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Stage IV Good News

mom_2_3
Posts: 962
Joined: Nov 2008

Today was the day I met with my oncologist to receive the results of my three-year scan. Everything was clear.

I said to my doctor that I knew I wasn't out of the woods yet but I was so happy. Her response to me was, "I think you're out of the woods but there could be a few trees here and there." Ok, I will take it. I also told her I could hug her, that I was so grateful for her. Her response was a smile and a "no hugs so I don't catch your virus." (I had a stomach virus over weekend.) Those that have met her can appreciate her response.

Three years ago on 2/20/09 I had a colon resection, liver resection and HAI pump implantation. I have had an amazing medical team of my oncologist (and her staff), my liver surgeon and my colon surgeon. I thank God that He gave them the intelligence and skills that brought me to this point.

Another doctor at a another hospital had told me I was not then and would not ever be operable when I presented with disease. He told me to expect to live 22-24 months. He told me that my current oncologist was a dinosaur and used out-dated technologies (HAI pump). He said it would be a waste of time to get a second opinion from MSK. Had I listened to him I don't know where I would be today.

While at the clinic today I met up with an old friend. This friend had an HAI pump implanted the same week I had my liver resection so we were near each other in the hospital ward. Let me tell you more about this man.

When diagnosed he had over 40 mets across his liver. His local hospital opened him up to do liver surgery and closed him up again telling him he would never be operable. He had already done a year of systemic chemo. While in the waiting room his wife picked up a pamphlet detailing HAI therapy at MSK. She brought it to her doctor's attention. He told her that putting in the pump would kill my friend and wouldn't it be better for him to die home in Ohio than in NYC away from his children. The doctor said to them, "Be happy with the extra year you have been given." It was fate or divine intervention that brought that pamphlet to the wife's attention, but she got her husband on a plane and to NYC to our oncologist.

After 5 months of the HAI pump treatment this man had a liver resection. All traces of those 40 mets were removed. He got his scan results today. 2 1/2 years NED and off chemo 2 years. I cry tears of joy for my friend. It was so great to get my good news and share his as well. Another man in the waiting room asked us about our histories and we found out he is 3 weeks out from surgery to place the HAI pump. It felt so wonderful to have this man look at my friend and I and see how much hope our success gave him.

If you are currently inoperable (liver mets), please consider a second opinion at MSK. Additionally, our oncologist will work with those with mets in liver and lung. If you need contact information for her or other information, please PM me.

Jasminsaba...I did ask Dr K about whether complete response in liver tumors from chemotherapy alone necessitates liver resection. Her answer is that she believes (and said that studies have show as well) that true remission or complete response from chemo alone is very very rare and that she would resect the liver tumor's former locations to ensure removal of any microscopic cells. She said the only time she has seen complete response "stick" was when the HAI was used in conjunction with systemic therapy as well.

I pray for health and happiness for all those here,
Amy

tina dasilva's picture
tina dasilva
Posts: 644
Joined: Sep 2010

YAY Amy I'm so very happy for you and your famliy

Cathleen Mary
Posts: 827
Joined: May 2011

Amy, Thank you so much for sharing your own incredible story and that of the patient you met. It is so inspiring and hopeful. I will pray that you both have years and years of NED!

Cathleen Mary

tommycat's picture
tommycat
Posts: 790
Joined: Aug 2011

Fantastic!!!!
What a gift.
Thank you for sharing your good news

tootsie1's picture
tootsie1
Posts: 5056
Joined: Feb 2008

That's wonderful news!!!

*hugs*
Gail

smokeyjoe
Posts: 1428
Joined: Feb 2011

Amazing!!! I am so happy for you :) P.S. love your pic. too how sweet is that???

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2573
Joined: Oct 2011

Your story should be a terrific inspiration to all the stage 4 folks out there!

k1
Posts: 220
Joined: Dec 2009

Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story of hope.

K1

janie1
Posts: 753
Joined: Apr 2011

Congrats to you, Amy!!! It's amazing that they could remove remnants of 40 tumors from that man's liver. That gives me hope that maybe I can get through this. I try to not think about "not getting it all out", during January's surgery, and "why".....but it is a challenge. Have a few questions for the surgeon in 2 weeks. But, Dr. K did say "we'll take care of it".......so I'm hanging everything on that one statement.
Thought about you yesterday, so thanks for the update. :)

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4870
Joined: May 2005

The problem is that too many people don't have oncologists who know enough about other treatments.
It's a Great Story but it's even BETTER when it becomes one's reality...
Choose your Oncologist Wisely, it's YOUR *** on the line, not theirs.
-p
(Impressive Amy but I'm not surprised, Dr K is A-OK!)
:-)

toyfox's picture
toyfox
Posts: 158
Joined: Apr 2011

So happy for you and your friend.
Gives us all hope.
Take care Linda

jasminsaba
Posts: 157
Joined: Jul 2011

Amy - I am very pleased to hear your great news ... congratulations on 3 years NED. I am wishing you many, many more happy and healthy years ahead.

Also, THANK YOU so much for remembering and bringing up my question with Dr. K ... it's greatly appreciated.

Your great news has just put me in a bright mood ... here's wishing everyone a beautiful Tuesday.

- Jasmine

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4870
Joined: May 2005

Way to go! Great news...
"Another doctor at a another hospital had told me I was not then and would not ever be operable when I presented with disease. He told me to expect to live 22-24 months. He told me that my current oncologist was a dinosaur and used out-dated technologies (HAI pump). He said it would be a waste of time to get a second opinion from MSK. Had I listened to him I don't know where I would be today."
Who knows but my guess would be "Up with THEE above".

