Life Comes First


When it comes to cancer treatment – and life in general – Annette Zimmerman and her family are committed to focusing forward. She shares how The Ghosh Center has helped them do just that.

When did you first come to The Ghosh Center?

My first experience with The Ghosh Center was in June, 2012. With three active children, my husband and I have a full family life. I had been experiencing abdominal pain off and on for some time, but was busy with my oldest son’s high school graduation. After all the festivities were over, I went to a walk-in clinic and from there, was sent to the hospital for a CT scan. When the doctor at the walk-in clinic got the results of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, he directed me straight to Dr. Ghosh.

What was your first impression?

From my initial meeting with Dr. Ghosh, I knew I was in really good hands. He explained things so well and was very forthright. He told me, “Now is not the time to worry. Today is not the day.” I felt I’d turned my cancer over to someone who knew what he was doing, and I never felt a need for a second opinion. When my husband met Dr. Ghosh, he agreed.

I have the same sense of security now as when I first met Dr. Ghosh. Last September, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I’m already done with chemo and surgery and will continue with a targeted infusion treatment until this September. The whole team at The Ghosh Center has taken very good care of me – and allowed me to take care of my family.

Our philosophy is to focus on the positive – and on life.

What kinds of things have made a difference?

The team takes time to know who I am and treat me as a whole person. They even make time for my children. Each of my kids has come to an appointment to learn about this part of my life. Dr. Ghosh always pops in, asks about their questions and provides reassuring, age-appropriate answers. He and his staff do the same with me. They’re committed to explaining things, giving me plenty of time to ask questions and making sure I understand.

Did you take advantage of the free healing therapies?

Yes, I really benefited from Reiki therapy. After my first treatment, Janel, who provides Reiki, came in and asked if wanted to try it. I thought, why not? I’m so glad I did. Janel did my first session in the chemo chair. It helped so much that I made a point to do a full-body Reiki session in the family lounge after each chemo treatment. After my last chemo treatment and before I had surgery, I had another session.

I’m a believer. During Reiki, Janel lays a hand on you and holds it still or places it just above you. It left me feeling so peaceful and calm. After each of my treatment sessions, I’ve been able to go right back to work and parenting. I think Reiki had a part in helping me move through chemo and surgery with very few setbacks.

You’ve talked about your focus on “life comes first.” Tell us more about that.

This is how we live our lives as a family. We’ve faced a lot of challenges in recent years: in 2012, with my initial cancer diagnosis, followed by my husband doing back-to-back tours in Afghanistan, and then last fall, with my second diagnosis. Our philosophy is to move forward. To go through it together. To focus on the positive – and on life.

As a result, our children are very close. Life comes first keeps us going and growing together.

Hear Annette's Story