I was originally diagnosed with a low-grade, mucinous cancer of the appendix in 1995,, when I had surgery for a large ovarian cyst. At that time, the surgeons were surprised to find my peritoneal cavity full of mucous and proceeded to remove as much as they could, plus give me a hysterectomy. I was told I had pseudomyxoma peritonei and ultimately it was decided we should wait and see how things progressed. Nine years later , the mucinous tumours were back and in March 2014, when I was in my early 60’s, I had cytoreduction surgery, with HIPEC. Today I am clear of disease and leading a normal, healthy life. I owe my good fortune to my surgeon, Dr. Yarrow McConnell, and her team at Vancouver General Hospital who all provided excellent care. It has been a great pleasure to meet others with similar diagnoses through BCPCN, broadening my ‘family’ of supporters.
I am a writer and artist, and the mother of a sweet, precocious boy. In March 2012, at the age of 37, I was diagnosed with Pseudomyxoma Peritonei mucinous adenocarcinoma ( Appendix cancer) which went through metastasis and spread to other organs, making it a stage 4. On June 2012 I had a rather extensive cytoreductive surgery ( referred to by many as MOAS – the Mother Of All Surgeries) and HIPEC , followed by chemotherapy in order to beat it. As PMP is rather rare even among cancers there wasn’t that much information out there for it. There also wasn’t a BC program then, so I had to travel to Alberta and have my surgery with Dr. Walley Temple at the Tom Baker Centre in Calgary. Thankfully there was an agreement between provinces, so I was at least able to go there for surgery and follow up with chemotherapy here in BC afterwards. I am incredibly thankful for the doctors that oversaw my treatment, and glad that there is now the option for BC patients to get the same treatment in our province. Three years out, I’m still NED. I have had the luck to connect with other patients ( both in Alberta and British Columbia) and appreciate the power of a supportive community!
In my case the only place I could have the surgery was in Calgary &, although BC Med thankfully covered my surgery & hospital stay, all the other costs including a hotel for 2 months, air fares back & forth & lost family wages were ours. Last year I did a Grouse Grind fundraiser as a way to give back in thanks for the gift of my life &, at the same time, make it easier for some other family by helping them get the care they need here in Vancouver. It’s been just over a year since my 10 hour surgery & heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) & it’s been a long hard recovery back to where I find myself now. This has not been a fun year but I’m so grateful to be alive & appreciative of family & friends who helped me during this time. All your prayers & positive thoughts got me to this point & now I hope back to save others from this horrible disease.