Surviving cancer is a difficult journey for all patients. Remaining positive
in the face of uncertainty when your health is on the line is challenging,
but Lillian Clarke refuses to let cancer bring her down. Her upbeat outlook
on life remains strong despite a seven-year journey through breast, kidney
and brain cancer.
“God has lifted me up and carried me all the way,” Clarke says.
“For me, living life is just as important as beating cancer, so
having treatment close to home was extraordinary. I never felt like a
‘cancer patient.’ I went to my appointments then carried on
with the rest of my day.”
The Sea Island resident is especially appreciative of having Southeast
Georgia Health System so close to home because of her prior experience
commuting out of town for treatment. Several years ago, she traveled to
Atlanta for surgery. “Driving to Atlanta made an already difficult
experience even more difficult,” Clarke says. Since then, the Health
System has delivered Clarke’s treatments and follow-up care close to home.
An Easy Experience During a Difficult Time
Throughout her early cancer journey battling breast and kidney cancer
at the Health System, Clarke received radiation treatments and immunotherapy
at their Infusion Care Center and was seen regularly by
Timothy A. Jamieson, M.D., Ph.D., board-certified radiation oncologist and medical director of
CyberKnife Services. When her kidney cancer metastasized to her brain, however, Clarke
was relieved to discover that she was a perfect candidate for the
CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System.
Unlike traditional cancer treatment,
CyberKnife uses nonsurgical technology to deliver high dose radiation to tumors.
The technology’s pinpoint accuracy makes it especially beneficial
for patients with complex or inoperable tumors because CyberKnife targets
only the tumor, leaving the healthy brain tissue surrounding the tumor
“For Lillian, CyberKnife was especially beneficial,” says Jamieson.
“We targeted her brain tumors in several short sessions, producing
amazing results without impacting her daily routine or inducing any unpleasant
side-effects, such as hair loss, headaches or cognitive issues. Lillian
is the same Lillian as always, enjoying life to the fullest.”
In addition to brain tumors, CyberKnife also treats a variety of tumors
throughout the body, including prostate, lung, pancreatic, colon, liver,
ovarian, uterine, some breast cancers, and more.
“We’re so blessed to have such innovative treatment here in
our small community,” Clarke says. “After half a decade fighting
cancer, I have to say that CyberKnife is the coolest thing in the world:
a very easy experience with no side effects. I’d show up for my
appointment and be done within a few minutes! Not to mention that Dr.
Jamieson is a God-send. He’s been with me every step of the way.
With him as my doctor, I know I’m in good hands.”
Clarke’s praise extends to other Health System staff, too, including
the nurses and radiation therapists.
“All of the doctors and nurses are wonderful,” says Clarke.
“I couldn’t have had better care.”
Clarke is a living miracle: not only has she survived breast, kidney and
brain cancer, she’s done so with grace, positivity and with her
spirit intact. Throughout her treatment, she remained actively involved
with family, friends, and community volunteerism. Eventually, she hopes
to resume her seven-mile walking routine as well.
“I had a lot of years pounding the pavement, and although I haven’t
quite retained the stamina of my youth, treatment for brain cancer hasn’t
prevented me from living life,” Clarke says. “I still go grocery
shopping and carry out my daily routine. Most importantly, I still enjoy
my days at the beach, which I love. I’m just blessed to be here.”
To make an appointment at the
Southeast Georgia Health System Cancer Care Center, call 912-466-5100.