion. Instead of poison, I was then able to view it as medicine to help me fight the cancer.”
During her battle with cancer, Hoevel still managed to work and attend school. She graduated with honors with a medical billing and coding certificate. Now, Hoevel works in marketing and scheduling with Miracle Ear. She also regularly spends time with her grandchildren, Julia, Justin and baby Nicholas.
“I’m so very thankful to God, my family and my team at UC and the UC Cancer Institute for giving me this next phase in my life,” she says. “Without all of these, I wouldn’t be alive today. Dr. Benga was particularly wonderful, keeping me informed with each new step of the treatment process.
“I want stress prevention to others; it is important to get your colonoscopies. Both of my parents had cancer, and my father and brother had colon cancer. It’s important to be proactive to keep cancer away.”