I Beat Cancer with Faith, Friends and Family

January 24, 2017 | Express Scripts

In my role with Accredo (Express Scripts’ specialty pharmacy), I manage a team that helps cancer patients get access to their medications. A big part of this job revolves around understanding the fear, apprehension and stress patients experience when reaching out to us. I have a special connection to these patients, because I am a breast cancer survivor.

A Day I’ll Never Forget

On December 18, 2007, I found a lump in my left breast. I freaked out. After seeing both my primary care physician and my OB/GYN, I had a mammogram and an ultrasound to determine if the lump was just a cyst or something more serious. Since neither test showed anything abnormal, I was referred to a breast specialist for a biopsy. My husband Mike and I had to wait for the results, but the specialist told us to be prepared that it may be cancer.

Mike and I drove around for what seemed like hours that day trying to comprehend what we had been told. At the time, my daughters were seven and ten, and I was terrified I might not get to see them grow up.

The next day, while at work, I got a call around noon. It was then I learned I had cancer. I was absolutely shocked and at a loss. A work friend saw me crying and helped me into a conference room.  Upon hearing the news, my manager, along with another work friend, drove me home.

That Saturday, Mike and I were trying to wrap our minds around what needed to be done. I was so overwhelmed. I got lost driving my daughter to a birthday party and both of us ended up in tears. We found the party, but I realized I just didn’t feel like myself. It all felt so odd ― even with the cancer diagnosis, life was still going on around me. In that moment, I decided I was still the same person I had been and the diagnosis was not going to define me. We would fight this, and we would win!

Fighting Back

Mike and I met with surgeons and oncologists to determine how to proceed. I was scheduled to go on medical leave on January 18, have a left-side mastectomy on the 25th, and start chemotherapy three weeks later. The game plan included four rounds of chemo with no radiation. Needless to say, the process was overwhelming, and my girls were scared.

On the day I was scheduled to start medical leave, my mother-in-law passed away suddenly. This shocked Mike and I to the core and we immediately went to my father-in-law’s aide. Little did I know, my colleagues, who are like my second family, had planned a surprise to celebrate my last day at work for a while.

When Mike and I went to the office later that afternoon – after things were settled with his family – words cannot adequately express what we walked into. Colleagues lined the walkway giving us hugs, expressing their condolences and wishing me well. As we made our way down the walk, we were ushered into the breakroom where more coworkers were waiting to shower us with baskets of goodies. We were simply shocked by the outpouring of love for us and so truly blessed!

That day only helped confirm I was still the same person I was prior to my diagnosis, and with all the love and support around me, I was going be OK and able to return to work.

Over the next six months, loved ones supported us every step of the way. When I went back to work the first week of July, I was thrilled to return to my team – who had taken care of everything for me while I was gone.

A Newfound Understanding

Since beating cancer, I have been able to minister to so many women and give them encouragement during their battles. At work, I am even more passionate about Accredo’s mission because I have a true understanding of how a day in the life of someone on chemo or dealing with cancer looks. I try to ensure my team understands those feelings and knows what they do daily truly impacts patient’s lives.

When I hear my team interact with cancer patients, I am filled with pride for how well they listen to the patient’s needs and do a small part to provide hope and comfort.

Though this chapter of my life has been a filled with its fair share of challenges, it has given me a new appreciation of the work I do at Accredo and a reminder of how many people I have supporting me.  Through it all, I beat cancer with the help of my faith, friends and family.

Diane is a Supervisor, Eligibility working in Accredo’s Specialty Oncology division.

Interested in exploring opportunities to be part of our team? Visit careers.express-scripts.com to learn more and search our jobs.

« Making a Difference in Pharmacy – How I Honor My Brother’s Legacy| My Disability Won’t Keep Me Down »

Making a Difference in Pharmacy – How I Honor My Brother’s Legacy

January 18, 2017 | Express Scripts

My younger brother, Chad, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of four, and the diagnosis forever changed my family – especially me. For those who may be unfamiliar, Type 1 diabetes is a life-threatening autoimmune disease. There is no way to prevent it and currently, there is no cure.

As a first-grader, I was trained by a registered nurse on how to give injections, manage hypoglycemic events and take the best possible care of my little brother. I did so daily thereafter.

In college, I chose to study pharmacy.  Upon graduation, I strived to be the best pharmacist I could be, while working with specialists to try to find a cure for diabetes. I went on to become a diabetic educator and a board certified geriatric pharmacist. I owe who I became solely to Chad.

Through accomplishments in his own life, Chad taught me how to face challenges, get back up when life knocks me down, never take no for an answer and refuse to live life by a diagnosis code. He was a star athlete, even though his doctors advised him not to play sports. I watched him letter as a freshman at The Ohio State University and graduate top in his college class in actuarial science. Chad earned his MBA all the while working full time for JP Morgan Chase for nearly two decades.

Recently, I lost my brother. While the loss has been devastating, it has only further motivated me to transition my passion into a purpose that will honor Chad and his legacy. I have been blessed to accomplish the depth of training that enabled me to best care for Chad all those years. I have been lucky to work for a company for more than 21 years that aligns with my passion for patient safety and improved outcomes, while supporting diabetes care.

Today, Express Scripts is improving diabetic patient outcomes through the Diabetes Therapeutic Resource Center, Diabetes Remote Monitoring and the Diabetes Care Value Program. In my current role here, I offer these solutions to clients to help manage costs and improve care for their diabetic members, like Chad.

In the future, in addition to managing the disease, we must continue to fund diabetes research with hopes to one day find a cure. My family and I, as well as Express Scripts, are big supporters of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. I encourage you to learn more about their efforts in creating a world without Type 1 diabetes.

