Kathy Buseman

First post: Jun 16, 2017 Latest post: Nov 29, 2022
I was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in May of 2016. I had surgery to remove the tumor, along with my sigmoid colon, which is where the tumor was. Surgery was followed by six months of chemo. Six months after chemo was done, it was time for a CT scan to make sure the chemo worked and killed all the cancer. I received a phone call just hours after I’d had the scan that the results showed a large tumor on my right ovary and that I was being referred to Iowa City. I ended up having extensive surgery in June of ‘17, to remove the tumor, which had grown to the size of a MELON, along with a total hysterectomy and many biopsies taken through out my abdomen. The final report was that the tumor on my ovary was matestatic colon cancer-meaning the colon cancer had grown and spread to my ovary which made it Stage 4 colon cancer. I recovered quite quickly from that big surgery and continued being monitored closely every three months in Iowa City. But 20 months later, February ‘19, a CT scan showed yet another growth, this time it was on the outside of my colon. I had exploratory surgery where they were going to remove the tumor but the doctors were unable to get the tumor out. I was then referred to another specialist in Iowa City, the seventh one I’ve seen there, who ordered an MRI and PET scan, those came back showing the tumor is growing into my pelvic sidewall muscle. Next plan of attack was staying in Iowa City Monday thru Friday getting radiation treatments and taking six chemo pills a day. CT showed the tumor has shrunk but is still in my muscle. Next stop  was another surgery to dig the tumor out of my muscle and also remove a tumor from my colon, which resulted in a temporary ostomy.  Fast forward to September 2020, my labs came back that the cancer was circulating again, somewhere in my body.  My doctor introduced me to a new way of screening for recurrent disease.  When having surgery to remove cancerous tumors, they pick these tumors apart and find the cancer DNA, and now a simple blood draw can detect if there's any of that DNA.  It is suppose to detect cancer 6-12 months before anything would ever show up on a scan.  I have been very fortunate to have such amazing doctors.  A routine blood draw showed that the cancer was back, we just didn't know where.  Scans showed nothing.  But my doctor decided to be proactive and start me on "maintenance treatments" which result in taking 4 chemo pills every day, and going for infusions every three weeks.  I was on these treatments for a year, and finally the cancer showed it's ugliness again. Now it is January 2021.  It was back in my muscle, same spot where they had removed it in 2019.  So, back to Iowa City I go to stay Monday thru Friday for radiation for six weeks, followed with scans showed the tumor was shrinking.  April of 2021 I started back on maintenance treatments, and continued until August 2022.  It was then that they spotted several small tumors in my abdomen, stating I had signs of early peritoneal carcinomatosis.  Say that fast three times.  Actually just say it once.  HA.  Good luck.  Which this brings me to yet another surgery, my 6th one.  The doctor went in laproscopically to explore.  He removed four small tumors and they were biopsied and came back positive for cancer.  The doctors weren't satisfied with only removing four, they stated there were several more spots that they couldn't get to.  The solution?  Surgery.   Cytoreductive/HIPEC is what the procedure is called.  This removes tumors in my abdomen wall cavity and also involves hot liquid chemo being put in my belly.  This brings me current, October 2022.  It has been an interesting and difficult ride on this cancer road.  It is a very bumpy road, one which I would like to not be on, but this is the path I have been given.  I can say it has brought me closer to the Lord, and my faith has grown immensely!  With the help of God, I have been able to maintain a positive attitude, and a fighting approach to this disease.  It's been hard on everyone.  But we push, drag, tug, and sometimes need a wrecker service to get us over the bump, BUT WE ALWAYS MAKE IT OVER.  This bump is no different.  With God and my family's help I will get pushed over this bump too.  Once over the latest bump,  we hold on tight because we know there are more to come.  But we've got this!!!!  Thank you for reading my lengthy story!

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