Aug 13, 2020 Latest post:
Nov 13, 2023
Update 2/24/23: Unfortunately Ruth's cancer has returned, yet again. After a couple concerning episodes while working out (sudden shortness of breath, lips turning blue, and constant chest pain) Ruth decided to go to the Emergency Room to rule out a possible blood clot in her lung. After blood work and imaging was complete, hospital staff confirmed there was no blood clot and discharged her home. A few days later the official radiology read of her chest CT showed up on MyChart and indicated a new mass in the mediastinum suspected to be metastatic cancer in a group of lymph nodes. These paratracheal and hilar lymph nodes are located outside of, and in between, the lungs. They are tucked behind the heart and are compressing the left main pulmonary artery. After speaking with her oncology team, Ruth also learned that her most recent Signatera blood test was also positive for circulating cancer DNA in her body. Ruth's team of doctors decided the best approach would be to start with radiation therapy in hopes of minimizing her current pain and symptoms. This week she started radiation to the chest every week day for three weeks. After radiation she will be given a couple weeks to recover and regain strength before moving into 6 months of FOLFIRI+Avastin IV chemotherapy. Ruth plans to continue working while going through the radiation treatments, but will likely be taking time off while receiving chemotherapy. We all continue to hope and pray for a full recovery so she can return to doing the things she loves and enjoy many more years with her family. We thank you for your continued support and prayers for Ruth, Chris and the kids during this time.
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Ruth was diagnosed with stage IIIB colorectal cancer on May 3, 2019. She underwent 8 rounds of IV chemotherapy and 28 rounds of oral chemotherapy and concurrent pelvic radiation therapy, followed shortly after by surgery to remove the remainder of the tumor and affected lymph nodes. On Easter Sunday (April 2020) after nearly a year of treatment and recover, Ruth finally returned to work at the Fire Station. On May 18, 2020, just over a year from her initial diagnosis, Ruth was given a clean bill of health, and had her port removed.
Unfortunately, less than six weeks after she was given the "all clear," metastatic cancer was discovered on her uterine cervix. This particular form of metastatic disease is extremely rare, and thus caught everyone by complete surprise. Swift action was taken to determine the exact location and extent of the disease. Various scans and exams revealed a poor prognosis.
We were given only one, very extreme, surgical option to treat the cancer. Even with it's significant risks, it was only promising about a 10-20% chance that the cancer wouldn't return.
The next few weeks were filled with scans, lab tests and appointments. We also pursued a second opinion at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. The incredible doctors and staff at Mayo provided an unparalleled level of communication and care, but sadly, they were unable to offer the miraculous treatment option we were hoping for. They agreed that a total pelvic exenteration would provide the only chance of cure and survival. Medical treatment options alone (such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy) would only slow things and potentially prolong life by a couple of years.
After a great deal of research, prayers and deliberation, we have decided to move forward with the surgery here at UW Hospital. The surgery will be performed by a team of four surgical oncologist and will take approximately 10-12 hours to complete. Surgery is scheduled for this coming Monday, August 17.
While we are afraid of the unknown, and the difficult days that lie ahead, we are doing our best to cast all our cares on the Lord. We are so grateful for all of the love, support, and payers from all of our friends and family. We couldn't do any of this without you.
Love, Chris, Ruth, Madeline, Caleb, Noah and Zachary (and Kona 🐾)