My name is Christy Landon. I grew up in the northeast Ohio area and currently live in Mansfield with my husband, Troy. We have four adult children: Conner, Alexis, Logan, and Alec. They are all attending college. I also have three grandchildren.
Prior to diagnosis, I was a family and consumer sciences teacher for 11 years. For most of my career I taught a high school career technical early childhood education program where I taught a preschool and high school age children. I now spend my time helping care for grandchildren, working on projects around the house, and taking various classes at my local Y. I also enjoy creative endeavors, cooking, hiking, traveling, and listening to live music, especially our favorite band, Dispatch.
I received a diagnosis of stage 4 intrahepatic bile duct cancer in August of 2015. At the time of diagnosis there was a 13 cm tumor, two tumors around 5 cm, several dozen small lesions, metastases to a backbone and a lymph node. I was given a short period of time and at first given little hope. I remember, of course, feeling terrified at the news. I knew I wasn’t feeling well and that it was serious, but I felt there had to be more options and possibilities. For me, it really set off a sense of fight in hopes that there was going to be more options and a different story than what I had just been told.
KEEPING HOPE ALIVE
Having a sense of hope was very important in my experience. After the first scan, after treatment started, there was some positive news of shrinkage. I was feeling pretty elated, hopeful, and optimistic. I excitedly asked what was next. Unfortunately, the answer I received did not match my hopeful optimistic tone, but it set in motion a series of events which led me to meet another survivor.
That allowed me to have a renewed sense of hope that good things were possible and encouraged me to look for a more hopeful team. I felt less alone. I felt there were options, and I knew brilliant people were working on new methods and approaches. We began talking about the cancer as a health condition which could be managed while those new approaches were developed.
Advice I would give to other families with regards to hope is to find a team that shares your hope and optimism. Hold onto your hope.
I have seen so many people and organizations working hard by advocating for cholangiocarcinoma awareness and research. Their progress and enthusiasm for their work brings hope. It’s encouraging to me to know that by allowing access to medical records for researchers, participating in awareness activities, or supporting research, I can be a part of that hope.