Feb 02, 2013 - 11:55 am
I met with my most wonderful doctor this past week. Latest scan results in. All clear. That now makes 3 years and 11 months in remission since my February 2009 colon resection and liver resection. I told her that I could kiss her! I told her I would consider myself 4 years in remission and she said it was close enough. Scan schedule just changed from once every 4 months to now every 6 months. She did say that if my next scan was clear we could discuss removing my HAI pump but I am in no hurry to do so.
A recap of my diagnosis is that my colon cancer was discovered during a c-section for my youngest daughter. An attending physician was "feeling around" beneath my uterus after the baby was removed. The doctor felt a suspicious lymph node and an oncological surgeon was called in to take a biopsy. I laid there for about 2 hours as we waited for him and then while they did a quick pathology and asked for another sample. Very nerve-wracking. Blood tests revealed a CEA of almost 300 and a CT and colonscopy exactly one week later confirmed adenocarcinoma with spread to the liver. The first oncologist I consulted with told me I could expect 22-24 months until I would succumb. We had already setup an apppointment with Dr. Wonderful at MSK who was a colleague of my husband's cousin. This first doctor told us we could consult with Dr. Wonderful but basically she was a dinosaur and had archaic methodology. We kept our appointment at MSK regardless of what he said.
At my first meeting with Dr. Wonderful, she laid out a plan for my treatment and after 5 FOLFOX treatments I was scheduled for a simultaneous liver resection and colon resection with placement of the HAI pump. We would use the HAI pump as a way to hopefully prevent future recurrence in my liver. The surgery, although very long, went very well and 8 days later I walked out of the hospital. I completed 7 more months of treatment and since then (November 2009) have been in scan mode every 3-4 months. My surgeons were http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/doctor/michael-d-angelica and http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/doctor/philip-paty. I LOVE THEM!!!
I post this news to do two things. First, I craved good news like this when first diagnosed and would write a list in my notebook of every name I found of someone that was a long-term survivor. I would read the list every night before bed and it helped calm my nerves and gave me hope. I hope that my story can give others hope. I am so grateful that I just celebrated my little one's 4th birthday as I didn't think way back then I would have seen her at this age.
And second, for those with liver involvement that are considered inoperable, please seek a second opinion. If I had just relied on the word of that first doctor, who knows what my path may have been. I have seen amazing results at MSK with my Dr. I have read people here say that their doctor said they were inoperable because they had liver mets on both sides of the liver. Well, I had them on both sides. People have posted that their doctor said their mets were too large. Well, my largest was 5 cm. If you have numerous mets on the liver (upwards of 10 or so), consider the HAI as a method for reaching operability. I have met numerous folks in the waiting room at MSK that had too many to count and were currently NED after HAI treatments and resection. If you have multiple liver mets and want to know more about HAI please check out this video at http://www.mskcc.org/videos/treating-liver-metastases-hepatic-arterial-infusion-therapy. This is my doctor in the video and can you tell that I LOVE HER!!!??? ;)
Don't ever give up.
PS (cross-posted at ColonClub as well)