Stomach cancer - Stage II
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 stomach cancer
In 2014, I married my best friend, Jon. He is my rock, and we were together for nine years before saying, “I do.” Being a newlywed was a blissful time, but that didn’t last long. Shortly after the big day had passed, I began to feel ill and experience digestive issues. I went to the doctor and completed an endoscopy and colonoscopy. They told me at the time that they had found something suspicious but that I had to wait for the test results to come back to confirm any malignancy.
I hated the waiting. It was a slow, anxious journey. During the time that I was in limbo and waiting on results, I kept seeing commercials for Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA). I took notice and really paid attention to the commercials since the patients’ stories now seemed relevant to me. Then, I finally went back to the doctor, and he gave me the news I dreaded hearing. “It’s cancer,” he said.
I went home and called my husband, who was working as a union electrician. I remember just feeling scared and unsure of the future. The time was a blur, but I eventually turned on the television, and when I did, I saw another commercial for CTCA®. I knew that this was God’s way of speaking to me.
Answer to my prayers
I felt that I had to go to CTCA and see if it was right for me. I called and made an appointment to go to the hospital in Suburban Chicago. Before I knew it, CTCA took care of getting all my past medical history and test results, and I was traveling from Texas to Illinois.
My husband couldn’t take time off of work, so my aunt who raised me accompanied me on my initial evaluation. Our family was very familiar with cancer. My father died of lung cancer, and my mother had battled breast cancer. Various other relatives also had past cancer diagnoses.
When we walked through the door of the hospital in Zion, it hit me that I was in the right place. I met with my medical oncologist and his team. He ordered more tests so we could better understand what was going on. Then, together, we created a treatment plan that was right for me.
At CTCA, I didn’t see one doctor; I saw a team of doctors and clinicians who consulted with one another about treatment that would be appropriate for me. I was treated with compassionate care as a whole individual. I appreciated that.
We decided to start chemotherapy in October 2014. I got to take a break from chemotherapy over the holidays, and then I had surgery at the beginning of the new year. Before surgery, I completed scans, and the doctors couldn’t find any signs of cancer. But to be safe, I underwent a total gastrectomy, which totally removes the stomach and reattaches the small intestines to the esophagus. After surgery, my care team determined that the cancer had not spread to my lymph nodes.
I spent almost three weeks at the hospital. I had a feeding tube inserted during the surgery, and adjusting to that was hard. I took advantage of several of the integrative therapies offered at CTCA to combat my side effects, including nausea. I also worked with spiritual support provders throughout my treatment. I let them know early on that I wanted to pray before any type of procedure.
My path forward
After my surgery, I completed three rounds of chemotherapy. This was a really difficult time because I didn’t feel well. I lost weight, and I honestly didn’t know if I could make it through. But I trusted in God and my care team to help me finish it. My sister and my aunt also encouraged me and stood by my side. With their support, I completed my last round in April.
After scans came back clear, I had surgery to remove my port and feeding tube. Since March 2017, I have had no evidence of disease, and I still return to CTCA every year for check-ups and dilation of the esophagus.
I am adjusting to my new normal. I have good days and bad, but I always have a positive attitude knowing that I survived. I love spending time with my husband. We often sit outside looking at the stars and enjoying our back porch, not taking our time together for granted. I also enjoy spending time with my son and two grandsons, who are the center of my universe. Also, I am expecting a granddaughter in July. I am grateful for every moment.
I am looking forward for my opportunity to attend a Celebrate Life® event. The annual event honors CTCA patients who are celebrating their five-year anniversaries as cancer survivors. I can’t wait to celebrate with others who went through a similar cancer journey.