It's Caroline here, Sarah's youngest sister- the Seattle one. If you are visiting this site, you've heard by now that Sarah was diagnosed in late January with Ovarian Cancer. Indeed, this comes as a real surprise, especially considering how healthy, fit and strong she is! Most recently, in September she trained and swam from Alcatraz to San Francisco -member of the Hans and Jean Dream Team, and left the very next morning for a three week trek in the remote Upper Dolpo Region of Western Nepal, where she hiked over multiple high passes including one at 18,200ft! So, who would have guessed she'd be where she is now - at the UNM Cancer Center, receiving her first of 18 Chemo treatments!
But no surprise on one count, Sarah is ever positive, and prepared for the Adventure ahead. That's how we're looking at it - just not an adventure she would have chosen. But nobody chooses this! We're happy to have this Caring Bridge site as a great way to keep all who know and love Sarah, informed and up to date on where she is on her path to recovery. With contributions from me, our sister Kate, Nat and likely Sarah herself sometimes, we'll do our best to keep you informed. - Caroline
Hi, this is Nat with some of the details. After a couple of months of intermittent mild lower abdominal symptoms (constipation? hemorrhoids?) we decided that something was going on. A pelvic CT was done on Jan 11. When the results came back on Jan 14, I was at a remote hut in the Selkirk mountains of British Columbia. Fortunately we had satellite communication! The CT showed an 18 cm mass in the pelvis, suspicious for ovarian cancer. Somehow I was able to arrange rides in a helicopter, pickup truck, and two planes, and arrived home that evening. Our friends in the medical community rallied to expedite the workup, and on Jan 23 Sarah had an exploratory laparotomy. The surgeon removed her uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes, and sampled many lymph nodes. The tumor was removed intact. It had been pressing on her lower colon and rectum, which was the source of her symptoms. Pathology showed it to be papillary serous carcinoma of the ovary. All nodes were negative, and the only cancer cells found outside of the tumor were a few positive biopsies of the abdominal wall adjacent to the tumor. Surgical stage was II-b. Sarah recovered rapidly, and was out of the hospital after two nights. Additional visits provided her with an IV port and an intraperitoneal port, so she won't need so many needle sticks.
Treatment will be six cycles of alternating taxol and cis-platin, both IV and intraperitoneal (IP). Each cycle is 21 days. On our first meeting after the diagnosis, the doctor presented us with 3 choices of treatment, and Sarah immediately opted for the most aggressive one. Are you surprised? Today is her first chemo, IV taxol. We feel that we have done our scouting, pushed off from shore and the rapids lie just downstream. We have cannabis card, wig, and ice packs at hand, and now begins the interesting part. Thanks for your concern and well wishes! We love our friends so much, and we are so fortunate to be where we are right now. - Nat