December 18, 2017
Best of Cancerwise 2017: 10 of our most-read patient stories of hope
BY Laura Nathan-Garner
In 2017, dozens of our cancer patients shared the stories of their diagnosis, treatment and life after cancer here on Cancerwise. As they told us about their challenges and fears, they revealed their strength, courage and resilience. And in the process, they each gave us hope.
Here are 10 of our most-read patient stories from 2017.
Ovarian cancer patient thankful for immunotherapy clinical trial
When Cathy Tompkins complained of an unusual pain near her sternum, doctors took an X-ray and told her she was likely constipated. But when her pain persisted, a friend encouraged her to seek a second opinion. She was shocked to receive a stage IV ovarian cancer diagnosis.
Find out how Cathy’s benefiting from an immunotherapy clinical trial that’s part of our Moon Shots Program™.
Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor adjusts to life after cancer treatment
Like many cancer patients, Kimberly Hill thought the hardest part of her lymphoma diagnosis was behind her when she learned she had no evidence of disease. But as she’s discovered, the start of this new chapter – life after cancer – is where the real journey begins. Learn how she’s coping with lingering side effects.
Young desmoid tumor survivor gets life back with 17-hour surgery
On the back of Alicia Bennett’s favorite T-shirt is her design of a tree with the words, “Go out on a limb.”
The shirt honors the 17-hour cancer operation that removed the 23-year-old college student’s watermelon-sized tumor, along with her right arm and breast, chest wall, sternum and six ribs. Here’s how she’s moving forward after cancer treatment.
From tonsil cancer survivor to HPV vaccine advocate
Scott Courville didn’t know much about HPV when he was diagnosed with tonsil cancer. But he’s now committed to doing everything he can to prevent his sons from going through cancer like he did.
“If I’d gotten the HPV vaccine when I was a kid, chances are good that I could have avoided the six weeks of chemotherapy and 33 daily rounds of radiation therapy I endured last summer, as well as all of the unpleasant side effects they caused,” Scott says. See why he’s become so passionate about the HPV vaccine.
No stomach, no problem! Gastrectomy patient another step ahead after marathon
Marne Shafer thought her running days were over when she received a total gastrectomy, a surgical removal of the stomach and nearby lymph nodes.
But earlier this year, the stomachless runner completed the Chevron Houston Marathon, coming in just one minute shy of her 3:21 personal record. “Only through your trials do you understand your strength,” she says. Here’s her story.
Stage IV uterine cancer survivor: ‘Don’t give up hope’
When Moina Faruqui was diagnosed with stage IV uterine cancer in 2009, local doctors said she only had a short time to live. Refusing to accept this prognosis, her family encouraged her to seek treatment at MD Anderson under the care of Dr. Pedro Ramirez.
In the eight years since her first appointment, she’s seen her son get married and welcomed two beautiful grandchildren. “I consider myself one of Dr. Ramirez’s greatest success stories — and the poster child for MD Anderson,” says Moina, who now helps other patients through myCancerConnection, our one-on-one support program. Learn how MD Anderson gave Moina her life back.
Overcoming colorectal cancer in my 20s
When Thomas Tydlacka proposed to his girlfriend, Sarah, in September 2013, he thought that would be the biggest moment of his year. Little did he know that he’d be diagnosed with stage III colorectal cancer a few months later, at age 24. Find out how a clinical trial and the colorectal cancer community have helped him face cancer.
Lung cancer patient gets a second chance after a lobectomy
When Jason McFarland was diagnosed with stage IIIA non-small cell lung cancer, his local doctor said there was a 30% chance he wouldn’t survive surgery.
In search of better odds, he came to MD Anderson. “Look, you’ve got a difficult case, but it’s just another Monday for us,” our Dr. David Rice told him. Read Jason’s story.
Acoustic neuroma, melanoma survivor spreads hope and positivity
Shannon Long didn’t want her friends and family to have to sit around waiting and worrying about her during her 10-hour surgery. So she created a scavenger hunt full of random acts of kindness for her daughter and her friends to do while they waited at MD Anderson.
“I am very, very thankful and very, very blessed, and I want others to feel hope,” Shannon says. See how she’s brightened others’ days at MD Anderson.
Clinical trial gives recurrent glioblastoma survivor hope
When an MRI showed a new spot on Nicole Adams’ brain after two brain surgeries, a glioblastoma diagnosis, proton therapy and chemotherapy, our Dr. Barbara O’Brien recommended an immunotherapy clinical trial. And, so far, it’s working.
“You’ve got to believe in yourself and believe that you will beat this cancer,” Nicole says. Here’s her story.
Request an appointment at MD Anderson online or by calling 1-877-632-6789.