First I want to thank each and every one of you for loving me, being such wonderful friends and praying for me each and every day.
This has been an incredibly shocking, overwhelming and deeply sad experience for me, Jason, Madison and Adam. I realize that because you all care so much you are looking for updates on my diagnosis, my treatment plan and overall my emotional and mental state of mind.
These past three weeks have been nothing short of horrifying, to say the least, but let me start at the beginning.
Last April I had a routine colonoscopy because I was 50. My doctor found 5 polyps, 3 of which were precancerous. One was so large, he could not remove it during the routine colonoscopy so I underwent a colon resection May 19, 2017. The mass that was removed along with the 12”of colon, my appendix and 20 lymph glands were biopsied and everything came back cancer free. Unfortunately, there was obviously a pre-cancerous or cancerous cell somewhere else floating around and the surgery disturbed its presence. The seed was planted in my peritoneal cavity where I now have peritoneal carcinomatosis; the origin being color rectal cancer.
This type of cancer is pretty rare, and if you decide to Google it, you will be quickly disturbed at the prognosis.
I began with very subtle symptoms in February. I went to the OB because this type of cancer mimics ovarian cancer, which is how I was diagnosed originally. On April 12, after going to my general practitioner and requesting test after test, they found masses in an ultrasound and then more specifically in a CT scan. Three weeks of pet scans, colonoscopies, biopsies, endoscopies and a slew of blood tests later, I ended up finding a specialist in abdominal malignancies in Pittsburgh, PA.
Last week, on Wednesday, Jason and I flew to Pittsburgh and met with Dr. David Bartlett. He is a pioneer in what is called HIPEC surgery. He and his team spent several hours with Jason and me and said he is willing to take my case. Friday, Dr. Bartlett implanted a port in my chest and yesterday, Monday April 30, 2018 I started chemotherapy. I was scared all over again, and anxious as well. Not only do I have chemotherapy every other Monday, but also I leave with a pump that continues to deliver chemo for the following 2 days.
The plan Dr. Bartlett put in motion for me is the most rigorous regimen of chemotherapy for 3 months to hopefully shrink the tumors. I will have 3-4 weeks off to heal just a bit before I under go the HIPEC surgery. This surgery will de-bulk and remove all visible tumors; additionally chemo heated to 107 degrees will be continuously circulated throughout my abdomen with the goal of killing any remaining cancer cells. This treatment is fairly new and VERY aggressive, but I feel this is my only chance for being cancer free. I do not have a surgery date yet, but my best guess is late August or early September. I will finish with an additional 3 months of chemo when I return from Pittsburgh.
I am trying my very best to remain positive, and have not been texting, calling and seeing people like my “normal” happy self. I have truly just been spending time with my family—I couldn’t be luckier to have family that loves and supports me like mine.
With all of this being said, I will try my best to keep you up to date; I may start a Caring Bridge so that you can all send your wishes each time you want to reach me.
Please stay strong, pray and know that each and every day I appreciate the love you are sending.