She learned about a surgery called HIPEC that offered hope for prolonging her life and potentially curing the disease. The procedure takes up to 10 hours to remove all visible tumors from the abdominal cavity and then bathe her insides with warmed chemotherapy drugs for several hours to directly attack any remaining cancer cells.
Kim had some important factors in her favor to qualify as a candidate for this surgery — only about 1 percent of cancer patients do. She was otherwise healthy, followed a steady exercise regimen, was younger than most colon cancer patients, and had a strong family support system. But she had too much cancer that included the peritoneal (abdominal wall). She would need additional treatment to prepare her.
Kim underwent six months of aggressive chemotherapy treatment at Northeast Medical Center in Concord, NC to shrink the tumors and tackle the cancer cells so she could have the grueling HIPEC surgery. PET scans showed impressive results with significant shrinking of tumors on her ovaries, colon and liver and no signs of active cancer cells.
Kim’s doctor performed exploratory surgery at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem at the end of the year to confirm her readiness for the tough surgery. But he had bad news. Her liver had taken a beating, possibly from the chemotherapy, and she still had too much cancer. She was too high risk for the surgery she had hoped for. He recommended further chemotherapy.
The Gates family is seeking treatment for Kim at one of the top cancer centers in the country: MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Currently, Kim is getting medical records transferred from NC and setting up a consultation appointment. Friends of Kim and her husband Mike are doing fundraising to help with travel expenses to MD Anderson and help with medical bills.
Kim is determined to get well so she can continue to be with her family and take care of her daughter.
Kim and Mike have been married over 22 years and have a daughter Breanna who is 21 and a son Jonathan who is 17 and a senior in high school. Breanna was born with spina bifida, a crippling birth defect, and has played for Charlotte's wheelchair basketball team since she was 8 years old. Jonathan plays varsity basketball at his school. Mike is a technical advisor with Apple. The family attends Charlotte’s Central Church of God at the satellite in Lake Park, NC. Helping people with special needs has been a ministry of the Gates family for many years. Kim provides day support services to a woman with a disability and the family cares for a young man with a disability who lives with them. Kim loves her job and continues to work to help make ends meet for the family.
Thank you for your support and prayers for Kim's treatment to be successful.
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