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In Memoriam

Remembering Christie Perkins

August 2018 Vol 4 No 4
Cheryl Bellomo, MSN, RN, OCN, HON-ONN-CG
Oncology Nurse Navigator
Intermountain-Southwest Cancer Center
Cedar City Hospital
Cedar City, UT
Christie Perkins

Christie Perkins

In early May I lost a dear friend, Christie Perkins, to her battle with breast cancer. In April 2015, CONQUER magazine published Christie’s article, “Cancer Gift Cards,” in which she described her experience after her diagnosis of invasive ductal breast cancer in May 2013. She lived in Enoch, Utah, with her husband and 4 boys.

Inspiration to All

Christie was very proud of her article. I remember the day I first saw her article in print. I was attending the ONS Congress, and they were handing out the magazine to the attendees. I called her to let her know that 4,000 nurses were seeing her article. She started screaming on the phone with excitement.

Christie was an avid reader of non-fiction, and loved to write. She had always dreamed of being a writer. After her article appeared in CONQUER, she started a blog, “howperkyworks.com,” where she testified of God’s love, miracles, and countless tender mercies through her cancer journey.

Christie was truly an amazing inspiration and a blessing to all who knew her. Her family had her CONQUER article on display during her viewing. Christie was an incredible example of faith, courage, and strength. She taught all those around her to smile and enjoy the journey, to see the good, even during the difficult trials and challenges.

Her nickname was Perky, because she always was. Her favorite color was orange, and she loved to play basketball with her neighborhood ladies, which they called “Old Ladies Basketball.”

Christie’s obituary was published in The Spectrum & Daily News. It started this way: “Our beautiful mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend Christie Lynn Paxton Perkins, 39, passed away on Thursday, April 26, 2018, in her home, surrounded by her loving family in Enoch, Iron County, Utah, after a courageous and inspiring battle with cancer...Christie loved life and everyone in it. She genuinely loved everyone she met, and they loved her.”

“Cancer Gift Cards”

Christie wrote in her article, “For as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be 88 years old when I grew up. The reality of what might not be, hit me. The sudden uncertainty caused my wall of tears to break.

Immediately, my nurse navigator Cheryl was at my knee. ‘I was going to be so strong,’ I said. The only sparkle I carried now was the reflection of a soggy face. Cheryl shook her head and said, ‘You don’t have to be strong, especially here in this room. This is reality.’ She left and returned with a cantaloupe orange blanket. In the corner was stitched a perfect condolence, ‘faith.’ Yes, that was it; life wouldn’t be left to chance. There was no way, I was going to live life with faith instead, faith that each day was a gift, and it was going to be jam packed with meaningful moments.

My perspective on life was a gift of cancer I’ll never forget. And just like my first day at the chemo dumping grounds, I came to realize that the hardest thing in life gave me some amazing gifts. I cherish my cancer gift cards. Each gift was purchased with a tear, possibly the precursor to anything grand.”

Read about Christie’s cancer gift cards.

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