Childhood cancer survivor now a doctor at hospital that saved her life

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Monday, March 27, 2023
Childhood cancer survivor now a doctor at hospital that saved her life
FROM PATIENT TO DOCTOR: This childhood cancer survivor is now changing lives at the same hospital that helped her survive.

HOUSTON, Texas -- A resident physician at Texas Children's Hospital is coming full circle, from patient to doctor.

At 15, Dr. Courtney Pette was diagnosed with cancer after doctors found an inoperable tumor behind her heart.

"After running all the tests and getting the biopsy, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma," said Dr. Pette. "I was nervous after hearing I had cancer, but I still feel like I was more nervous just for knowing that my family was nervous. I was feeling for them, and I didn't want them to be scared and upset, because I knew that we would make it through."

She says the care she received at Texas Children's Hospital helped shape her dream of becoming a pediatric oncologist herself.

"I honestly don't remember her ever crying," said Dr. Zoann Dreyer, pediatric hematology-oncology specialist with Texas Children's Hospital. "I remember her talking to me from the very beginning that she really wanted to be a doctor. And when she was well enough, she kind of morphed that into wanting to be a pediatric oncologist. But she went through four months of really intensive chemotherapy and then radiation therapy, and yet when she was strong enough, she was still playing tennis."

Dr. Pette eventually went into remission, but her time at Texas Children's inspired her to go to medical school. She attended Baylor of Medicine and is now completing her residency at Texas Children's alongside Dr. Dreyer, the same doctor who once treated her.

"I would hope that, knowing that my patients know I also went through cancer and went through the treatment gives them some hope," said Dr. Pette. "But I'd also like to think that they can at least look towards the future and look past the hump that they're going through and see that light at the end of the tunnel."

Click on the video above to see Dr. Pette's incredible journey from patient to doctor.