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Hello. My wife aged 56, was diagnosed with CC four months ago. She initially presented with severe itching followed by a slight jaundice. Her regular doctor diagnosed her condition as menopause related and began treatment. The condition of course did not improve but her doctor continued to try to relieve her symptoms. Fortunately she was absent on one occasion and so my wife saw her colleague and he saw things very differently. Within a short time she had blood tests, an ultrasound, CT Scan and MRI which confirmed a much more serious diagnosis. To say that we were stunned was an understatement. In a moment we went from planning a European vacation to planning her treatment. On reflection we are horrified to think of how long her regular doctor would have continued to prescribe lotions and diet as a cure.
We had recently returned to Australia after an extended stay in New York so we had to make a decision as to where to have treatment. We considered MDA in Houston based on their reputation and advertising, but decided eventually to stay in Australia where there is more family support and where costs are so much lower. The first specialist that we saw was far too relaxed about treatment and basically uncontactable so apart from placing stents he did little to help. By this stage I was starting to look at flights to Houston but with time passing we sought recommendations from friends and family about treatment options in Sydney. As a result we contacted Dr. David Yeo at the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse in Sydney and from there the situation improved dramatically. Five days after seeing him, my wife had a Whipples procedure and the tumor was removed with thankfully, clear margins.
She has now moved on to adjunct therapy with Capecitabine oral chemotherapy for six months. So far, she is now in cycle three, she is tolerating the drug well even with high dose. Her oncologist has also approved a three week break in treatment after cycle five so that we can spend a few weeks relaxing in Hawaii, visiting Disneyland and seeing relatives in Las Vegas.
So far we are doing as well as can be expected in these circumstances and are hopeful of a positive outcome. These are truly the times when the effort and commitment that you put into your relationship over the years is there to sustain you so that you face challenges together.
We are none the less realistic about the challenges ahead and once this course of treatment is complete we will likely be back in the US to participate in clinical trials. Developments in immunotherapy look particularly promising. We can but hope. Best wishes to you all. Roger and Tracey