After 25 years of consistently going in for her annual mammogram, Jean had never received dreaded news – even if her sister’s breast cancer diagnosis 20 years before had definitely put the possibility on her radar. But then, between one breast cancer screening and the next, a three centimeter tumor had formed. All of a sudden Jean found herself facing a biopsy, then surgery, and then radiation treatment.
Upon first hearing the news, “I had a real meltdown,” she recalled. “But after I got through that first day, I turned it over to God, and I think I’ve done pretty good at leaving it with Him.”
Instead of undergoing traditional radiation therapy, Jean was referred to Provision CARES Proton Therapy by her surgeon, Dr. George Webber, at the Knoxville Comprehensive Breast Center. As an asthma sufferer, the treatment would help spare her lungs from damage caused by traditional radiation, which is not as precise as proton therapy.
She and her husband, Thomas, left their home in Pikeville, Tennessee, and rented a small house near Provision while Jean received proton therapy treatment for four weeks. Her daughter, Tina, joined them for much of that time, and the couple’s two grandsons spent fall break seeing the sights in the area.
“I told my mom, this is not her journey alone,” said Tina.
For them, it was all about faith and family. Her daughter, along with her church family and her adopted Provision family, supported Jean through her cancer journey. She especially appreciated the care provided by Provision staff, specifically pointing out the Patient Experience department, her social worker, and the hospitality coordinators at the front desk.
“I was very fortunate to get treatment here,” said Jean. “I feel God’s blessed me and I give Him all the praise for all the blessings He’s given me.”
During their month-long stay, the family made Provision and the surrounding area their home away from home. They got acquainted with a neighbor, who brought food over, took them on a tour of the area, and gave Thomas the job of trimming his hedges when he complained about missing the daily work on his small farm back home.
They also managed to have some fun along the way. Jean and Tina insisted Thomas tag along to some nearby outlet malls. During a trip to the zoo, Jean even rode on a camel with her grandson.
“The only thing about that is that it was too short of a ride,” Jean quipped.