I miss Chad every day, but I honor his legacy by doing what I can to make a difference. I’m a better person, and pharmacist, because of him.

Want to explore how you can pursue your passion and make a difference, like Amy? Visit our career site for a list of our open positions.

Amy is a Senior Clinical Account Executive supporting the Health Plan Division.


« 600,000 ‘Thank Yous’ Sent in 2016!| I Beat Cancer with Faith, Friends and Family »

600,000 ‘Thank Yous’ Sent in 2016!

January 12, 2017 | Express Scripts

Throughout the past year, more than ever before, employees experienced the warm feeling of receiving a thank you from a colleague for a job well done. In fact, in 2016, more than 600,000 accolades were sent using our employee recognition program, Recognition Rx.  (Read more about this here).

By comparison, in 2015, Recognition Rx was used about 350,000 times. That means program use went up by more than 70%.

Why the Surge?

Part of Recognition Rx’s newfound popularity had to do with new ways employees were able to share recognition. Launch of a new mobile app made the platform more accessible and Recognition Rx was also launched for the first time in Europe — which let employees send recognition to colleagues across the globe.

“One of the ways we made recognition so accessible is that we made it fun,” said Jane Loe, senior director, Employee Compensation. “By making it easy to use and hosting contests with prizes for using the system, we equated recognition not just with gratitude but with joy.”

Amie Sizemore, HR compensation analyst, also noticed dramatic changes in both the system’s use and the overall feel of recognition at the company.

“Our business is constantly evolving, but one thing that never changes is the ability for us to recognize our peers for a job well done,” Amie said. “We are constantly thinking of ways to make recognition easier, faster and more meaningful in our diverse work environments, and the data shows that colleagues are taking advantage of the new technology.”

Not Done Yet

While the Recognition Rx program has seen tremendous growth and new developments in 2016, the Recognition team says there’s even more in store in 2017, including employee contests, new program features and more.

The Recognition Rx program is just one of the perks of working here! See what else we offer.

« Thriving with Thrive: Simple Changes Equal Big Health Results| Making a Difference in Pharmacy – How I Honor My Brother’s Legacy »

Thriving with Thrive: Simple Changes Equal Big Health Results

January 10, 2017 | Express Scripts

When I signed up for Thrive, Express Scripts’ well-being program, I was simply looking for tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. At that time, I had no idea that I would become a quasi-champion of the overall program. But when you lose 60 pounds in 18 months with no drugs, no surgery and no exercise, I guess you’re bound to get a little attention.

I signed up for Thrive a year and a half after I had my second child. I decided that it was time to take my body back. My knees hurt when I climbed stairs, and my doctor told me the pain might go away completely if I dropped some weight. So I did some research and made some critical diet changes.

It took a while for me to stick to healthy patterns. I had to make some small sacrifices, like french fries and ranch dressing ― two of my all-time favorite things. Instead, I would go out to a restaurant and have a chicken breast with steamed vegetables and a glass of water.

I also found unique ways of motivating myself to stay with the Thrive program. I ordered a dress online that I wanted to wear for Christmas. When I tried it on, it didn’t fit, so I hung it up on the wall and told myself, “I’m going to lose enough weight to wear this dress on Christmas.” And I did!

For people who want to do what I did, I have just a few points of advice:

    • Make simple changes, be patient and determined.
    • Follow Facebook groups that send you low-carb recipes, and don’t ease off once you’ve reached your goal.
    • Sign up for your company’s wellness portal to measure your journey with trackable numbers. Also, if your company’s program has weekly/monthly challenges, like mine, sign up!
    • Get routine physicals.

Recently, I went to Six Flags with some friends and family. I noticed my husband and friend were out of breath walking up a hill, which was shocking because I felt completely fine. This was an amazing feeling ― better than any french fry I’ve ever tasted.

Feeling motivated by Emily’s story? Visit our career site
for more information on our well-being incentives.

Emily is a Senior Manager at Express Scripts, supporting the Information Technology team.

« Voice of the Employee: Culture Change in Action| 600,000 ‘Thank Yous’ Sent in 2016! »

Voice of the Employee: Culture Change in Action

January 8, 2017 | Express Scripts

Last year, my colleagues in Sales & Account Management shared feedback in our annual employee engagement survey requesting more opportunities to connect with colleagues, provide feedback to leadership and boost recognition among the team. One of the ways our feedback was addressed was by creation of a Voice of the Employee (VOE) committee.

A VOE committee is a group sponsored by department leaders and led by employees with a mission to improve their team’s work environment and overall employee engagement. It provides an opportunity for leaders to hear directly from employees and for employees to initiate or participate in solutions to drive engagement.

I’m the captain of one of six committees that make up the much larger VOE. To kick off our committee’s efforts, we asked team members what would make their lives and jobs better. The answers we received included implementing a mentor and recognition program, as well as providing team-building opportunities. In response to the feedback, we created a team leadership award, onsite and virtual team-building events (like creating care boxes for the community), wellness events (like walking challenges), and a forum to share leadership journey stories, to name a few.

For me personally, the best part of the VOE effort is the simple and organic process through which we are able to gather feedback and react to the specific needs of employees.

VOEs allow people to find their voices and work cross-functionally to make our company a better place to work. Our VOE represents culture change in action, and a small group of employees made it happen.

Ready to let your voice be heard? Check out our open positions!

Joanne is a Senior Director at Express Scripts, supporting Government Programs Shared Services within Sales & Account Management.

« Everything Happens in Franklin Lakes| Thriving with Thrive: Simple Changes Equal Big Health Results »