My trip to MD Anderson for large cell cervical cancer treatment was so incredible that I wished I could have stayed longer.
The place is spectacular. As weird as it may sound, MD Anderson felt like an amusement park or a resort. I've been to three other places for large cell cervical cancer treatment in the last three years, and I haven't been anywhere like it.
Finding hope and life at MD Anderson
You might think of MD Anderson as a place where people are dying, but I saw it as a place where people are living. As I walked through the doors for the first time, I immediately felt ushered into the community. From the valet attendants and staff to the doctors and survivors around me, everyone was so kind.
There were many times when the spirit on the campus almost brought me to tears. Yet, I never felt a sense of sadness. In the sea of wheelchairs, bald shiny heads, white coats, and the ever-present ports, I instead felt power, strength, faith and unwavering hope. We had all showed up that day. We were a team fighting the same opponent. Arm in arm, mustering up everything within us to defeat cancer. Walking through the halls, I wanted to give everyone passing by a high-five for all that they have done and all that they will continue to do.
Discovering a sense of belonging at MD Anderson
MD Anderson is a house built to support the strength and determination of people from all over the world. A home to doctors who pour their lives into ridding our bodies of this disease. A tool for doctors-in-training committed to learning all there is to know about this wretched plague. Survivors. Fighters. Cancer warriors on the front lines. Old and young alike. We are all in it together.
There's something about being in a place where everyone around you intimately knows what you are going through. The fears, doubts and worries. The experiences, surgeries and treatments. The prayers, desperation and pleading. The camaraderie is evident, and with a simple meeting of the eyes, we knew.
Meeting my cervical cancer care team
I met with my doctor, Michael M. Frumovitz, M.D., and though I had spoken with him several times by phone and email, meeting him in person was unlike any encounter I'd had before. When he walked into the exam room, I immediately stood up and asked if I could hug him. It was the least I could do for the one man representing me and women like me who face this rare diagnosis. His knowledge astounded me. His passion overflowed. His mission was apparent. He is doing all he can to find a way to defeat large cell neuroendocrine cancer.
After my exam, we sat in his office and went over my case. He said he could talk for as long or as little as I wanted. This amazed me. He truly is committed to me and my success. We talked about different types of chemotherapy, statistics, the rarity of my large cell cervical cancer diagnosis, the possibility of molecular testing and maybe even a stem cell transplant. After our conversation, we developed a great plan. I exited his office standing tall and confident in my next steps.
Our visit to Houston put a spark in my step and lit a new fire underneath me. After three years of cancer treatment at three other places, I have been refreshed and renewed, ready for this next fight ahead of me.
Forget "Third time's a charm." I believe four will soon become my lucky number.
To read more about Stephanie Madsen, visit her blog.