Teresa had her first follow-up with Dr. Greene on 9/6. This was the first day he tentatively thought he could take Teresa’s staples (46 of them!) out, but he said it could be too early. This was because she went into surgery malnutritioned.
Teresa, however, heals really well! And fast, apparently. The staples came out! The incision flattened out and looks good. It’s still weeping a little (mostly clear fluid, some fresh blood) but Dr. Greene said this was normal and not to worry about it. It’s not infected or anything.
We have another appointment with him on 9/20.
I asked if he would do follow-up blood work (CBC), so we could see where her hemoglobin is, and he wrote us an order to take down to the lab. One of his ‘henchmen’ (his words!) checked her lungs and said they sounded good. (She’d had a pleural effusion, but Greene said this wasn’t unexpected due to all the fluid buildup in her abdomen, and how the tumor had pushed her organs out of the way.) He also wrote an order for radiology to do an x-ray of her chest to see how it was clearing up.
She’s not having any shortness of breath, however, which is a good sign. We were told that if she does the breathing exercises, and gets up and moves around, this would help it resolve on its own. (The alternative, I think, is a thoracotomy to drain the fluid with a needle.)
We did receive the pathology report.
The tumor was malignant. It is called Uterine Myxoid Leiomyosarcoma. It is a rare cancer. It is not a good prognosis.
Teresa has a good, positive, strong attitude. She is doing well. She is healing well. She has her appetite. She is strong and wants to live.
To help her recuperate, my Mom is preparing meals for Teresa from Dr. Joel’s Furhman’s books; particularly those aimed at super immunity and anti-cancer. For example, she’s making sure Teresa gets Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries, and Seeds, every day. Nuts as well. These foods in particular help fight cancer because, for a basic explanation, they help destroy tumor cells.*
Also, no processed sugar.**
Our current understanding from pathology (pathology reports are NOT easy to read) is that is stage IIB, which isn’t great, but it’s a lot better than it could be, especially given the size of the tumor.
It is possible that oncology may restage her — whether this will be better or worse, there is no way for us to know at this time. Dr. Greene was going to get us an appointment with an oncologist at BRMC, but told me to go ahead and try to get her in at Memorial Sloan Kettering in NY. Chemo usually starts 3-6 weeks post-surgery, which gives her a little more time to heal from her large operation.
She will have to have another operation to remove her cervix. She was too anemic for Dr. Greene to do any more surgery the first time around.
Our understanding right now is that it hasn’t metastasized, but we’ll know more after we get to talk to oncology, of course. Pathology did find the left ovary, and it was normal. It got swallowed by the tumor (which definitely started in the uterus as a fibroid), but it did not metastasize into the ovary.
Her other reports so far (heart, lungs, liver, spleen, gallbladder, pancreas, kidneys, bladder, etc), all seem to be good based on my understanding of the reports we’ve received. Her heart is not enlarged!
We realize that this information is going to make people sad, upset. Possibly feeling physically ill. We understand. We’ve had those feelings. We’re still having those feelings. But, Teresa is doing her best to stay cheerful and positive. On top of a good diet, these two things, plus genuine laughter, will help her heal. Will help her fight.
So, we know it is hard. But we ask you, please, please, have these feelings *before* you call and/or visit. If you cry when you visit, if you cry on the phone, she will cry too. (Not that we don’t expect that she will never cry. It’s tough news! But the less, the better.)
We want to stay as hopeful as possible, so that Teresa can have the best possible outcome from this diagnosis.
Again, if you’re planning to visit, please call and/or e-mail first to make sure it’s a good time. Unless we suddenly get an appointment at Memorial Sloan Kettering, we will be in Roanoke until 9/19, at which point we’ll go back to Abingdon for her morning appointment on 9/20 with Dr. Greene.
She really does enjoy receiving calls, and would love to have more visitors!
* Here is the diet information if you’re interested in what we’re doing: The Healthiest Anti-Cancer Foods
** I know when some of you asked, prior to us receiving the pathology, what treats she likes, we told you bagels and maple things. Ideally, it would be better if she didn’t eat those now, and if treats were not food items. We’re in the process of working out fun things she can have which are still healthy, but right now, I really wouldn’t know what to tell you food-wise!
I read all your comments to Teresa, and tell her who is leaving the hearts on each post. I cannot reply directly to comments, however, so, if you have questions, please send them to me at , and I will respond as soon as I am able.
We both appreciate those of you who have asked after our sick kitties, but if you’d like to know what’s going on there, please write me privately.
At this time, we are still not posting anything publicly on Facebook. Teresa may decide at some point to share there, for anyone we may have accidentally left out of the loop, but we’re not there yet. Thank you for understanding.
In hindsight, a vegan diet wasn’t a great move. She really needed the heme iron which only comes from animal products to keep her hemoglobin boosted.