Patient and family testimonies


I learned about Berrien County Cancer Service from my oncologist.  He mentioned to me that nurses from there would be able to come to my house to draw blood if I needed them.  At the time, I was able to get out yet for chemotherapy and tests and appointments and I presumed it would stay that way.  I was in for a rather rude awaking!

The entire set of sequences set the stage for my own surprise at the needs I would have.  My brother had colon cancer – in fact, by the time it was discovered, it had already metastasized to his liver and lungs.  He was 56 when he passed away but he had distinct disadvantages he was a quadriplegic and he did not have early testing to discover the fact that he had cancer.  I had signs of it but I thought – “I’m okay” yet I had symptoms, followed by a colonoscopy and I learned that very day it looked like cancer, colon cancer.  I did then prepare for the time when test results were confirmed I did not want to tell my daughter and grandson with whom I lived until I knew the results.  It seemed a long time to keep the secret.  Soon it was not necessary as colon cancer was confirmed, Stage II colon cancer.  A surgery date was set and it was then discovered that it was Stage III.  Recovering at home it became obvious that none of what happened was not going to be as easy as I had hoped it would be.  I suffered a TIA, or mini stroke, and had to spend a few days in the hospital and then come home to resume my recovery.  Up to that point I continued to go to Sunday School, Church, and Bible Study and chemotherapy, but it was becoming more difficult to get out.  I had a reaction to the chemo and again I presumed I would just be put on another but was told that would not be happening but I continued to take oral medication for the cancer but gave up getting out because of pain and fatigue.  It was then I requested help from Berrien County Cancer Services.  Soon, a nurse was stopping by to draw blood for my blood tests and check to see if I had any need for service items, such as wheelchair, shower chair, etc.

To me they were a beacon of light when things got a bit tough.  And, let’s be honest, Cancer is TOUGH.  There are days – or merely moments that you are transported to BC – (Before Cancer) at the onset, I told the Nurses I’d rather laugh than cry – and I still feel that way.  But, there is no shame in emotions overcoming our journey.  The Nurses have afforded me the privilege to do either.  I can share a story, a laugh or even a few tears and know that they care enough about my physical and emotional well-being that they allowed me those moments and possibly even join in!

I thank them for all they have been and done for me and I am pleased to say that they have given me a gift.  The gift of care.  A genuine and very appreciated gift of caring and I don’t know what I would have done without their expert care and guidance on the journey of my colon cancer.  Thank you All for being Special Care Givers!   Cheryl A. Ponder


I am so very grateful for the 14 years of excellent medical care compassion the nurses of Berrien County Cancer Service have shown me. They have helped me through 3 surgeries and 3 radiations. They always treat me with respect and really listen to any medical concerns.  I am so very grateful for the nurses.  M. P.

 
Hi! My name is Cathy.  Almost three years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I went to Lakeland Hospital in Niles.  There they set me up with Berrien County Cancer Services to come to my house to change my bandage every day for a week.  Everyone that came to my house was so nice and helpful.  They checked my incision and the tube to make sure everything looked good and changed the bandage.  One day I wasn’t feeling well and they took extra care of me and told me to call them if I needed them and they would be right over!!  I feel because of them and the care they took of me I did not get an infection and everything went very smoothly!   C. H.

 
I just want to say how much your staff and organization are appreciated for all that you do.  In the not so distant past, I had to have cancer surgery and also had to have prophylactic surgery after.  The BCCS nurse came out to my house almost every day to help me; I don’t know what I would’ve done without her.  She helped me get through one of the most difficult times of my life.  She was not only qualified to help me medically, but was also understanding and caring when I needed it most. I can’t say enough wonderful things about her and your organization. I’ve also had the opportunity to borrow medical equipment, for myself and others – what a great service.  It’s a blessing for those who can’t afford to purchase these things.  All of these services you offer, and the empathy you show, are beyond what one would expect – and on top of that, never to be charged a penny!  My words to those in the community are – if you’re able – to please make a donation to BCCS, to “PENNIES FOR PATIENTS”, or to our local United Way.  It would be much appreciated, and BCCS can continue to do the wonderful work they’ve done for so many years.  We are so fortunate to have them!  I’m certain that I’m speaking for everyone whom they’ve helped over the years, when I express our gratitude with a big, fat, emphatic THANK YOU!!! K. S.
 

My mother was in need of having blood drawn monthly for a blood condition. She also has M.S. which makes driving a little tough on her during the winter months. A nurse from BCCS comes to her home monthly to draw blood so she does not have to leave home. Mom was diagnosed with cancer in July of 2013 and has received wonderful care from a variety of sources but the BCCS nurse is always there to check on Mom and does so to this day. She is an Angel! In February 2013 on my 48th birthday I was also diagnosed with cancer. My insurance would not pay for a wig. Mom and I visited BCCS and we were greeted by a caring staff that let me choose a wig of my choice along with scarves and hats at no cost. I also had trouble standing in the shower during chemotherapy and they also offered me a swivel stool so I could sit down. I did not expect that kind of generosity and what a blessing to have this service so close to home. When life gets rough there is always someone around the corner to lend a helping hand. Please be generous, volunteer your time and give back to such a wonderful organization because someday you may need their services. Many thank-you’s BCCS for all that you do!  With Gratitude, L.M.