Provider Spotlight: Annie Bennett, PNP

Annie BennettBy Annie Bennett, PNP

I grew up in Washington, Missouri, where I first developed my passion for caring for children. I volunteered at the local hospital reading to children prior to their doctors visits. I then went to the University of Missouri to study nursing and graduated with my BSN in 2014.

My first nursing job was at University of Missouri Women’s and Children’s Hospital where I worked for one year before moving to Kansas City. After moving to Kansas City, I accepted a job at Children’s Mercy Hospital on a medical surgical floor specializing in neurology, endocrinology, and cystic fibrosis. Once at Children’s Mercy, I decided I wanted to return to school to become a nurse practitioner in order to further help the children and families in the Kansas City area. I graduated as a pediatric nurse practitioner in December of 2018 and began working with Blue Springs Pediatrics in January of 2019.

I met my husband, Reese, while in nursing school, and we were married at the Red Barn Farm in Weston, Missouri, in 2016.

Reese is an outpatient physical therapist with Athletico Physical Therapy. We currently live in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. Together we enjoy traveling to new and exciting destinations. In the past year we have been to Costa Rica, the Bahamas, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Hiking through the rain forest and zip lining through mountainous Costa Rica has been our favorite trip so far.

Reese and I also enjoy spending time with family and friends. I have an identical twin sister who lives in Lee’s Summit. In addition, my husband and I enjoy cheering on the Mizzou Tigers, Royals, and Chiefs. Personally I enjoy reading in my spare time. The Harry Potter books are my favorite.

I love working with pediatric patients of all ages and enjoy educating patients and families. Increasing health literacy and empowering patients and families to manage their health is my passion. I look forward to promoting health and wellness in the greater Blue Springs area.

Annie and Reese Annie Annie and Reese Annie and Reese

JoJo’s Army: A Warrior Story about JoMarie Young, LPN

By JoMarie Young, LPN

I’m a lot things, but mostly a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, nurse, scrapbooker, Kansas City Chiefs Fan, FOREVER ROYAL, summer lover, wanna be world traveler and Justin Timberlake’s biggest fan! I’ve worked for LSPG for ten years next month. I spend more time at work than I do at home, so when I say I love my work family, I really mean it! I love my job, and the doctors I work for are some of the most down to earth, genuine people I’ve ever have had the privilege of knowing.

When friends ask who they should take their kids to see, I answer honestly. It doesn’t matter, choose someone that fits your schedule best. I promise it’s not because I work with them and they pay me, but because I truly mean it! I work with and for some amazing professionals!

A little background…

I spent the first half of my childhood in Northeast Kansas City. One fact about me most people don’t know, Italian was my first language! (My dad is from Sicily.) The second half of my childhood, I lived in South Kansas City. I graduated from Ruskin High School in 1989. I met my husband of almost 23 years, the first day of our freshman year, August 1985. We didn’t start dating until after High School and the rest is history. Three kids later, nursing school, a Bail Bonds Business, a few moves and several pets, we now reside in Kingsville, MO. We just completed our first and LAST build job. That was a test, for sure!

D-Day: June 28th, 2012

JoJo's ArmyRewind one week prior to D-Day. I’d noticed a lump in my right breast previously but only associated it with monthly female symptoms. This time seemed different. It was the weekend, and I was having some slight pain associated with the lump. Red flags started waving! I decided I needed to call my OB/GYN first thing Monday morning and schedule an appointment. At my appointment, the doctor immediately felt what I was talking about and was concerned as well. She sent me directly downstairs to the Breast Center at St. Joseph Hospital.

They began with a mammogram, and once completed they asked that I not change. They wanted me to wait while the radiologist reviewed the films. A few minutes later, they called me back for more films as there was something they needed a few more pictures of. So of course, I obliged. Not starting to panic just yet, but anxiety is most definitely at the surface. After the second set of films, they requested I get an ultrasound. I figured I might as well, I’m already here.

During the prep for the ultrasound, the tech asked if recommended, would I consent to having a biopsy. They had the time, and the radiologist was just around the corner waiting for my images. ASOLUTELY! As you can imagine, the ultrasound confirmed something suspicious. They recommended an ultrasound guided biopsy. I was alone. While lying on the bed waiting for the doctor in this dimly lit room, tears ran down my cheeks.

The Truth?

JoJo's ArmyI looked over at the nicest girl that was about to help guide the doctor, and asked if she could be completely honest with me. She hesitated at first but then said she would if that was what I really wanted, she would be honest. She knew what I was about to ask her. “Does this look like something I should be concerned about?” She responded with, “yes, it looks like cancer.” Now the tears are really flowing.

The biopsy was done in a flash; I was treated so well by the doctor and staff. They were kind, sensitive, understanding and gentle. After it was completed, everyone left the room and I was alone again. Alone with my own thoughts and fears. I sobbed. After pulling myself together, I was able to call my husband and request he meet me at my parents’ house. I didn’t want to go straight home for fear of our kids seeing me in that condition. I drove to my parent’s house; it was the longest 45 minute ride I’ve ever driven.

