Patient shares experience navigating cancer diagnosis with support of Cancer Center team and MyChart

Jim Indrelie sitting outside, Patient shares cancer diagnosis, Cancer Center team, MyChart, healthy lungs for life event, Jim Indrelie

On Wednesday, June 5 from 9 am – 1 pm, Hennepin Healthcare is hosting a free community event on our downtown campus (730 South 8th Street, Minneapolis). At the Healthy Lungs for Life event, attendees can connect with our pulmonology providers, participate in low impact aerobics, and have the opportunity to complete a same-day lung screening. With any illness, catching it at the right time can make the biggest difference in a diagnosis.

In 2021, Jim Indrelie wasn’t feeling himself. “I had had a cold which turned into a cough, and I was feeling pretty rundown – I was afraid maybe I had a touch of pneumonia,” says Jim. He soon set up an appointment with his primary care doctor at Hennepin Healthcare. Unfortunately, an x-ray revealed two nodules, that, after a biopsy, confirmed Jim had Stage 3 lung cancer.

The diagnosis came as a surprise, but Jim’s primary care provider wasted no time in ordering a biopsy and referring him to our Comprehensive Cancer Center. After confirming the diagnosis, the team acted quickly, scheduling tests and rounds of chemotherapy. Now in 2024, thanks to that teams’ efforts, the cancer has not grown.

Although not in remission, the lack of tumor growth is positive news, and Jim is grateful for the care he has received from his team.

“I have been able to be fully functional through this and it hasn’t incapacitated me at all,” says Jim. “I’ve been really pleased with the whole Cancer Center staff and the way they approach things, and the teamwork associated with the different disciplines involved.”

Thankfully, Jim sought care at the right place and right time. “I think if they had found it any later, it probably would have been much more difficult for them to come up with a plan that could address it.”

In addition to the Cancer Center team, something else that has made a positive impact in Jim’s journey at Hennepin is the use of MyChart. With MyChart, Jim can access his test results and notes from his care team from anywhere.

“I’m a big fan of MyChart and the ability for individual patients to be very much on top of all of their medical appointments and results. It’s at my fingertips at all times,” says Jim. “I think the general community at large isn’t really aware of the access that individuals have to medical records. There’s a lot of people who, like me, want all those details. I want to be a stakeholder in my own health care decisions, and I can’t do that without knowledge.”

As he continues treatment, Jim has become a vocal supporter of early cancer screening and encourages patients to meet with their primary care provider regularly.  “Any test that takes just a few moments of your time and could have such a significant impact on your longevity is well worth the minimal time invested in it,” says Jim. “Anything that provides a screening for the lungs that could lead to an early diagnosis is paramount.”