Hi, I’m Karri. a 43 year old female. I have been diagnosed with thymic carcinoma. I had surgery December 15,2004 at Harrison Memorial Hospital in Bremerton, Washington. The surgeon said he removed a mass the size of his closed fist. The heart muscle, larynx, and into neck were coated with a substance like “spilled tapioca pudding.” (surgeon’s quotes) He was able to get all of the coating except at the back of the heart muscle between the main heart valve. He also removed three enlarged lymph nodes in the left shoulder – two were benign and the other malignant. Some nerves in the diaphragm had to be severed.
My surgeon has recommended an oncologist who I am to see tomorrow – but since this is a small area, would it be better to find someone at a larger medical center? Does Chemo really work? What about radiation? Has anyone worked with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle or the University of Washington Medical? Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated. This has been a real bombshell.
Thank you kindly,
September 25, 2005
Update from Karri:
First off, I want to thank everyone for the up-beat attitude and the encouragement that each of you has contributed to this forum. Especially, my heart-felt thanks to Alan for all his expertise and hard work. I find it hard to get everything read – let alone do any writing. I sleep when I get home from work. All the stories show how different each of us respond to treatment and yet a common thread runs through it all.
I went through thirteen weeks of chemo in January, 2005. I had Paclitaxol each week with the addition of Carboplatinum every third week. The carbo made me VERY sick – Emend did help, but the price of each pill is outrageous! Radiation was given five days @ week for seven weeks during the thirteen chemo weeks. The seven weeks of radiation started on my birthday – a real happy birthday for me! I took off work for five weeks after surgery due to my job.(Surgery was December 15,2004) I am a civil worker for the navy. But, I worked the whole time through chemo/radiation except the last three days due to a cold. After chemo/radiation I had my throat opened up by surgery from radiation burns. I drank 4 oz of aloe vera gel 3 times a day to heal the burning. My gynecologist cousin sent me vitamin C&E oil for my skin to prevent burning – it really helped.
In July I went to the ER for chest pain. I am taking potassium and vicodin for my chest and heart. I had my 6 month check up and everything is good. That was September 6, 2005. I will have my CTscan done in October.
My ankles and stomach stay swollen. I had the CA-125 blood test for ovarian cancer September 20, 2005, due to the swelling. Thank the Lord the count was in the low range.
I have taken advantage of Dr. Suster’s generous offer to give me a second opinion on my pathology report. That is due back soon.
My hair is growing back and thick. I still have trouble with my shoulder, hip, and ankle hurting real bad, but other than that, I’m doing quite well. My dogs are glad I have hair again, but they wonder about the big belly!
Thanks for all the love and prayers – I really do appreciate the support even though I don’t get much written. Hugs to all,