There are too many quacks/hacks out there telling people they have no chance, it's VERY frustrating to say the least. Are their egos that big???
I go for chemo tomorrow, CT scan the following Wednesday, then see Dr K the following Wednesday (2 weeks and a day from today).
Hoping for continued shrinking of tumors and lowering of CEA.

Can't stress it enough, GET A SECOND OPINION...(from a respected Cancer Center and ask about HAI therapy)
Hugs Amy
-phil

pepebcn's picture
pepebcn
Posts: 6352
Joined: Aug 2010

Thank you for sharing it.

LivinginNH's picture
LivinginNH
Posts: 1458
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi Amy, That is truly a remarkable story - and I'm so glad that you shared it with us. And a big congratulations on being NED!! Great news. :-)

Cyn

kristasplace's picture
kristasplace
Posts: 956
Joined: Oct 2007

It's so wonderful to hear stories of success. Too many of us are losing our lives, it seems almost hopeless. I needed to hear this story today. Thank you

Hugs,
Krista

seek@light
Posts: 26
Joined: Dec 2011

Hi Amy,

You cheer me up today!

My mom's oncologist told us if my mom could survive 3 years with NED, she is cured! So you are a normal healthy subject now!

I wish everyone, including my mom, could be as lucky as you are!

Gary

wmcbane
Posts: 33
Joined: May 2010

Awesome news! Thanks for sharing.

barbebarb's picture
barbebarb
Posts: 464
Joined: Oct 2011

Amy:
I am a "newbie" posting and everyone's stories are inspiring and keep me going
on a day to day basis.
I am stage IV colon cancer and will be having a right lung wedge and liver tumor removed, hopefully by first week of April. I am recovering from have a left lung lobectomy - ouch!
I see the liver surgeon for a consult on 3/15.
Wishing you the best and hug those darling kids! (Mine are 20 and 22 now......)
Sincerely - Barb

reenw
Posts: 5
Joined: Mar 2012

Thanks so much for sharing this story, great news !

sasjourney
Posts: 395
Joined: Jul 2010

Amy,

I am so happy to hear this amazing news!!!!! We all needed to hear your story. I pray that you do not encounter any trees and you are out of the woods forever. Hugs to you and your beautiful family.

Love,
Sara

kmygil
Posts: 881
Joined: Feb 2007

Hi Amy,
I am so happy for you I burst into tears. If I hear of anyone else in this situation I will tell them of MSK and the HAI pump. Congratulations!
Hugs,
Kirsten

mom_2_3
Posts: 962
Joined: Nov 2008

I want to thank everyone for their well wishes and good thoughts. This site was a lifesaver for me when I was first diagnosed. I remember staying up all night as I read through post after post. In return for that support I hope that I am able to offer hope and assistance to others in the same situation.

In all honesty, I feel I have had it easy through most of this. Other than having cardiac arrest during one infusion, I came through relatively unscathed. My chemo side effects were minimal. I have been fortunate to have a most amazing sister that helped me and continues to help me even today when I have appointments by watching my children and helping me take care of my home. I remember when I was home immediately after my surgery and I was lying in my daughter's new bed in her new room. (She had just moved out of her toddler bed.) The only thing in her room was the bed and my sister literally painted the walls pink and hung the flowered wallpaper around me as I lay there. My mother-in-law has also been a bedrock of love and support for me and for our family.

Before I was diagnosed with cancer I led a very hectic life. For my job I would travel around Europe and the British Isles. I went "Down Under." I went to 48 of the 50 states on business trips. I would leave Newark on a 6pm flight to London, land in the morning there, go to a morning/early afternoon meeting and then make it back to the airport to be on a flight back to the US that night. I did this many times. When I told my mother-in-law I was pregnant with our third she had real concerns about our ability to handle it. I had never really contemplated being a stay-at-home mom.

During my treatments, however, my employer (for whom I had worked for 16 years and for whom I had been a stellar employee) let me go. I was told if I "wasn't ready to come back now, you can't come back at all." My husband and I discussed it and I couldn't really work the way I had, traveling around. So they terminated me. And that became the best thing to happen to me as I discovered how much I loved being there for my children all the time. I know I am fortunate to be in that position, but I don't think I would have, had it not been for my cancer.

So, in some ways, cancer gave me more than it took away.

joemetz's picture
joemetz
Posts: 493
Joined: Nov 2011

Thanks for sharing your story about your career.

I feel much like you. I purchased the family printing business with my brother from our dad about 17 years ago. Back then we had about 18 employees.

Over the past 17 years, we grew the business... worked hard, and thought we were having the time of our life. Became a workaholic and succeeded at growing the business coninuously... today we have a bit over 100 employees and the place runs 24 hours a day, 6 days a week. It's crazy.

I too was burning it at both ends, and chasing the wrong stuff for the past decade.
my cancer was dx'd in November 2011... last month my wife (of 23 years) told me that for the first time in our marriage... she felt as though her and my four kids were AHEAD of work.

that made my day, week, month and year!

I hate Cancer, but it definately has changed my life.
and i hope to beat the crap out of this cancer and live a new life where my focus is on the right people... not things.

thanks again for sharing.

my best

joe

tko683
Posts: 265
Joined: Aug 2011

I love your story and good news! It really it nice to come on here and read a story like yours. It is so inspiring and uplifting. I am very happy for you and so glad that your life is not so hectic anymore. Shame on any company for firing someone because of cancer treatment but it sounds like it worked out for the best for you. Take good care, Tero

Eltina21's picture
Eltina21
Posts: 174
Joined: May 2010

Hallelujah, I am so happy for you. Enjoy living.

Peace and Blessings,
Karen

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