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Online Programming Helps Woman Through Cancer Recovery During Pandemic

Fayetteville, Ga. (June 3, 2021) Leslie Wantland was diagnosed with breast cancer in the summer of 2020. It is a difficult diagnosis to handle at any time, but dealing with it during a pandemic posed some additional challenges. Wantland discussed her options with Nicole Sroka, M.D., a breast surgeon at Piedmont Fayette Hospital, and was introduced to numerous support services through Thomas F. Chapman Family Cancer Wellness.

“Dr. Sroka met with me for several hours and introduced me to Elaine Harbin, the breast cancer nurse navigator at Piedmont Fayette,” said Wantland. “Elaine made sure I understood the entire process, checked in on me as I began chemotherapy, and let me know she was always available.”

Wantland finished her treatment around Christmas and decided that it was time to begin her recovery and use the resources available to her through Cancer Wellness. There were no in-person classes or meetings because of the pandemic, but that worked better for Wantland, who would have a long commute back and forth to the hospital. The Cancer Wellness programming had all moved on-line, so she was able to take Mindfulness Yoga with Mark Flanagan, the oncology social worker, a nutrition class with Corey Tolbert, a nutritionist specializing in nutrition for oncology patients, and a 10-week course with Kirsten Soriano that focused on wellness, weight management, and exercise.

“There is so much information available and I learned so much,” Wantland said. “From Mark, I learned that is ok to sit there and breathe and not think about anything for a while. The class left me feeling rejuvenated. In Corey’s class, I learned how to make some healthy substitutions for my favorite snacks and that it was ok to fall off the wagon as long as you get back on track. During Kirsten’s class, we focused on some of the hidden things in our foods and pantries and encouraged each other to make positive changes.”

Wantland enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and the conversational tone through the on-line classes. She forged some friendships with others going through similar journeys and even met up with one classmate when they realized their paths would be crossing. Ultimately, Wantland found that the programming and the relationships she formed with participants and instructors made staying home and recovering much easier.

“The classes always gave me things to think about or activities to do,” Wantland said. “I had the time, so there was no excuse not to do 30 minutes of stretch band exercises or to try a new recipe.”

Wantland found the classes and programs helpful and encourages others to give them a try. There is no cost and no obligation to make every class. As an educator who has been with Stockbridge High School for 30 years, Wantland knows the secret to getting the most out of a class or program falls on the student.

“You decide what you will get out of a class and what you will take with you,” Wantland said. “I think people need to take advantage of what’s available through Cancer Wellness and I wish more would.”

To learn more about Cancer Wellness at Piedmont, visit

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