Uterine cancer - Stage III
This testimonial includes a description of this patient’s actual medical results. Those results may not be typical or expected for the particular disease type described in this testimonial. You should not expect to experience these results.
View CTCA treatment results for prevalent cancers we treat
The thought that I might have cancer never crossed my mind when I first started experiencing some symptoms. I was 55 years old and I thought it was just menopause. I had bleeding, but with no history of cancer in my family, I was just not too alarmed by it. Because the symptoms would come and go, I would forget about them when they weren’t happening. I was doctoring and she was treating me for menopause.
The day after Christmas 1999 I experienced a different discharge that did concern me. That night I awoke in the middle of the night with one single thought: Go to the doctor tomorrow and do not delay. I heeded that midnight prompting by going to an urgent care facility in Helena, Montana the next day. The physician there was very attentive and seemed to know right away that the situation was serious. He sent me to a gynecologist who did an endometrial biopsy. Four days later, the office nurse called and told me that I had endometrial cancer.
Taking a different path
I had surgery and the surgery revealed that the cancer had gone through the uterine wall, was in several lymph nodes, abdominal washings and other areas of the pelvis. The oncologist recommended full abdominal radiation. While I was recovering from the surgery, our neighbors came over with some information. He had been diagnosed at home with prostate cancer and went to CTCA for treatment, and he and his wife urged us to make the call ourselves. My family agreed that getting a second opinion was the right thing to do. We made the call - a decision that may have saved my life.
My husband and I flew to Chicago for a consultation at CTCA’s Midwestern Regional Cancer Center. There, the doctors told me that they would never do full abdominal radiation because I would have lifelong side effects from the damage to my internal organs. I certainly wanted to avoid lasting side effects if I could.
A Close Watch
My treatment began with six weeks of radiation. The treatment itself is so painless that you can forget how harsh it is. Few people escape cancer treatment without any side effects, and although I considered myself a strong person, the treatment began taking a toll. I put up with it, though, and it was my husband who told the doctor that I was feeling sick. Dr. Williams saw me and decided to admit me to the hospital for a few days. I was having trouble eating and drinking, and needed closer care. It was difficult, but at the same time an example of the care one receives at CTCA.
Dr. Williams also suggested two rounds of chemotherapy. She laid out all the pros and cons, and we decided together to go for it. The first round was very hard on me, though, so Dr. Williams stopped the chemotherapy. This kind of personal care helped me get through cancer and its treatment, and I don’t think I would be here today without it.
Life is beautiful
My husband and I have been married for 48 years. We raised our four children on a farm in rural Montana that has been in the family for about 60 years. When I was diagnosed with cancer, two of our children were married and we had two grandchildren. I wanted to see my other children married and start their families, and that was one of my motivations as I went through treatment. Today we have ten grandchildren.
I wake up each day grateful that I’m still here and that I’m healthy. My husband and I can do the things we want to do. I love doing family history work and being involved in the Cancer Fighter program. My husband, who is 74, still works daily on the farm, but now we also spend time at our second home in southern Utah, giving ourselves a break from the farm during the winter. We stay involved with our grandchildren, the joy of our life – ages 17 to 1 - and their activities.
When I finished treatment at CTCA, I was considered free of cancer. I went for all my check-ups - four times a year, then three times, then every six months. After five years, I began going just annually. After ten years, I told Dr. Williams, “You need to take care of sick people and I am a well person.” I make sure to have annual check-ups with my local gynecologist, but my visits to CTCA are now few and far between. This past summer 2013 and thirteen years from the end of my treatment, I went back for a thorough work-up just to be extra cautious. The test results showed still no signs of cancer!
I have so much to live for, and I knew when I was diagnosed with cancer that I just wanted to live. There was much unfinished in my life. Now here I am, all these years later, still appreciating the gift of life - every day.