On Sept. 6, 2009, my husband woke in excruciating pain. Scans at the emergency room revealed stage IV colon cancer metastasized to the liver. The doctor told us he had six months and the cancer must have been growing five to seven years.
Thank God we went to MD Anderson and met Dr. Scott Kopetz. He gave us hope, not an expiration date. Dr. Kopetz and his staff did everything possible, even trying experimental drugs. He and two of his receptionists came to my husband’s celebration of life the Sunday before he died. We felt loved and overwhelmed.
My husband passed in February 2013, four and a half years later than the ER doctor predicted. During that time, we cared for our son, Ruel Alexander, who was diagnosed with neuroendocrine stomach cancer in the spring of 2011. We cared for each other when I was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma in May of 2012. I’ve been in remission for a year. I must live for my one remaining son.
Ruel Alexander took his diagnosis well. He said he was ‘in the club’ and going to fight it, which he did. He had chemo, radiation and about 100 blood transfusions during his 10-month fight. It was hard. I wanted to exchange my life for his.
Dr. Alexandria Phan adored Ruel Alexander, and he loved her. He passed a year and six days before his dad on Feb. 25, 2012.
Drs. Kopetz and Phan became part of our family. They did everything in their power to save my husband and son. To have doctors who give all they have to a patient, who love you and move heaven and earth to help you, those are the kind of doctors we find at MD Anderson.
MD Anderson is a big organization, but it’s welcoming and it makes you feel safe. Help was always available. Now, it’s my turn to help others by sharing my experiences, even the losses.
I saw what MD Anderson offers. Their doctors and staff are the best there is, and their dedication is admirable. I’m eternally grateful.
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