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Carla helps us celebrate a special anniversary in Huntington

Last Modified: April 23, 2024

Family Medicine, People of Parkview

breast cancer

Nearly five years ago, Parkview Huntington Hospital opened the doors to a newly expanded rehabilitation and wellness center. To mark the anniversary, Carla J. MacDonald, EdD, an associate professor of Social Work and Director of Field Education at Huntington University, shared her recent experience and what it means to have specialty services available locally.

“In November 2022, I was diagnosed with breast cancer through a routine mammogram at Parkview Huntington,” Carla said. “A biopsy was scheduled at Parkview Regional Medical Center to confirm the diagnosis. The pathologist who administered the biopsy warned me that the pathology result might appear on MyChart before he’d have a chance to call me. I will never forget the feeling of not wanting to read the test result once I received the notification that it was available, but being the control person I am, I wanted to be in charge and know the results without delay.

“Within minutes of reading the results, my phone rang and it was Dr. Julie Utendorf, my family physician. She had been alerted that I was having the biopsy and in turn, asked her nurse to watch for my test result. I felt such reassurance when Dr. Utendorf called. Even though she wasn’t directly involved in this diagnosis, she was there for me from the very beginning.”

Carla’s treatment journey

In January 2023, Carla was introduced to Lindsay Hardley, DO, for a surgical consultation, and in February of that year, she had a lumpectomy. She started 16 rounds of chemotherapy in April and radiation in September.

“I began experiencing extreme back and shoulder pain, which is an unfortunate but typical side effect from the radiation,” Carla said. “I was referred to a physical therapist named Lynne for treatment.”

Specialized therapy

Lynn Merrill, PT, DPT, CLT-LANA, outpatient physical therapist, Parkview Huntington Hospital, had the expertise necessary to get Carla through this challenging phase of her treatment journey. “Since 2018, we’ve offered patients with breast cancer pre- and post-op therapy services to assist with their recovery,” she explained. “This often involves helping patients regain shoulder range of motion, education about the risk of developing lymphedema to reduce their risk and teaching them how to manage lymphedema if they develop it.

breast cancer

“Early surveillance is important for reducing the risk of developing lymphedema or treating it in its earliest stages. We currently have four trained clinicians on staff at Parkview Huntington. Myself, Brooke Kitt, PTA, Joanna Eastes, OT, and Emily German, COTA.”

A place of healing

Carla started twice-weekly physical therapy at the Holly D. Sale Rehabilitation and Wellness Center at Parkview Huntington in January 2024.

In 2019, Parkview Huntington underwent an expansion project, which included the rehabilitation and wellness space, named after Holly Sale, the center’s late director, who passed away in 2017 after three decades of devoted service to the community.

“I had the opportunity to work with Holly and plan the expansion of the rehab center before her passing,” Sonya Foraker, finance leader, Parkview Huntington Hospital, said. “This was a dream of hers, and we were determined to achieve her vision of developing a team of experts who would make an impact for our patients. Holly was dedicated to our community and wanted people to be able to receive services locally.”

The vision was welcomed by the therapy staff, many of whom live in Huntington. “I worked under Holly’s leadership for six years,” Lynn said. “She had a vision of excellence that included providing specialty services so patients had access in their community. I live in Huntington; it’s my community, too.  It’s inspiring for me and quite meaningful to be able to care for people living here. I’ve cared for neighbors, friends and family members. It’s an honor to be able to walk alongside a patient going through a challenging journey, like a breast cancer diagnosis often involves.”


Carla is proof that the center’s namesake made an impact. “Simply sitting in the waiting room with the friendly receptionists and the scheduling clerk always started my day off with reassurance that I was in a place of healing,” she shared. “The waiting room with Holly’s beautiful photo on the wall was further reassurance in knowing that all that Holly stood for continues to be carried out.” 

Carla knew Holly personally. “We came to Huntington the same year, both recent college grads, and found employment in this community. Holly was employed at the hospital as a physical therapist, and I was employed at Pathfinder Services as a social worker and, eventually, vice president. Our paths crossed often in our work roles. I would see Holly at sporting events for Huntington North High School, and in later years, we both served on the board of directors together for the Parkview Boys and Girls Club of Huntington County. I will never forget receiving the phone call in the early hours of the day that Holly had passed.” 

A powerful legacy

While Carla was pleased with her care team and treatment at the Parkview Packnett Family Cancer Institute, having a convenient therapy option closer to her home and work was ideal. “They were all amazing. I love the PRMC facility, but the drive is long, especially when you’re experiencing side effects from chemo and radiation,” she said. “Getting outstanding care from Lynne and Brooke in the therapy center at Huntington was beyond my expectations. Their expertise and caring nature were so valued.” 

“It gives patients ease of access, lessening the burden of travel,” Lynn agreed. “This really makes a difference when a patient may need to attend therapy multiple times per week over the course of up to 12 weeks.”

Carla finished physical therapy in March and has a positive outlook on the future. “I will continue with infusions and regular checkups with the breast cancer care team, but I am in recovery thanks to the caring people at Parkview Health.” 

Reflecting on five years

The anniversary of the enhanced facility brings up warm memories and cause to celebrate. “Personally, it gives me great satisfaction to be a part of a program that raises the level of excellence provided in our community hospitals,” Lynn said. “Knowing we’re making the treatment more convenient makes the best outcomes possible. And I get a lot of joy from that.”

“I see the Holly D. Sale Rehabilitation and Wellness Center as a resource for not only Huntington but for our surrounding communities,” Sonya added. “We’ve made Holly’s wish come true. We’ve developed a center for excellence in specialty services.” 

For more information about the Holly D. Sale Rehabilitation and Wellness Center at Parkview Huntington Hospital, or the many therapies and services offered, call 260-355-3240.

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