Melissa Thaxton

First post: Nov 27, 2022 Latest post: Sep 26, 2023
Many people have asked what they can do to help and what it is I am dealing with/facing, so I created this site in order to deliver information in one place. 

My story:
In August, I was diagnosed with an extremely rare uterine tumor (around 100 cases worldwide). It is called an epithelioid trophoblastic tumor. I had a total hysterectomy in September to remove the tumor and recovered from that surgery with no issues. At my five-week post-op appointment, my oncologist, Dr. West (at DHMC) said that because my cancer was Stage 1 and because there was no sign of further spread, he did not feel the need for further treatment and would just monitor with scans, etc. He recommended that we get a 2nd opinion at Dana Farber in Boston at their Gestational Trophoblastic Disease Center (where my tumor falls under) as they would have better access to treatment options if needed, etc. 

On November 7, Jamie and I went to Boston and met my Dana Farber oncologist, Dr. Horowitz. He was very knowledgeable and kind and talked to us about this particular cancer. Though the cancer was Stage 1, due to the length of time since my last pregnancy (this is a pregnancy-related tumor), he informed us that I needed to undergo an aggressive chemo regimen to prevent reoccurrence, followed by immunotherapy. We were very surprised by the news; however, after talking with him for an hour about the outcomes, research, prognosis, etc, we knew this is what I needed to do to make sure cancer would not return in the future. I have a lot of positives working in my favor, so the overall prognosis looks good. While the road to get there will be challenging, the outcome will be ok. 

On December 13, I will undergo weekly treatments for at least 8 weeks (2 treatments per cycle). Every other week will require an overnight stay. The good news for our family is that I can do these treatments locally at DHMC. I will take the time off from my teaching position so that I can stay healthy and focus on myself. When chemo is done, I will have immunotherapy every three weeks for 6 months. While this is all overwhelming and scary at the same time, my thoughts are focused on the bigger picture where I see a healthy and cancer-free future for myself. 

I have an AMAZING support system among family, friends, colleagues, etc., and I am forever grateful to everyone for their positivity, thoughts, and prayers. I will post updates as I can.