Awareness is the best medicine I remember many things from my battl [...]READ MORE
I was diagnosed at 29. I was 9 months pregnant with my daughter and my toddler son was 16 months old at the time. During my pregnancy I was being monitored for high blood pressure that started during my pregnancy. During a routine blood test my liver enzymes were elevated, my OB, internist and doctor at the hospital were afraid I had preeclampsia and was suffering from atypical HELLP syndrome. They ended up doing a liver ultrasound to check my liver function and found a mass. That mass turned out to be one of six liver tumors.
They induced delivery of my baby girl at 37 weeks and she was born healthy and without complications. Within 36 hours of her delivery, I had a CT, MRI, liver biopsy, and another ultrasound. This is where they found further masses in my liver. My colon tumor was not immediately seen on imaging. It wasn’t until my liver biopsy results came back that we found out it was adenocarcinoma and then scheduled my colonoscopy.
I had my diagnosis before my daughter was a week old. I was told to immediately stop breastfeeding and to start chemo. My first round of FOLFOX was 5 days after my 30th birthday. My local cancer centre deemed me inoperable, and chemo could extend my life. This simply wasn’t good enough for me.
I threw myself into research and got a referral sent to Dr Sapisochin regarding the transplant trial. I met with him and we discussed the requirements for the trial and that I had to be stable on standard of care treatment. After 4 rounds of FOLFOX my scans didn’t show any shrinkage. No significant growth, but no shrinkage. At this point I moved all of my care to UHN a 3 hour drive from my home in Northern Ontario. We changed my regimen to FOLFIRI +VECTIBIX. I met with my oncologist and surgical teams often. I had great success with second line treatment and after 15 more rounds of chemo ended up qualifying for 2 stage liver resection (ALPPS).
Dr’s Sapisochin and Quereshy operated on me shortly before Ontario hospitals stopped elective surgeries due to COVID. I had my 2 stage liver resection, colon resection with a temporary ileostomy which has since been reversed.
I have not done any further treatment since surgery in March and my blood tests are stable and will be going for scans in less than 2 weeks time to make sure I’m still free of visible tumors.
I try and advocate for CRC patients as much as I can. Being told you may live to see your kids enter kindergarten if you’re lucky is a shock. I don’t know where I would be today approaching my 2 year anniversary of diagnosis if I didn’t seek out a second opinion.
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