I was 35 and balancing motherhood with a career in healthcare I loved. And then my whole life changed in one day. My younger son (Emmett) was diagnosed with a chromosome disorder at 8 months of age. I didn’t know what that meant until a doctor spelled it out for me.
Emmett is expected to never walk, talk, feed himself, toilet by himself, or care for himself independently in any manner. He requires several medications a day, sleeps irregularly through the night, and functions as a 6 month old baby. Caregiving for Emmett is a full-time job.
Age 43, figuring out life the best I could; now balancing special needs motherhood with a career as head of training and development for a pharmaceutical company.
I heard the 3 scariest words that no one every wants to hear: “You have cancer.” Not only cancer, but stage IV metastatic colorectal cancer in 27 places (rectum, liver, lungs lymph nodes) in my body with an 8% chance of surviving five years. The full diagnosis came on my 44th birthday: September 17th, 2014. The genetic makeup of my tumor was MSS, BRAF wild, NRAS wild, KRAS mutant. After 55 chemotherapies (FOLFOX + Avastin), cyber knife radiation to my lung, and 2 surgeries (one unplanned), I am NED (no evidence of disease) since October, 2015. I am known by scientists as an “exceptional responder” to treatment and did not even require a colostomy. How I did it is under “My Program.”
Stacy’s entire miraculous story of overcoming stage IV cancer while raising an intellectually and developmentally disabled child should be heard live. Her unique patient/caregiver perspective is a true testament to the power of love and resilience.
UPMC Medical Mondays