Cathy’s Story: Unique Same-Day Symptom Care Exceeds Expectations

"You have cancer." Those three words immediately change the lives of anyone who hears them. The next thoughts are often filled with so many unanswered questions ranging from treatment options to available support resources.

That was the case for Cathy Garten. The 67-year-old used to avoid going to the doctor, fearful that they would find more issues. "I tended to deny things but being neglectful led to more health issues over time," she says. After losing her voice and 30 pounds within a few months, she saw Otolaryngologist, Suhael Momin, M.D. at Henry Ford Lakeside in Sterling Heights. Her biopsy showed stage 3 laryngeal cancer that metastasized to her lymph nodes. Cathy used to work as a private caregiver and considered the dementia patients she cared for her "heart and soul." Drawing from her experience in caregiving, Cathy had high expectations for the care she would receive from Henry Ford Cancer.

Thanks to the comprehensive treatment at Henry Ford Health, including a unique clinic that provides same-day care for patients experiencing side effects of cancer treatment, Cathy emphasizes the care at Henry Ford far exceeded her expectations.

Compassionate cancer treatment for urgent health needs

Cathy’s cancer treatment plan was intense - 7 chemotherapy infusions and 35 radiation treatments within 7 weeks. Chemotherapy caused irritation and radiation therapy amplified swelling, which lead to discomfort, dehydration, and anxiety. Cathy says her Henry Ford Head and Neck Cancer team calmed her as they talked, joked, and played Motown music. “They supported me through it, and their patience is responsible for my success,” says Cathy.

She specifically credits the OncoStat clinic for helping her manage the side effects of her intense cancer treatment. This unique clinic offers same-day care services to patients experiencing side effects and symptoms of cancer treatment, such as nausea, constipation, and dehydration. “OncoStat closely collaborates with a patient's established care team and other departments to ensure seamless coordination of comprehensive cancer care,” says Cyndy Ulreich, NP, Oncology-Certified Nurse Practitioner and OncoStat Manager. For example, OncoStat specialists will fast track any blood work, order imaging tests, administer medications, provide infusions, and other treatments as needed. For patients unable to visit one of our OncoStat locations, the team also offers virtual visits to best support their needs.

“Before Cathy could continue with radiation therapy, she needed hydration," says Cyndy. Cathy's daughter, Nicole, contacted the OncoStat clinic at the Henry Ford Cancer Pavilion in downtown Detroit, where she spoke with Jen Franco, NP, Advanced Practice Provider who promptly scheduled an appointment to see her mother.

Cathy went on to visit OncoStat 6 times within 6 weeks to alleviate the side effects of her cancer treatment. Nicole says, “They helped my mom understand the necessity of a feeding tube, which made me feel like I had a trusted teammate in my mom’s care. The staff was loving, patient, and empathetic. It felt like they really listened and cared about my mom.”

Jen Franco, who saw Cathy at every visit, explains that Cathy was given hydration, electrolyte replacements and antiemetics to control vomiting. “We also worked very closely with Palliative Medicine to make pain medication adjustments for her. After her lengthy hospitalization, which we facilitated for a feeding tube and several other issues, she came back to OncoStat for parotiditis treatment (swelling of parotid glands).”

One of the key benefits of OncoStat, according to Jen, is the trained oncology team comprised of nurses, advanced practice providers, and pharmacy team members working in collaboration with the patient's cancer team to provide a host of services to help patients avoid visiting the Emergency Department. “These features are what patients really love and tell us time and time again that they are so thankful the OncoStat Clinic exists.”

“These features are what patients really love and tell us time and time again that they are so thankful the OncoStat Clinic exists.”


At Henry Ford Cancer, we know that the side effects of cancer treatment can be challenging. We developed the OncoStat clinic to provide you with an extra level of care for any urgent health needs.

Despite the cancer diagnosis, there is good news for Cathy. The treatment provided at Henry Ford Health is working, and OncoStat got her through - Cathy's swelling has gone down and she recently regained her voice. "Thankful and grateful" for the care received at Henry Ford Health, Cathy praises their accessibility and compassion, and considered them life savers due to the excellent care she received. “I only saw caring and friendly people. The care team was immediate, and they were always willing to work with my schedule since I was driving 40 miles to downtown Detroit. You won’t find that anywhere else,” she says.

The OncoStat clinic recently received a generous $2 million gift to expand hours, sites of care, and clinical services to reach more patients when and where they need it most.

To learn more, please visit OncoStat Clinic at Henry Ford Health.

Newly diagnosed?

Contact the cancer team 24/7 by calling (888) 777-4167.


Cookie Consent

We use cookies to improve your web experience. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use. Read our Internet Privacy Statement to learn what information we collect and how we use it.

Accept All Cookies