Breast cancer survivor thanks Hoag ‘Dream Team’
To have Dr. Silverstein build a team like that in two hours was astounding
to me. I am honored to be his patient.
At the two-year mark, she celebrated. C.A.Nichols bought a pink dress,
drank a pink-hued glass of wine and ate a pink cupcake.
Part of her wishes she would have never had to meet the group of Hoag surgeons,
oncologists and radiologists she calls “The Dream Team,” but
all of her is thankful that she found this tremendous team that helped
her fight the breast cancer that was moving aggressively through her body.
C.A.Nichols learned she had high-grade invasive breast cancer in August
2012. When she heard the words, she said she couldn’t speak or even
cry. She was like a dear in head lights. “I sat next to my mother
and looked ahead,” she said . “For an hour, I sat there.”
C.A.Nichols didn’t know where to start, but she knew she wanted
the best. A dear family friend and renowned cancer specialist told her
to find Dr. Melvin J. Silverstein at Hoag. “He told me, ‘If
you can hunt him down, he is the man,’” C.A.Nichols said.
C.A.Nichols calls Dr. Silverstein “my god,” as he would become
the ringleader of her Dream Team. On their first meeting, they talked
for two hours, mapping a plan to treat her cancer. “He was just
so lovely with my mother and I,” she said. “He really was
a miracle worker.”
Silverstein recruited plastic surgeon Dr. Nirav Savalia, who C.A.Nichols
called “my Dali Lama," to perform the reconstructive part of
the surgery. Radiologist Dr. Brian Kim joined the team to administer the
cutting-edge Intraoperative Radiation Therapy. C.A.Nichols referred to
him as “my Bruin.” Kim, like her daughter, studied at UCLA.
Rounding out the Dream Team was C.A.Nichols’s oncologist, Dr. James
Waisman, who she called, “my other god.”
“My cancer was very aggressive, fortunately it was discovered at
Stage I,” C.A.Nichols said. “To have Dr. Silverstein build
a team like that in two hours was astounding to me. I am honored to be
C.A. Nichols had surgery and IORT, Intraoperative Radiation Therapy, a
state of the art treatment offered here at Hoag.
Chemotherapy was an unexpected additional treatment! With the loss of hair,
C.A. Nichols sported a scarf and positive attitude at her son’s
high school marching band performances!
Every day, while dropping her son off at school, they would reach out their
hands, making a fist bump and yell “Fight!” This daily occurrence
would go on to become the cover of her new cancer journey book; "EmbraceEmbarkEvolve."
“I am very fortunate to say I am now a cancer survivor thanks to
my tremendous Dream Team,” she said. “They’ve done a
wonderful job of holding my hand, and still do, through this process.
Thanks to Hoag, I am a success cancer story!”
Throughout her experience, she wrote this book on her iPad. She said she
promised Dr. Silverstein she would thank the team by being an inspiration
for others on their cancer journey.
C.A.Nichols recently released her book, “EmbraceEmbarkEvolve,”
which chronicles her journey and offers inspiration, guidance, and humor
for those battling cancer. “It’s written for a man or woman
with any type of cancer. It is also a helpful read for family and friends
of the cancer patient. I lovingly hold the hands of the cancer patient
during their cancer journey,” C.A.Nichols said. To learn more please visit