The Northwest Indiana Breast Care Center at Methodist Hospital provides an opportunity for residents of the Region to be proactive in their physical health. Offering an array of tests and preventative strategies to ensure that women and men who are susceptible to breast cancer stay healthy, the center is an invaluable asset in the long-term health of Northwest Indiana. One of the reasons the center is able to maintain a high level of quality care is the passion of the people running its everyday operations.
“I've been at Methodist Hospitals for 12 years, and I've been at the Breast Care Center for almost four years,” said Tracey Valois, a mammography assistant at the center. “I love it. It's a great atmosphere and a great group of ladies.”
Valois grew up in the Region, a Crown Point native. She entered the medical field early before stepping back to raise her family. Once all of her children were grown, Valois decided it was time to return to work. Her son was working at Methodist Hospitals at the time and recommended she apply.
“He mentioned wanting me to come work at the hospital, so that's what I did,” said Valois. “I was in radiology for about nine years which I loved, and then my manager, Jennifer Sanders, kept saying, ‘You know what, I need to get you to the breast center.’ After a few years of her trying to get the position and me trying to get everything organized to a point that I could leave, I came over to the breast center. I really like it up here; this feels like home to me.”
As a mammography assistant, Valois helps keep the center functioning daily.
“The Breast Care Center primarily does mammograms,” said Valois. “I check in patients when they arrive at the breast center for their appointments, take them to the dressing room, and answer any questions that they might have about their exam. If we have ladies that come in for their mammogram and they need to come back for anything additional, I'll give them a call to let them know that their mammogram was abnormal and then get them scheduled as soon as we can.”
Valois enjoys working in a human aspect because she is a breast cancer survivor, so she is able to connect with patients during a difficult time. Her experiences during and after breast cancer help her form a bond with patients.
“I had breast cancer at a very young age 22 years ago, so I connect with the patients,” said Valois. “I totally understand what they're going through, and I believe that has helped my communication with the patients. There's several ladies that are coming in and they're scared to death, and I always reassure them. I have several women that have come back over the years and they're like, ‘We can't believe you put us at ease. It was so nice talking to somebody that was a cancer survivor for so many years.’ It really hits home for me, and I just feel like this is where I need to be.”
When Valois is away from her work, she enjoys spending time outside with her grandchildren. She takes advantage of nice weather by going boating and experiencing the world. She’s proactive with her health and encourages others to be as well.
“Breast health is so important, and getting a routine mammogram is easy,” said Valois. “There's such a stigma on how painful mammograms can be, but it's not near as bad as people have been saying. You have to be proactive with your health and get your yearly mammogram.”
To learn more about the Northwest Indiana Breast Care Center at Methodist Hospital or to schedule an appointment, visit its website here.