The way Felicia sees it, her cancer journey wasn’t a marathon. It wasn’t even just one race. Instead, it was a series of short courses, each with its own finish line.
And proton therapy was her final finish line. The one that meant the most.
“I took it in chunks. I looked at everything as a finish line,” she says. “Like going through chemo. Just get to that finish line. And proton therapy is my last finish line, so I’m excited!”
The road to that final finish line included mountains of research. She chose to be her own health advocate and made sure she knew each and every one of her treatment options. Ultimately, she took a path that led her to Provision CARES Proton Therapy.
“I still have a lot of life ahead of me. I’ve got things I want to do. Proton therapy makes me feel like my cancer is truly out of me and I’m done. Let’s go on with life. Let’s move forward!”
Like many breast cancer patients, Felicia chose a treatment plan that included multiple forms of treatment. Chemotherapy and surgery came first – a chance for doctors to get the bulk of the cancer out of her body. Those would be followed by radiation therapy, which is meant to finish the job by making sure every last remnant of the cancer is destroyed.
However, when radiation therapy is included as part of a breast cancer treatment plan, the patient has a decision to make – traditional radiation or proton therapy?
For breast cancer patients, especially left-sided, that depth control is of utmost importance. Traditional radiation uses x-rays that deposit excess radiation before and after the targeted tumor.
On the other hand, as its name suggests, proton therapy uses protons, heavier particles that are more easily controlled than x-rays. Proton therapy deposits most of the radiation at the tumor without continuing beyond the targeted area. This precise depth control lowers the risk of damage to healthy cells and vital organs, such as the heart and lungs.
Felicia says that was the clincher. “I’m young. I still have a lot of life ahead of me, so I didn’t want to cause any more damage, especially with my heart being there. So that really made me choose proton therapy.”
Provision CARES Proton Therapy prides itself on its Culture of Care, and Felicia says that culture was evident throughout her time at the proton center.
“I know it sounds cheesy, but even the road is called Provision Cares Way! And it’s true. They really do care. I really do feel that way.”
From the hospitality team at the front desk, who always greeted her with a friendly smile, to the therapy team, who let her pick out her own music during treatment, Felicia says she could feel the Culture of Care.
“There’s nothing like going to a doctor’s office where they make you feel rushed, and it feels like a meat market. I didn’t feel that way at Provision. My doctor really just listened to me and took his time,” she remembers. “And that made me more confident about choosing Provision.”
And now, after wrapping up her last treatment and crossing the final finish line of her cancer journey, Felicia is sharing her story in hopes of helping someone else find their path to proton therapy.
“If this can help somebody, then I want to do it,” she says, offering one last important bit of advice, “Be your own advocate. That’s important. And don’t give up. Do what you feel is right for you, in your heart.”