"In all, we cheated the cancer into giving us probably 18 extra years of life."
Fay found her breast cancer when her baby Adam was 3 months old. It was triple negative breast cancer, the most aggressive form, so she took the most radical treatment. In January 1997, she had a peripheral stem cell transplant followed by radiation and reconstruction. She went on with her life and never made it an issue.
Her first goal in life was to see Adam start school – mission accomplished. She developed a second primary tumor in 2010 followed by a mastectomy, more chemo, and a rebuild. Life goes on.
In the summer of 2013, she felt like she pulled a muscle. Her doctor suspected t was the cancer growing in her liver, but the blood test wasn’t showing concern. Three months later, they confirmed that it was metastatic breast cancer. She kept it to herself, not to spoil thanksgiving for the family.
Within the month, we were accepted and started a Phase 1 clinical trial at Karmanos in Detroit, MI. The trial lasted 15 months until it cleared most signs of cancer.
Her next goal in life was to walk her son down the aisle. In May 2015, she started to walk funny. Mets to the brain. She completed 15 more rounds of radiation. and she walked down the aisle. All the while, she would always say and live by the thought that you “HAVE TO BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE”.
More maintenance chemo and life goes on, until she was to start immunotherapy. Her doctor took her off the chemo, giving the remaining cancer a chance to attack. Jaundice set in, bloating of her belly and ankles, steps got harder. She knew it was her time.
She entered Hospice on Friday and was gone Monday. She was the most aggressive patient, who never missed an appointment. It seems she was born with her cancer. In all, we cheated the cancer into giving us probably 18 extra years of life. She saw her baby graduate and a son married. All the while not telling the world her problems.
She gave me permission to shout [her story] to the world, so here I am. Our hope is that research with immunotherapy will be successful, and the knowledge learned from her journey may help others.