PMP, Pseudomyxoma Peritonei (Stage 4 appendix)
Diet Change, Herbs & Supplements, Increasing Positive Emotions, Releasing Suppressed Emotions, Following Your Intuition, Deepening Your Spiritual Connection, Increasing Social Support, Finding Strong Reasons for Living, Taking Control of Your Health
In 2013, at the age of 54, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Appendix cancer, which is rare and usually found when looking for something else. Audrey Hepburn also had Appendix Cancer. After going through menopause and losing that extra weight women sometimes put on, I knew something was off because my belly was huge like I was 6-7 months pregnant. It was disproportionate. My original OBGYN scheduled me for a hysterectomy, as she felt my belly was the result of fibroid tumor growth after menopause. I asked her if she felt this was cancer and she responded no. I was opened and closed within minutes of that procedure. My family was told I had cancer; it was extensive and everywhere. The hospital I was at didn't have the specialists I needed and truly this was a blessing in disguise! At that time, they felt I had stage 4 ovarian cancer and every staff person at hospital #1, (doctors, nurses, aides), made me feel as if I was dying. They held the wrong attitude and energy for me. I decided for me, to combine the best that conventional medicine had to offer with proactive, holistic treatments as well.
Blessed with Loyola University Medical Center, a teaching hospital, close to home, I had my initial consultation with the head of the gynecologic oncology department, Dr. Ronald Potkul. When we left this appointment, we were given hope and did the Snoopy happy dance on the way out! This doctor said, "I do this all day, every day. I have your back!" What a night and day difference from my first experience! Prior to my rescheduled hysterectomy, I was required to have a colonoscopy first to rule out colon cancer. As a side note, I grew up with Ulcerative Colitis. Eleven days after my first full abdominal incision, my hysterectomy and initial tumor debulking was completed. Approximately 15 pounds of tumors were removed, mucin also filled my belly area (hence my pregnant-looking belly), and samples were evaluated to determine the source of the cancer. The pathology report determined it was stage 4 appendiceal or appendix cancer. Who in the world has ever heard of appendix cancer; not me!
Next, in my treatment plan was four rounds of chemotherapy in preparation for HIPEC surgery, which was a 12-hour surgery with further tumor debulking and finishing with 90-minutes of hot infused chemo to coat anything microscopically present. During that surgery, my spleen, gallbladder, ascending colon plus part of my sigmoid and rectum, part of my liver, two parts of my diaphragm were removed. (At the time of my hysterectomy my appendix and omentum were removed as they contained large tumors). I came out of the HIPEC surgery with an ileostomy that was reversed 5.5 months later. My surgeon, Dr. Gerard Abood is my hero! He promised to do everything he could for me and he did! Because my disease was so advanced, I chose to prepare for the HIPEC surgery as a first option and not a last resort.
I combined conventional medicine with many alternative healing modalities, along with incorporating all the 9 factors Dr. Turner notes in her book. I am blessed my sister, Eileen Yelovich, has her PhD in Holistic Health and was also my caregiver! I had a total of four surgeries, numerous healing sessions (Energy Touch, Healing Touch, Reiki, Lumalight by Spectrahue color/light Therapy, Music Therapy, Biomat Therapy, Vibrational Therapy with VibroAcoustics, medicinal acupuncture at Harvard Medical school) and faith healing (John of God and the Chimayo Sanctuary, NM), plus supportive prayer by many groups. Bottomline, I am the miracle my doctors are talking about! I am here to say "You are not your diagnosis! Your body is amazing and holds miraculous healing capabilities!" I am so blessed to be alive and cannot wait to help empower those currently on their own personal cancer journey. I am certified by Dr. Turner to bring Radical Remission workshops to the public and I am available as a Radical Remission one-on-one coach. Reach out for support any time! I AM cancer free (NED) since 9/2013, 5+ years now!
EDITOR'S NOTE: As of September 2019, Caryn is thriving post-diagnosis.
From a medical perspective in my personal case, there isn't a lot known about why a person gets appendix cancer. It is rare and mine was very slow growing. After my doctor said this will probably come back in the future--I stopped him in his tracks and told him not to put that in my universe! As crazy as this may sound, my cancer journey wasn't awful. There were so many synchronicities and miracles around if we take the time to notice them. My sister, Eileen Yelovich, was my caregiver and personal cheerleader for a year and a half. Without her and her family's support, I wouldn't be here today. I hold such deep love and gratitude in my heart.
In my opinion, I believe one could manifest dis-ease when not living ones own personal truth with joy. The mindset you hold when going through any health challenge is critical to your journey. I have learned and am still learning to care for myself as lovingly as I do everyone around me. Listening to the innate wisdom of your body is critical. I disregarded my intuition prior to my diagnosis. I didn't listen when I joked about feeling like my appendix ruptured. I didn't heed my dreams that told me I had cancer. I wasn't grounded in my body. Today I honor my physical body equally as I do my spirit. I work hard at radical self-care and self-love! This is why it is so important to listen to your 'gut' on what is the 'right treatment' for you. It's personal and unique to only you! When we feel most out of control after receiving our diagnoses, we need to be able to make proactive choices by becoming our own best advocate. Incorporating the 9 factors from Dr. Turner's book, Radical Remission, allowed me to feel I was in control and contributing to my recovery.
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