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Patient Spotlight: Karen Donour

Karen Donour

Q: Why did you choose the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB to partner with you in this journey?

A: I was diagnosed with Erdheim-Chester disease in October 2020 at Mayo Clinic. When they found out I lived in Alabama, they recommended Dr. (Gaurav) Goyal at UAB. He was familiar with the disease and had done work at Mayo in histiocytosis.

Q: What has been the most challenging part of your experience?

A: Learning to give up control in my life and build some trust in people I don’t know

Q: What is the biggest win you’re excited to share?

A: My progress and improvement in my balance and core strength, which allowed me to return to independent living

Q: What is a fun fact that not many people know about you?

A: I am a planner, so I get real pleasure in planning a trip.

Q: What is your favorite hobby?

A: Travel

Q: What is the next place on your travel bucket list?

A: Nebraska and South Dakota are the only U.S. states I have not visited. I plan to take a road trip with some friends to visit these two states, and I would like to include some of the national parks in Utah, as I have only been to Salt Lake City.

Q: Favorite TV show?

A: Masterpiece Theatre

Q: Favorite quote to live by?

A: “A question ain’t really a question if you know the answer, too.” (lyric by John Prine)

Q: Is there anything you would like to say about the histiocytosis program at UAB?

A: Everyone in the program has treated me with the kindest respect. They have treated me like I am a friend.

Q: What advice would you give to those just beginning their cancer journey?

A: Try to develop a support group of patients who are having the same struggles you have.

Q: Is there anyone from the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB you’d like to recognize?

A: Dr. Goyal has been wonderful. He built trust with me as I fought this disease, and it has reduced my stress level.

Q: Outside of the medicine, appointments, and treatments, was there anything in particular that helped you through the emotional and mental challenges that cancer brought to your life?

A: I have been completely impressed by the UAB Pharmacy. The service I received from all of the folks there has been awesome, and I appreciate them making my journey smoother.

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