I called my nursing supervisor to explain everything and was told to take all the time I needed.  I’ll never forget how my employer treated me through this whole ordeal.  I will forever feel indebted to Lee’s Summit Physicians Group. Their support never wavered, not once.

I was told the results would take a few days to come in. The next three days seemed like years! NOT knowing is the worst!

We got the call Thursday afternoon. I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer Stage 3B Invasive Ductal Carcinoma in Situ, at the age of 41. This devastating news blindsided us, to say the least. The appointments started immediately. I met with my nurse navigator, my breast surgeon and my oncologist the VERY next day. Yes, that’s right! Within five days I’d had a mammogram, ultrasound, biopsy, met with a breast surgeon and an oncologist. All of this happened on a Friday before a holiday weekend. Nothing happened the following week due to the 4th of July holiday, and as a family we needed to take some time to breathe. We took off for the lake to just be a family.

After some much needed family time, we didn’t waste any time.

JoJo's ArmyJuly 9th my port was placed. July 11th my first of many different rounds of chemo began. Within two weeks of my diagnosis, I had started treatment. I felt like I was staring death right in the eye. I had no idea what my life was going to look like. Things were changing so fast. We were facing a huge fight. Chemo was brutal. Whatever side effect ‘could’ happen did. I had so many reactions. Days that my abdomen was so distended I looked like I was 9 months pregnant! Scary moments of anaphylaxis to drugs, to not being able to breathe, eat, drink or sleep.

Due to so many complications from chemo, the decision was made to rid my body of the tumor burden. On October 30th, 2012 I had a bilateral mastectomy. Treatment stopped temporally to allow my body to heal from the surgery, but three weeks later chemo started again. I was scared. I thought for sure Christmas 2012 was going to be my last

JoJo’s Army

All in all, I had a total of 14 months of treatments that included numerous rounds of chemotherapy and 33 rounds of radiation. The whole experience was surreal. It seemed as though I was watching another person’s life through a window. This fight was one that I couldn’t have fought without my husband, family or my ARMY! I chose to call all of my supporters JoJo’s ARMY because the support was so overwhelming; “team” just didn’t seem adequate.

Cancer sent me a challenge, it was accepted, because honestly, I didn’t have any other choice. I had kids at home that still needed a mom. One of my children was a senior in high school. I was adamant that her memories of this monumental time in her life were NOT going to be tainted with sadness. Every day I had a choice to make. My choice was to make the most of every day OR I could be sad, mad, and angry, have a pity party, ask why, and be down in the dumps. I made a promise to myself that I would make the MOST of every day, and I chose to be positive. I would be lying if I said there weren’t bad days, because there were… a lot. But I tried to keep them private. My kids are the heroes in this story; they’re where my strength came from.

JoJo's ArmyAs of August 2nd, 2018 I’ve been “cancer-free” for five years (post treatment). My oncologist says I’m cured. That sounds great, but coming from a cancer warrior, let me just tell you; I’m always ready for battle.

Something else you should know about my cancer story, I don’t like the word “survivor”. Maybe it’s because I have “survivor’s” guilt. Maybe because I’m always wondering when the other shoe will drop. But mostly because I’m ANGRY! I’m mad that others that fought just as hard as I did (or harder) aren’t here telling us their story! Please call it whatever you want to call it, but when you refer to me, please remember I’m cancer warrior because I stand with ALL of those affected by cancer NOT just the ones still here telling their story.

Employee Spotlight: Mallory Galate

By Jody C. Brown, Director for Lee’s Summit Physicians Group

Every office has one. You know, the point person who everyone goes to with any and all questions, from why the water machine doesn’t have enough water pressure to why their insurance is denying their latest claim – and everything in between.

We have one of those people and her name is Mallory.

MalloryMallory started working for Lee’s Summit Physicians Group in February 2010 as part of our front desk staff. She proved to be a quick learner and had a maturity beyond her years and was soon assisting the front office supervisor with several of her daily tasks. From there, Mallory moved to the insurance department where she continued to display a strong work ethic and the ability to learn quickly.

In November 2017, the position of the administrative assistant to the Director opened and once again, Mallory was chosen to fill yet another role in our office. We couldn’t have made a better choice! Mallory loves to help people and is always gracious when doing so, even if she’s been asked the same question ten times that day! If you ask her a question she doesn’t know, she will find the answer and get back to you.

Mallory helps us plan activities and special events, she is thorough and organized and she’s constantly looking ahead and anticipating the needs of the staff, the doctors and especially me! Since the role that she is in assists me directly, I can wholeheartedly say that she is a big part of why this office runs smoothly! And I should know because I had to take on her role as well as mine while she had “the nerve” to go on maternity leave a few short months ago! Mallory and her husband John welcomed their second son in May 2018, and while I was thrilled for her and her sweet family, there were definitely days during her twelve weeks off that I was sure I wasn’t going to be able to make it to her return.

I did make it, she is back in her rightful spot, and all is right with the world.

Mallory Galate