Cisplatin, Surgery And Faith Restore Hope For 37 Year Old Wom
This is the story of my wife, Susan, who was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma
on 1/12/97. She is only 37 years old. She had been having a problem with
shortness of breath and a lot of pain in the left side of her chest. A
thoracentesis was done in July of 1996. This was to try & find out
why her lung was filling with fluid. The test results of the fluid drained
and a tissue sample taken at that time were negative for cancer. The doctor
diagnosed her with a damaged lung due to a pneumonia she must have had
but didn't know it. The doctor felt that this caused the bottom of
her left lung to get hard.
On 1/2/97, Susan underwent surgery to "repair her left lung".
When the doctor opened her up he found the cancer. The pathology lab at
the South Jersey Hospital Systems in our town, Millville, New Jersey,
diagnosed the cancer as adenocarcinoma with an unknown primary. The doctor
told me that they may never know what the primary is but that it was a
glandular type of cancer which meant either the breast or bladder. The
doctor also told me that my wife had 2 - 3 months to live but felt that
with some treatments she might make it a year.
I would not accept this. I took Susan to Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia,
Pa. I took the slides with the cancer tissue that the pathology lab at
our hospital used for their diagnosis. I am glad that I did. The lab at
Fox Chase did their own testing and made a diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma
of a epithelial cell type. She went through 6 weeks of cisplatin treatments.
A CT scan was done before and after the chemo treatments. Initially it
was felt that there was no response to the cisplatin treatments.
Susan underwent surgery on 4/22/97 to remove her left lung, replace her
diaphragm with plastic and to remove part of her heart sac. The surgeon's
name (also at Fox Chase Cancer Center) is Dr. Melvyn Goldberg. Dr. Goldberg
is the chief of staff of thoracic surgery at Fox Chase Cancer Center.
When Dr. Goldberg opened Susan up he found that the mesothelioma did respond
to the cisplatin treatments and what was showing up on the CT scan was
some of the scar tissue that was left behind. The surgeon spent 6 hrs
surgically removing all the mesothelioma tumor that he could. There is
a little cancer left and it is felt that with radiation treatments and
additional cisplatin treatments she may have a good chance at beating
The surgeon did not have to remove Susan's lung or replace her diaphragm.
We feel that if God did not have his hand in this that she would not have
responded as well as she has. As of today, it has been a long road but
a road with a lot of promise. I am very happy that we chose not to accept
the first diagnosis. Fox Chase Cancer Center is a wonderful hospital.
We would recommend this hospital to anyone.
Thank you for listening.