December 21, 2013
Sarah Townsend of Dr. Dominick Carbone’s office in Elkin showcases a smile that comforts patients and their families.
“My father-in-law is getting treatment for a condition,” said Jennifer Harper while visiting the Elkin urology office. “He said that he likes to come here because Sarah always smiles at him.”
The familiar face in the front office of Dr. Carbone’s team received multiple requests for a Tribune Tribute.
Townsend smiled when asked to open up and provide a snapshot of her journey and what keeps her smiling, according to Dr. Carbone visitors.
“Big family,” smiled Townsend, who has six sisters and four brothers. “If you have a big family like I do, you can only smile.”
Townsend was a student at North Wilkes High School.
“My parents moved in while I was still in school. I left Elkin for ten years and then found my way back here in 2009. It is a great place to raise a family. Excellent schools, great community.”
Townsend said that working in any office has to have an emotional impact on people, and urology does have its tough days.
“Sometimes when helping a newly diagnosed cancer patient or talking with an elderly person who has lost their spouse, it can get emotional,” said Townsend. “We see a lot of elderly people.”
Townsend likes to reflect on the good times through saying that the last thing people need in life is sadness.
“Good times are when a patient who found out they had prostate cancer and were devastated at the time of their diagnosis, then we are able to help them with brachytherapy or hormone injections ect., and when we recheck PSA, it is down well below normal,” she said. “Seeing their smile and them knowing that they have won the battle, or are very close are great moments.”
Loss is not something Townsend likes to discuss, but she did open up on the recent loss of her grandmother to cancer.
“It started in her colon and spread to her lungs and stomach. She lived a long life but it was still very hard to see her go. I got to spend the day with her about a week before she died,” she said. “She was happy and had a smile with each one she heard. We came to a point where we wanted her to know it was OK to let go. It was my first time really experiencing the death of someone I loved so much. I learned a lot about hospice for the first time. Those people are amazing and I am now very passionate about the hospice program. I would like to volunteer in some way some day.”
Despite it all, Townsend revealed how she keeps her smile.
“My love for others, personality, God,” she said.
Like any other mother, Townsend is centered around her kids. “I am blessed with some really great kids. They are good students, and they are really good at everything they do. Watching them play sports is my favorite past time. Shane plays basketball, baseball and football and Kyleigh plays soccer and basketball. Easton is just getting started, but is excited about playing basketball this year,” she said.
Townsend said it is hard to raise kids in today’s day and age.
“We, like most parents, are working with kids every day to teach them how to treat others, the right things to do, and how to make good decisions. It is the most rewarding, but toughest job,” said Townsend.
Children are going to make mistakes, according to the mother of three. However, staying focused on shaping their lives puts them in a better position. Townsend also said she shares stories with her children on things she did as a kid.
“When I was around eleven or so my best buddy, my brother Nathan, got some Skoal pouches from a boy on the school bus. We were always in the woods, hiking around all over the place. Nathan and I decided to try those pouches. I put one in my lip where I thought is should probably go and within a minute the inside of my lip started burning. I could hardly stand it. I also felt a little sick. I took it out and I told my Mama about it. Nathan and I both got in pretty big trouble over that one,” said Townsend.
“You see, everyone has a story about growing up,” she said..
During the interview, Dr. Carbone strolled past the Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital cafeteria where the interview was held.
“Patients love her,” said Dr. Carbone.
“The staff of Dr. Carbone’s office are great,” according to Townsend. “Everyone is so helpful. Everyone has been wonderful. Dr. Carbone is really one of the best doctor’s I’ve ever seen. He really works hard, but he also has a great team.”
Townsend went back to work, smiling.
Reach Anthony Gonzalez at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org