Review: Nearly one year ago, Anne began experiencing symptoms of her cancer. After a lifesaving surgery, she was diagnosed with uterine leiomyosarcoma, a rare aggressive cancer. Reoccurrences, more surgeries, metastasis, and two different chemo regimens have led to today. Anne continues chemo treatment and managing the increasing side effects.
Because things were getting too “normal,” Anne had to shake things up a bit we tease her. The fatigue and “bathroom challenges” reached a point where Ray, her husband, insisted on taking her to UrgentCare to receive fluids. While there, they noticed her oxygen level was very low (Hers was at 70. An acceptable level is 92.) They transferred her to the local hospital via ambulance (no lights and sirens though). This way she could be admitted immediately rather than sitting in the germy waiting room.
After a chest x-ray and CT scan of her chest, they found fluid in her lungs- pneumonia. They also found a c. diff infection (an infection in the intestines that causes extreme diarrhea) and a UTI. Because Anne had c. diff before, she needed to continue the meds for a longer period of time on a tapering dose. Luckily the medications for the pneumonia also treated the UTI.
Anne was put on oxygen and had to do breathing treatments. (She had to do this during her hospital stay in January as well. When someone is not able to be as active, fluid can build up in the lungs leading to pneumonia.) Over her six-day stay in the hospital, they were able to wean her off of the oxygen. She was admitted without being on oxygen, and they wanted to discharge her without it. Because of her weakened immune system, and c. diff is highly contagious, she was not allowed visitors for several days.
When I was able to come, I (like everyone that entered) had to put on a gown and gloves. I was unsure what to expect when I arrived, but honestly, Anne was the best I had seen her in quite a while. Her skin looked healthy and there was an energy about her that had been missing. She had been catching up on HGTV, chatting with her sister on the phone, and resting.
Anne’s doctors decided to delay chemo for the week to give her body a chance to heal more before giving her more “poison.” She must also be extra cautious with her outings and social visits. It is very easy for her to catch anything going around and much harder for her body to fight it off. One week after being discharged Anne’s numbers looked good, and she was back at chemo for cycle 8 of 9. The following week, she received the second half of cycle 8. She scheduled a visit with the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance during her off week for a second opinion on her treatment plan. (See next blog post.)
As Anne and her doctors reflect back on the past year, it is not lost on them what a miracle it is that Anne is alive and that this is the first time she’s been admitted to the hospital since her surgery. She often says, “I should not be here.” Her specialist is amazed; most of his patients do not survive this long. Anne’s plan moving forward is the same always. “It is not a giant leap of faith. It is one step every day. It may be a baby step or a shuffle, but it is forward movement and one more day.”
Follow Anne’s Journey
Review: Anne did not qualify for clinical trials and started the third line of FDA approved chemotherapy for leiomyosarcoma. March 2019 I took Anne out to lunch. Moving around took great effort and focus. At the restaurant, Anne barely touched her food and...read more
Review: Anne’ chemo treatment was no longer working and the side effect pleural effusion had become unmanageable resulting in a pleural drain being placed in her lung sac. The doctors decided to give Anne a chemo break over the holidays to give her body a rest and to...read more
Review: Anne has been dealing with the ongoing side effect of pleural effusion (fluid around her lungs). After her second admission to the hospital, the doctors decided to give Anne a chemo break through the holidays. Two admissions later, a more long-term solution...read more