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Grateful patient praises exceptional Beacon Cancer Care team: “They saved my life”

In late April 2023, Christine Carper awoke one night in excruciating pain. As she reached for her right breast, she discovered a lump the size of a golf ball.

Fear and uncertainty washed over her, and she immediately feared the worst. This wasn’t Christine’s first battle with cancer; seven years prior, she had faced a different type of cancer and emerged victorious.

Now, she was preparing to face the fight of her life once again.

Christine visited her Beacon family doctor Dr. Jessica Puckett, who confirmed Christine’s worst fears.

Within a few days, Christine visited the Elkhart General Hospital Breast Center, where Dr. Javed Malik, her oncologist, began the diagnostic process. A biopsy confirmed the presence of breast cancer, and Christine remembers “instant tears “while meeting with her surgeon.

“People die every day of cancer,” Christine remembers thinking, overwhelmed by the unknown.

Embarking on her treatment journey

Christine’s treatment journey was rigorous.

Dr. Jessica Puckett

Starting in June, she began chemotherapy that lasted until November. The first session, held at the Three Rivers Specialty Clinic, was particularly daunting, lasting around seven hours.

“The nurses were incredible,” Christine recalls. “They talked me through every step, making a frightening experience more manageable.”

Christine continued her weekly chemotherapy sessions in July and August. It was a tiresome routine, filled with dark days and bouts of nausea. Despite the physical and emotional toll, shepressed on, supported by her family and the compassionate care of the Beacon cancer team.

In January 2024, after months of chemotherapy, Christine underwent surgery to remove the cancerous breast tissue. The procedure was extensive, involving the removal of two lymph nodes and a mastectomy.

The sight of the surgical wound was shocking, but Christine remained resilient. “Deep down, it affected me, but I didn’t let it show,” she said.

Post-surgery, Christine faced challenges with healing, requiring additional surgery in February and weekly visits to the wound clinic throughout March. Despite these setbacks, she remained focused on recovery.

Starting a new chapter

April marked the beginning of Christine’s immunotherapy, a precautionary measure to prevent the cancer from returning. Every third week, she visited the clinic for these treatments, determined to leave no stone unturned in her fight against cancer.

Dr. Javed Malik

Throughout her journey, Christine has been an advocate for early detection.

“Get your mammograms and colonoscopies. They could save your life,” she urges others.

Her experience has also highlighted the importance of compassionate care. “The doctors and nurses at Beacon were wonderful. They treated me with kindness and respect, answering all my questions and making me feel understood.”

Now 66 years old, Christine is looking forward to the future.

Although she missed family vacations to Florida and Nashville in recent years due to her treatment, she cherishes the moments she can now enjoy. A highlight was attending a Kid Rock concert in Detroit, a birthday gift from her son, which brought immense joy and a sense of normalcy back into her life.

(Photo provided) Christine documents her cancer journey with this selfie taken after surgery.

Christine is considering a prosthetic breast, but for now, she’s focusing on what truly matters: her health and her loved ones. “If I were younger, maybe I’d get one,” she muses. “But right now, I’m just grateful to be here, to be with my family.”

Christine’s journey is a testament to her strength, resilience, and the exceptional care provided by Beacon Health System. Her story is a powerful reminder of the importance of early detection, the value of compassionate care, and the unwavering human spirit.

“Through it all, I’ve learned that every day is a gift,” Christine reflects. “You have to hold on to hope, lean on those who love you, and trust in the incredible care and support of people like those at Beacon Health System. They saved my life, and for that, I am forever grateful.”

Beacon Cancer Care

Getting the care you need at a critical time should be easy. From diagnosis through treatment and rehabilitation to ongoing care, we deliver complete cancer care close to home. Beacon Cancer Care is recognized by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer for the highest quality cancer care. Call us and our team will guide you on this journey. We never give up.

About Heidi Prescott

Passionate about writing her whole life, Heidi Prescott joined Beacon Health System in 2015 and currently serves as Senior Media Relations Strategist. A former newspaper journalist who has experience in TV, radio, magazines and social media, Heidi loves storytelling, photography and spending time in nature.