Grateful Patient: Karen Clarke – Cancer Clinic

KarenClarkeIt’s been said that laughter is the best medicine, and Karen Clarke is pretty sure it’s what helped her navigate the world as a breast cancer patient.

With a network of support, especially from her sisters Stephanie and Diane, Karen was able to gather strength after a December diagnosis of an aggressive form of breast cancer. Karen is grateful for the care she has received at the Brant Community Healthcare System (BCHS).

Karen relayed what she said to her sisters, “This is going to be a journey and we’re all going to fight,” while sharing her story after receiving her final radiation treatment in September 2014.

She said she couldn’t have gotten through it without her sisters, all her siblings, friends and neighbours.

“Everybody has their piece of the puzzle for me. I’ve never felt so loved.”

Karen found a lump in her right breast during a self-examination. Her doctor ordered a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy to find out what they were dealing with and discovered that because of the type of cancer, a mastectomy was the only option. Surgery was performed January 22, 2014.

Her physician believed Karen was cancer-free after the surgery, but chemotherapy and radiation were recommended by Dr. Bryan Lee, oncologist at the Brant Community Cancer Clinic at the Brantford General as what Karen called “an insurance policy.”

“My biggest fear was always having cancer.”

In the midst of her treatment, Karen did her best to stay upbeat. Her sisters attended her chemotherapy infusion appointments with her at our local Brant Community Cancer Clinic. The three of them often had others around them laughing at their silly jokes and antics as they passed the time.

“I know it sounds weird, but I looked forward to going (for chemotherapy),” Karen said.

Despite what she was going through, Karen enjoyed her experience at BCHS.

“I tell you, you can’t get any better treatment than at the Brantford General.”

She said the medical staff at the Brant Community Cancer Clinic supported her decisions and kept her well informed.

“Dr. Lee never made me feel like anything was a stupid question.”

Now that her treatment is complete, Karen will have regular follow-up appointments, but she’s feeling good.

“I am not as afraid of cancer as I used to be,” she said. “Part of me is glad I had the chance to go through it. I don’t want to go through it again, but I appreciate things differently.”

In August 2011, the Brant Community Cancer Clinic, part of the Brant Community Healthcare System, celebrated an expansion to our cancer care program. The expansion of our services included the addition of a full time Medical Oncologist (Dr. Bryan Lee), helping the BCHS to respond and serve the increase in cancer care patients in our community.

Last year, the BCHS Cancer Clinic treated more than 3,000 patients from our area. Currently, cancer care at the BCHS includes a range of consult visits for patients, systemic therapy and chemotherapy for breast, lung, colorectal and prostate cancers. We now offer consult visits and follow-up for radiation therapy patients.

Karen’s story is a part of the Brant Community Healthcare System Foundation’s 12 Days of Giving Campaign.

The equipment supported by donor dollars isn’t all ‘nice to have’ — it is critical, much-needed medical equipment required to perform daily diagnostics and care for patients.

As Karen has learned first-hand, when crisis or illness impacts you or a loved one, the Brant Community Healthcare System is here to offer you exceptional healthcare in your time of need. Now is the time to make a difference, please consider making a gift TODAY that is meaningful to you, and support a strong healthcare system for our community.

Your involvement, through a donation of any size, will allow the BCHS Foundation to purchase patient equipment not funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, provide essential resources to maintain the exceptional level of compassionate patient care, and invest in new and innovative technology.

To make a donation, click here or call 519-751-5510

This holiday season, give a gift that could save a life and be a part of the Brant Community Healthcare System Foundation’s 12 Days of Giving Campaign.