Susan Burke | CaringBridge

Susan Burke

Welcome to my Caring Bridge Site. It is meant to keep family, friends, and anyone concerned updated and informed about my cancer.
My story began a little over a year ago with a trip to my primary care doctor at Aurora Kenosha for rectal bleeding (please go to your doc if you are/have experienced this!). A colonoscopy was ordered and it was determined I had Stage 1 rectal cancer. Had surgery and was told all was good; cured and just routine follow up with an oncologist and another colonoscopy within a year. 
Post surgery I experienced a lot of pelvic area pain and pretty severe bowel issues, which neither the surgeon or my primary are physician seemed to know anything about. Suffered through it for 6 months until my routine follow up with my oncologist. He ordered a cat scan thinking perhaps scar tissue, though one of my blood markers was elevated. Scan revealed liver lesions. Further testing revealed 6 tumors on my liver and 2 "spots" in my pelvis.Stage 4 metastaic rectal cancer; incurable. He told me 2 years with chemo, no surgery possible. Devastated. But...got angry. Went to Froedert to get a second opinion and made a plan including chemo with surgical removal being the goal, as that is the closest to "cure". Lots of side effects from the chemo, but I made it through so far, and scan showed shrinkage on all tumors.
Today, June 6th 2016, sitting here after 4 rounds of one chemo, and 2 of another, waiting for liver surgery to remove tumors on the 8th. Another scan last week showed pelvic tumors appear to be gone! Still don't know yet what will happen after liver surgery. Likely more chemo, perhaps radiation to the pelvis; perhaps another surgery to make sure all thse cells are really gone. Trying to remain strong and take one thing at a time.
As you can imagine, our lives have been turned upside down. Appointments, travel to and from Froedert, medical bills are pretty overwhelming. Cancer sucks. For me and everyone around me. Balancing hope and realism is the toughest thing, but I'm working on it. 
I will continue to post updates here. Thank you all for your love and concern.







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