I had life-saving abdominal surgery on August 25, 2017. My primary surgeon, Dr. Greene, with the help of 3 other surgeons, removed a 32lb tumor and 8lbs of fluid. The tumor turned out to be a rare, highly aggressive cancer called uterine myxoid leiomyosarcoma. It is high grade and is stage 2b. To the best of everyone’s knowledge and expertise, it has *not* metastasized. This cancer usually spreads to the lungs first, but mine are still clear!
With surgery came a subtotal, or partial, hysterectomy (everything but the cervix). I was too malnutritioned and bleeding too heavily for Greene to risk full removal of the reproductive organs or of the tumor (he got 95% of it). I hope to have the rest removed after my chemo is complete and my immunity is back up. This will help lower the risk of recurrence, which is purportedly high with this cancer.
I started chemo on October 10, 2017, in Bristol, VA. Each cycle is 21 days. I took 3 different drugs (2 chemo drugs and 1 shot to help boost my WBC).
Unfortunately that chemo didn’t work. I am on a new protocol as of January 18, 2018. You can learn about my experience on my timeline.
Update from Amanda in 2023: Looking back, I realize how little we really understood about what happened in surgery, and with cancer (despite losing several friends and family members to different types), that we believed it hadn’t metastasized. Greene told us he couldn’t cut the tumor away from the cervix because he was afraid she would bleed out. We later wondered, and I wonder still, why he didn’t just take the cervix too and put in a cervical cap. He’d already taken the destroyed uterus (the tumor had grown through it), her ovaries, fallopian tubes . . . why not just take everything? What he did instead was to leave part of the tumor behind, which means it spilled all it’s cancerous insides into Teresa’s abdominal cavity. She never had a chance after that. In hindsight, with the more I know, it’s sort of like she got a morcellation hysterectomy. He may not have ground the tumor up, but he cut it apart inside her body because he was sure that chemo would take care of it, without knowing what kind of cancer it was. Not knowing it was chemo-resistant. He took a terrible risk cutting into that tumor, and it cost Teresa her life.
The tumor regrew and no one was ever willing to operate again, even though surgery is the gold standard treatment for leiomyosarcoma.