Her doctor responded, "This usually indicates cancer..." and she referred her to a specialist who could perform ultrasound and a biopsy. At the conclusion of that visit she was told, “This is almost certainly cancer..." and the pathology report confirmed it to be papillary serous carcinoma, a rare and aggressive subgroup of uterine cancer. The oncologist immediately scheduled a radical open-abdomen surgery because, with the tumor marker being at 3,198 (normal is 35 or less), he knew that there had already been significant spreading, although he didn’t know yet how many organs had been affected. The post-surgery pathology report indicated that the cancer was Stage 3c2 (in other words, already in some lymph nodes), and even though the surgeon did his best to remove all visible cancer, he confirmed that there were still plenty of circulating cancer cells looking for another organ to invade.
The prognosis wasn’t bad; it was awful. The oncologist told her that she’d caught a bad break and that without further treatment beyond surgery she would likely have a “life threatening incident” within a year. He recommended that Suzanne start chemotherapy immediately but when we asked for evidence that it was effective with this specific type of cancer (since we weren’t finding any in our research), he did some additional research and then told us that there are limited scientific studies on this form of cancer because of its rarity and the fact that the patients don’t tend to live long enough for the research to be completed. When we asked how much extra time doing chemo would likely give her, he said it might give her another year. Weighing the possibility of gaining an extra year against being sick during that year and risking the toxicity of the chemo drugs destroying her health in other ways during that time led Suzanne to decline conventional treatment and aggressively seek out other options.
If you know Suzanne you know that she has a soul of deep passions and commitments. For the sake of those she loves deeply and for the sake of her service to her God she was not (and still is not) ready to admit defeat and die. Suzanne is committed to fight because she wants to live and since she wants to live well she is pursuing a natural healing path that will strengthen her immune system, not destroy it.
We have extensively explored alternative treatments and have found some that have shown promise in treating people with many forms of cancer, including the family of cancers that has afflicted Suzanne. Although many of these treatments are approved in Europe and other countries, much of what we have pursued has not been approved by the FDA for use in the United States so we’ve had to travel to Mexico. Since none of the costs are covered by insurance, we’ve already spent/borrowed over $77,000 for medical-related expenses this year, including over $13,000 for the first round of immunotherapy that she is scheduled to begin later this week. The number of rounds that will follow will be determine by her body's response. Suzanne’s most recent blood work indicates that her immune system is in excellent condition, but her tumor marker continues to rise because the cancer cells over-express the enzyme nagalase which makes them invisible to the immune system’s natural killer cells. This particular immunotherapy targets this situation and we’re praying that it will be effective in Suzanne’s body.
We maxed out the equity line on our house and liquidated Suzanne's retirement IRA to help pay it down but are still in the hole and anticipating additional medical expenses. Asking for money from others to help is not something that we ever anticipated doing. However, several of our friends have persuaded us to use GoFundMe to provide a way for others to offer assistance if they have a desire and ability to do so.
Please join Suzanne in her fight. If you decide to contribute, we thank you in advance. But, even if you are unable to help financially, please help by sharing the link to this GoFundMe by email, word of mouth and whatever social media is available to you. Thank you for your encouragement and especially for your prayers.
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