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Stage IV Good News!

mom_2_3's picture
mom_2_3
Posts: 937
Joined: Nov 2008

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.

Amy

PS (cross-posted at ColonClub as well)

wawaju04976's picture
wawaju04976
Posts: 316
Joined: Dec 2012

Thank you for posting this. Yes, we need to hear from survivors!!!

Judy

Chelsea71
Posts: 1167
Joined: Sep 2012

Thank you for this information. My husband has liver metastasis on both lobes. Biggest is 4 cm. Told by first liver surgeon, no way. No resection, no RFA. 4 cm tumor is too big. After tumors are cut out, there wouldn't be enough healthy liver left. Went to another surgeon and it was totally different. Was told a two stage resection may be possible. Once tumor is cut out there will be lots of healthy liver left. 4 cm is no big deal. His concern was more in the location of one of the tumors. (Junction of right hepatic vein and vena cava). Hopefully something can be done for him. You're right. Get a second opinion. If necessary a third and forth. I guess every surgeon has his comfort zone. We live in Ontario, Canada. This surgeon is in Quebec. Ideally, we would go to MSK and try and get the HAI pump. Insurance will not pay. Hopefully something can be done here. If not, we will consider going to MSK for a consult. Congrats on four years of remission. Thanks for sharing.

Chelsea

Momof2plusteentwins
Posts: 437
Joined: May 2012

You are so right, I love reading these stage IV stories. I am also stage IV, but only 7 months out from my surgery. It really does give me hope that I can be here for years. Thank you!
Sandy :)
stage IV Rectal Cancer

jen2012
Posts: 1186
Joined: Aug 2012

Thanks Amy and congrats! Your post made me cry. My husband was diagnosed in august when our youngest was 11 months. It is really scary but i love stories like yours. Continued good health!

tachilders's picture
tachilders
Posts: 315
Joined: Jun 2012

Awesome news, and congrats!!!

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 1528
Joined: Mar 2010

And I'm in love with Dr. Paty as well.  I'm 5 1/2 years in remission (stage 4), with him as my surgeon.

MSK has some brilliant physicians.

Alice

Brenda Bricco's picture
Brenda Bricco
Posts: 549
Joined: Aug 2011

Thank you Amy! I remember when my husband was dx 2 years ago I NEEDED to hear these sort of wonderful results.

Brenda

marbleotis's picture
marbleotis
Posts: 475
Joined: Mar 2012

I love these stories.  I just celebrated 1 year NED and I cannot get enough of these!

gizzyluv's picture
gizzyluv
Posts: 143
Joined: Feb 2013

Hi Amy! I was reading your last post, not realizing it was "you" until I saw the name & your picture. I too am here looking for those "good outcome" stories, & I haven't been disappointed yet! Yours is just another one that has certainly given me hope for my husband Jason & for that I say THANK YOU with all my heart! I keep reading about "CEA"....what is that? I'm sure the dr. will tell us tomorrow, but I'm just curious. Thanks again for making my day a little brighter! (oh & Jason's too....I'm sharing all these stories with him & it is really making him feel better....=) Take care & God Bless, Kris

Southernhope
Posts: 5
Joined: Feb 2013

Amy, thank you for posting your story....it brings hope to all of us. Somedays I think I can beat this and other days it brings me down....it's so good to read these stories. There is life after cancer. Bless you and your family.

Hope

Glammom's picture
Glammom
Posts: 21
Joined: Feb 2013

I am newly diagnosed. I too went to MSK and had my surgery to remove my right colon on 1/3/13 my doctor was wonderful.  I am starting chemo on 2/8/13 and scared of all that I will have to face the next 6 months.   I thank you for your story of encoragement, it made me cry to read it.  I'm hoping one day I can write a post that will encourage another too. 

hippiechicks
Posts: 302
Joined: Sep 2012

Congrats to you and your continued success!! That is a truly wonderful story! Laughing

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