“When you hear cancer, you automatically think death. And I was not ready to die.”
Cherise Butler recalls feeling overwhelmed after being diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2020. She first spoke with a surgeon about breast removal options but was hesitant to undergo a mastectomy. She then reached out to Dr. Daniel LaVie, medical oncologist at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, to talk through alternatives.
“I was so nervous and scared.” Cherise knew she wanted to try something other than surgery and had a long list of questions when she met with Dr. LaVie for the first time. He answered each one and explained everything she needed to feel comfortable.
“I told him I wanted to remain cute,” she laughs. “He put a plan together based on my wishes. Any questions or challenges I was dealing with, Dr. LaVie was there to help me.”
Specialized Cancer Care Unique To Individual Diagnoses
Cherise began chemotherapy in March 2020 followed by radiation therapy. She also had a lumpectomy to remove a small portion of the affected area. When chemotherapy started taking a toll on her physically, Cherise wanted to stop treatments completely.
“I received very specialized care.” Cherise says the chemotherapy was tolerable in the beginning until all of a sudden, she started feeling worse with each treatment. After telling Dr. LaVie how she had been feeling, he talked through options with her.
Together they agreed on a change that allowed Cherise to feel comfortable moving forward with treatments. “My plan changed because I told him the effect it was having on me,” she says. “He really listened to my concerns. I felt as if I was the only patient there.”
Cherise admits she can be tough on people sometimes, but Dr. LaVie was always compassionate and kind. “I’m a handful,” she laughs. “Dr. LaVie remained professional and never got frustrated. He was patient with me and that meant a lot.”
Convenient Access to the Highest Quality Cancer Care
“I’m blessed to have a facility right here close to home that allows me to receive excellent care from an excellent staff,” Cherise says. Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center is committed to providing the highest standard of care and offering the most up-to-date, leading edge treatment technologies in the nation.
“Dr. LaVie was a lifesaver.” Cherise is thankful the team was able to cater to her original desire to avoid breast removal. She describes her interactions with Dr. LaVie and the Cancer Center team as calm, caring and genuine.
Every person she encountered on her visits was polite and kind. “If I had any bad days, I would report them,” Cherise said. “My experiences were awesome, and I can’t talk about it enough.”
Cherise has finished treatments and will continue to follow up with Dr. LaVie for the next few years. She is enjoying life and says she is grateful Dr LaVie helped keep her from stopping treatments. She encourages others going through similar battles to ask questions and not give up.
“It’s your life,” Cherise says. “Ask questions and find something to fight for.”
Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center provides collaborative, comprehensive cancer services following its mission to improve survivorship and lessen the burden of cancer. Learn more at www.marybird.org.