NEWS | May 1, 2020

Cancer patient puts her faith in UC Davis Health

Grace Parker's cancer had returned. COVID-19 was not going to stop her from having the surgery to remove it.


Although she sometimes feels as if she’s a “professional patient,” Grace Parker knows all about UC Davis Health. A long-time patient with a myriad of health issues including Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Parker’s faith in UC Davis Health and cancer surgeon Rick Bold meant she had no pause when scheduled for surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cancer surgery patient, Grace Parker, and her UC Davis Health surgeon, Rick Bold. Cancer surgery patient, Grace Parker, and her UC Davis Health surgeon, Rick Bold.

“I have had a lot of surgeries dating back to 1979. My condition causes my body to respond randomly, rather than predictably,” Parker said. “But thankfully, the care I have experienced at UC Davis is very consistent. I have come to know what to expect.”

Like so many other patients facing cancer surgery, the procedure already felt like a long time coming.

“This is my fourth cancer recurrence,” Parker said of her breast cancer. “It felt likes ages since my ultrasound. I would have been upset if I had to wait because cancer doesn’t. So, when Dr. Bold asked if I was available for surgery in April, I said ‘Heck yeah!’”

Bold helped prepare Grace for the operating room.

“I had explained to Grace that UC Davis Health was still performing essential cancer operations, though taking precautions to ensure patient and employee safety with regards to COVID-19," Bold said.

Parker arrived for her procedure the morning of April 13, in the middle of the pandemic. There was no hand shaking, but that was the only thing Parker initially noticed.

“It seemed normal to me. The atmosphere was not extra tense,” Parker said. “I felt very welcome. In fact, when I walked in, staff said, ‘You must be Grace.’”

She found out later that pre-op was a bit different as well, but Parker still knew she was in good hands.

“Everybody in pre-op had masks and gowns on, but that didn’t bother me. The team checked me a billion times to ensure I was the right person having the right surgery,” Parker quipped. “My pre-op nurse was just delightful, plus Dr. Bold has a giggle in his eyes that I could still see.”

The surgery was a success. Bold was able to get clear margins and there are no other signs of cancer recurrence anywhere else in her body. She has since had several follow ups, including a Radiation Oncology consult, a PET scan and post-op visit with Bold where both Parker and her surgeon were masked up. Another new addition to her professional patient experience, but one Parker was happy to oblige.

“It’s not as much fun to take pictures with masks on, but it’s the right thing to do,” said Parker.

Plus, she could still see the giggle in the doctor’s eyes “just like always.” With that, she felt right at home.


UC Davis Medical Center is a comprehensive academic medical center where clinical practice, teaching and research converge to advance human health. Centers of excellence include the National Cancer Institute-designated UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center; the region's only Level 1 pediatric and adult trauma centers; the UC Davis MIND Institute, devoted to finding treatments and cures for neurodevelopmental disorders; and the UC Davis Children's Hospital. The medical center serves a 33-county, 65,000-square-mile area that stretches north to the Oregon border and east to Nevada. It further extends its reach through the award-winning telemedicine program, which gives remote, medically underserved communities throughout California unprecedented access to specialty and subspecialty care. For more information, visit