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Jan 1, 2018 Latest post:
Apr 24, 2018
Welcome to Linda Smith's Caring Bridge page. On September 5th, Linda had excruciating back & chest pain and went to her doctors who sent her to the ER to originally test her heart. They found multiple nodules in her lungs & a very large mass in her uterus. Later on, the doctors found another mass on her upper spine which is what was causing the horrible pain. She was admitted to Meritus hospital in Hagerstown, MD for 3 nights for further evaluation. After several tests, MRIs & scans, they said she had Cancer & it had metastasized; which was a complete shock & devastating to all of us. At this point, we didn't know what kind of Cancer or what stage but knew it wasn't good & we were going to have a long road a head of us.
Her Biospy on September 6th, was sent to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD where they described her tumors as "Spindle Cell" shaped. This basically means it's a type of connective tissue Cancer in which the cells are spindle-shaped when examined under a microscope. From the first Biopsy, they were not able to tell where the Cancer originated but after a series of tests, they determined it is a Sarcoma Cancer & it originated from her Uterus. The doctors diagnosed her with Leiomyosarcoma (LMS). Sarcoma is rare, consisting of only 1% of cancer cases in adults. About 1 person in 100,000 gets diagnosed with LMS each year. They gave us, what seemed like the absolute worst news: "This is Stage 4 Cancer & it's aggressive." The doctors explained that this Cancer is "treatable but not curable." All of our hearts sank.
The Doctors wanted to try & shrink the mass on the spine right away due to the location. She was started on Dexamethasone to help with inflammation and was subsequently treated with 10 days of outpatient radiation therapy in Hagerstown, MD. After her radiation, she did get some pain relief.
Dr. Rosenshein sent Linda's results to a tumor board where they discussed her further treatment plan. After several discussions with multiple doctors & specialists, they decided Surgery was best. Linda underwent surgery on October 10th. She had a total hysterectomy as well as removal of her gallbladder at Mercy hospital in Baltimore, MD. It was a few hour procedure & the surgeon was fantastic . Dr. Rosenshein sat down with all of us afterwards & told us the surgery was successful & couldn't have went better in his eyes. It was great to hear some positive news!
Linda recovered well from the surgery & the next plan was Chemotherapy. She's never been a fan of Chemotherapy but it's what her doctors recommended in her road to recovery. She saw Dr. Tang and in early November started a Chemo regimen called Paclitaxel & Carboplatin. Linda received the first treatment on 11/09, and the second on 11/30 & the third was planned for 12/21. She seemed to be tolerating Chemo pretty well until she had significant bone pain for a few days & couldn't move due the Neulasta shot. Neulasta is a shot to help your white blood count during Chemotherapy.
Johns Hopkins has been communicating with her doctors in Hagerstown, MD & wanted to do some scans sooner before her 3rd Chemo session that was scheduled on 12/21. After they scanned the nodules in her lungs, they determined that the Chemotherapy has not been helping. In fact, the nodules actually got slightly bigger in size from the last scan in September. This was pretty disappointing news, but we were reassured that sometimes it does take several trial & errors until they find something that works. A few weeks before Christmas, Dr. Tang explained that they were going to try 2 different Chemo treatments & they were going to be more frequent. One of her Chemo regimens is once a week & the other is once every 3 weeks.
The next step is for the doctors to do another scan after the next Chemo treatments & hopefully we will find something that works. I will continue to update everyone as much as I can. Thank you all for your continued prayers & love through this journey. We truly appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. We believe in the healing of God & pray every day for a miracle.
"The Doctor's say what they are supposed to, but God has the final say."