Battle Buddies and the The Power of Human Kind

By Tina Withrow

April Saucedo didn’t go looking for cancer. Breast cancer. Metastatic breast cancer. It came looking for her. She was busy working on her college nursing degree, shooting for the stars, her dreams, spending time with friends and family. Making plans. That is what young 22 year olds do. It came like a thief in the middle of the night; it tried to take from her and her family. They were shaken to their core, their dreams diverted, plans changed. Power lost, faith restored, new dreams spoken. This is her story.

Peter Beitsch M.D. is the guy that you want with you in a fight. In a foxhole, dark alley, whatever––he always has a plan. As an independent cancer navigator and patient advocate, I must send my clients to centers of excellence because I am only as good as the great experience and the outcomes that my client’s achieve. I drive him crazy with my many questions trying to understand what is happening to patients at all hours. He never complains about it. We share that sense of urgency when dealing with cancer survivors and that rush to get them back to their lives.

He has great credentials…

NIH Fellowship at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

Surgical Oncology Fellowship at John Wayne Cancer Institute

Past President of the American Society of Breast Surgeons

High-risk clinic for breast and melanoma cancers

Journal articles in New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, Annals of Surgical Oncology, among many others

Founders Award /Bridge Breast Network for his work in Dallas with breast cancer outreach.

When you talk with Teri Essick, Dr. Beitsch’s nurse of over 20 years, about a client/cancer survivor, she always gives you the back story about the patient that lets you know that she is taking a personal interest in getting to know them, looking after their well being, driving good outcomes. It shows, it is personal, it matters. I was in awe when Teri called me to discuss the case and referred to April as “our girl.” I feel that way about April also.

“I don’t have the best insurance and I worried this might affect my care. It hasn’t. Tina Withrow with Health-Sync, Dr. Beitsch, and Dallas Surgical Group have helped me get my arms around what is happening and directed me at each curve in the road to where I need to be in this battle. They’ve got my back and I now feel empowered to get through this so that I can achieve the goals that I have set for myself. Yes, I have those moments of disbelief and anger. During those times, I have to remind myself that there is a silver lining to this. One of them is my family and friends and our love for each other. The other is my medical team. They have shown me a side of human kind and kindness that humbles and empowers me. It enables me to take control of my treatment and get back to my life!” says April.

Friends and family have set up a Go Fund Me page to help April manage and pay for better insurance in 2017 and offset her many expenses to win this battle. Her treatment schedule requires lots of travel. She never complains and is always hopeful––looking ahead to what life will bring. Forever changed, eye on the prize, certainly no surrender, and no retreat!

Tina Withrow is an independent cancer navigator and patient advocate at Health-Sync. If you or someone you know needs help navigating a health-care crisis or cancer, contact Tina at 214-546-2215 or email her at