4 Years + Still Going Cancer Free!
I can barely believe those words. In May 2019 when I was diagnosed with stage-4 ovarian cancer my first stop, after crawling up off the floor, was to hit the internet. Here’s what I found.
The average 5-year survival rate for those diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer is about 31%, with a 93% chance of a recurrence.
Let that sit with you for a moment. Thirty percent is a pretty narrow survival lane to navigate through.
This is when I knew I had to find every possible option to get me into that 30% group. The best doctors in a caring environment, the latest drug cocktails, and the most aggressive treatment available. Luckly, I found all of this at Mercy Hospital in Baltimore.
At that time, my cancer growth was doubling each month. Nine cycles of weekly chemotherapy kicked my ass, but I responded well, and tumors shrunk. At this point, most ovarian patients have “de-bulking” surgery where remaining tumors are removed, and a hysterectomy is done. A serious surgery.
But I didn’t think that was going to be enough to get me in that 30% lane. Instead, I went for the “mother of all surgeries” (yes, this is how the medical team refers to it), cytoreductive surgery with Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC).
In my 9-hour surgery, they inspected every organ from my abdominal cavity, cutting out any residual cancer and scar tissue that remained from chemo. Part of what makes HIPEC surgery so successful is its aggressive nature – removing all non-vital organs to reduce the areas where cancer can come back. For me, that meant taking out the spleen, gallbladder, omentum, appendix, and a radical hysterectomy. That’s the first part.
Next, a chemotherapy drug is heated to 107 degrees and applied to the abdomen for 90 minutes while on the surgery table. This is where they Heat It, to Beat It!
Needless to say, this was an intensive recovery process that lasted long after my 8-day hospital stay. Today, I can share with great confidence that the reason I am living a completely full life is largely because of this HIPEC treatment.
I hope that you can join “Team Tracy” in supporting this important cause by participating in the 14th Annual “Heat It To Beat It” walk or making a donation on my fundraising page.
THANK YOU very much for supporting me and bringing hope to so many others!
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