Welcome to our CaringBridge website! My Mom, Barb Shaw, was diagnosed with endometrial / uterine cancer in January. I wanted to share her story up to this point and then will be adding Journal entries to keep you all posted on the most recent information.
This past October, Mom started bleeding and originally thought that it was something to do with her bladder. By December, she had a CT and cystoscopy which ruled out any abnormalities in the urethra and bladder. It did however show that her uterus was enlarged. In early January, she had a biopsy done by her OB/GYN and 4 days later was given the diagnosis of endometrial cancer. She was sent immediately to Siteman Cancer Center, at the main Center for Advanced Medicine location here in St. Louis. We found out that her endometrial cancer was a "grade 3" (not stage as staging is done after the hysterectomy). Grade 3 is the most aggressive and rare form of endometrial and uterine cancers so her oncologist, Dr. Carolyn McCourt, and the amazing team at Siteman wasted no time in scheduling her for a radical hysterectomy. Her surgery was on Feb. 19th and she got through it like a rock star! Justin and I stayed all night with her at the hospital that night and the three of us laughed so much that we were making her hurt! (Let's just say that Mom is a really chatty patient on pain killers! =) During the surgery, in addition to removing her uterus, cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes, they removed some lymph nodes and did a biopsy of some tissue in her belly.
Our follow up appointment was last Thursday, March 7th, and we found out that the cancer had been aggressively growing into 87% of the uterine wall, into the cervix and even down into the vagina. Two of the three lymph nodes tested positive for the cancer, meaning that the cancer cells had spread into the lymphatic system. but the belly tissue biopsy was negative. Because it has spread outside of the endometrium/uterus, it is now considered Stage 3 Uterine cancer. Dr. McCourt told us that our takeaway from this visit, is that even though the hysterectomy removed the main tumor, this is a virulent cancer that has shown it can move outside of one area and metastasize in other areas, so they need to treat her aggressively with chemo therapy and possibly radiation to kill any of the cells that have spread. On April 4th, she will have her port placed and will have her first chemo infusion that day. She will have six rounds of chemo, consisting of 5 hour infusions onsite at Siteman every 3 weeks.
The team at Siteman are incredible and are so skilled at managing the side effects of chemo, but obviously this is going to be a difficult time. One of the chemo drugs will make her lose all of her hair most likely after the first round, but they have her on an arsenal of prescriptions to battle the other negative side effects. I will be taking Mom to all of her treatments and she will be staying here in St. Louis with me, Mike, and Sophie for about a week and a half each round (or until she feels well enough to go back home). Even though this has all been a devastating shock to our lives, Mom is so incredibly positive, optimistic and is ready to fight this head on! (She even wants to get a cute blue wig - which Sophie is very excited about!)
We are so truly blessed to have so many people praying for her and sending such kind thoughts and words of support! Thank you all so much! I will be keeping this site updated regularly once everything gets started. Many of you have asked what you can do to help and we just ask that you keep Mom in your thoughts and prayers and send positive energy her way! I have also turned on the GoFundMe page together with the CaringBridge site in case anyone would like to donate to the out of pocket expenses and lost wages that will be incurred during treatment. Thank you all again so much for helping Mom / MeeMaw / MaMaw / Barbie battle this awful disease.
We love and appreciate you all so very much! Angie and the entire Shaw / Lesser Family