BLOG#1: Beating the Odds!
Let me introduce myself, my name is Beck and I’m a 19 year old battling a rare form of cancer. The Summer of 2010 I noticed a huge lump in the lower left quadrant of my abdominal area. As time went on, the tumour grew to the size of a deflated basketball. One doctor argued, black and blue, that I was pregnant. In September, 2010 I had to have surgery to remove the teratoma tumour, left fallopian tube and ovary. After being released from the hospital, I went home to recover. Six weeks later I saw the doctor for a check up. He told me that there was nothing to worry about, the tumour was benign and to go home. Months later, I developed pain in regions of my lower back and shoulders. Frequent trips were made to my family doctor and hospital. I was told to do water aerobics, that I had rheumatoid arthritis, a pinched nerve, the list goes on and on but no, I had cancer. The doctor admitted he must’ve been multi-tasking and skimmed my report like a flyer. Come on, you’re a doctor! I could have started treatments a year earlier, which would have prevented the cancer from metastasizing from my ovary to my aorta and bones. Now my fiancée, family, friends and I suffer emotionally because of the negligence and irresponsibility of this doctor. I understand people make mistakes and I forgive him but when you’re dealing with lives, be more responsible!
I was diagnosed with a germ cell tumour back in June 2011, on my mother’s birthday. It’s a day my family, friends and I will never forget. I was treated with the following chemotherapy drugs, Etoposide, Cisplatin and Bleomycin. After enduring three long cycles of chemotherapy, I had a couple of scans to see my progress. The first prognosis startled me. Dr. Vicki Martin who specialized in Obsterics & Gynaecology entered the room and informed us of many cancer spots in the bone, a 8 cm tumour that’s wrapped around my aorta and pressing against my renal vessels. I was re-diagnosed with a rare type of cancer called PNET (Primitive Neuroectodermal Tumour) of the ovary. There has only been 8 reported cases of this type of cancer, each case different and a very discouragingly low survival rate.
Bleomycin had no affect. However, Etoposide and Cisplatin shrunk the tumour 8:2 cm. My next treatment regiment consisted of the following drugs, Cisplatin, Etoposide (5 day treatment) and Cyclophosphamide, Adriamycin and Vincristine (1 day treatment). After a refreshing break from it all, I was so glad to be free from the intravenous! When I went back, it was almost unbearable but I kept telling myself, “If you’re going through hell, keep on going!”
It’s been a couple of weeks since my last treatment and I’m on top of the world again. The results of my most recent bone scan show significant improvements. Dr. Rorke, my new doctor (who specializes in Sarcomas) says it depends on how the scans go, but thinks I’m at my limit. I haven’t beat this yet but I’m making progress with it (which the doctor’s least expected). Guess you could say I’m just beating the odds…
* As my fiancée says, “As long as there’s life, there’s hope.”