9th Cancerversary

I can’t believe it’s been 9 years ago today, Feb 5th, that I first saw a 6.5 cm tumor on the CT scan and began my journey with appendix cancer. It took lots of chemo, multiple surgeries, and intense support from family and friends to help me get through that ordeal. Here I am, 9 years later, with no evidence of disease.

Some of my friends struggled with the same rare appendix cancer. Ellen and Zanetta, in particular.  I will always remember their laugh, their sense of humor, their optimism. Sometimes, when I feel that life is a bit overwhelming, when I’m worried about my kids, and about the future, I ask myself what advice they would give.

I imagine they would look me in the eye and remind me to:

  • Believe in yourself.
  • Love your family.
  • Be a good friend.
  • Be kind.
  • Smile often.
  • Let challenges inspire you to do better.
  • Remember, you make an impact with every little thing you do.
  • Go for it right now because the future isn’t promised!

Another year, another opportunity to get on with living.


Appendix cancer: genetic mutation testing

Back in 2010 when I was researching treatments for appendiceal adenocarninoma, I learned that appendix cancer is often treated with colon cancer chemotherapy even though appendix cancer is thought to be genetically distinct from colon cancer. There still aren’t any appendix cancer-specific drugs but some patients do respond to the standard colon cancer drugs.  To understand why, scientists are doing research into the genetic differences between the two types of cancer and have found that there are distinct genetic mutations between appendix cancer genes and colon cancer genes.

Continue reading