A lifelong athlete and self-proclaimed “rule follower,” I went to my primary care physician with symptoms of rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, and fatigue.
The tumor in my rectum was so large (11 cm) that the GI doctor could not get the scope around it to view the rest of the colon. I was completely obstructed. Additional testing showed that the cancer had metastasized to one spot on my liver, 19 lymph nodes, and five spots on my lungs. Genetic testing revealed that my cancer is MSS, KRAS mutant, BRAF wild type, and KRAF wild type (very aggressive and tough to treat).
After undergoing chemotherapy treatments with FOLFOX (5FU pump infusion, Leucovorin, 10 with Oxaliplatin) and Avastin, my tumor shrunk to 2 cm, my liver spot resolved and four out of five lung tumors resolved. I underwent a five hour resection surgery (April of 2015; rectum, liver, lymph nodes). An unfortunate medical error during surgery caused extensive, life threatening internal bleeding. I actually coded and was rushed into a second five hour emergency surgery that landed me in the ICU for a week.
I resumed chemotherapy in June of 2015, and underwent radiation on the remaining lung spot (SBRT “cyber knife” in October of 2015), and miraculously achieved NED (no evidence of disease) status in March of 2016. I did not require a colostomy due to my unprecedented response to chemotherapy which led to not requiring rectal radiation. I continue with 5FU, Leucovorin, and Avastin maintenance therapy indefinitely.