I was diagnosed with CC in October 2005. My oncologist is in Grand Junction, Colorado which is a two hour drive from where I live. I had my liver resected in November 2005 at University Hospital in Denver. Unfortunately, my liver grew back with more tumors. I did a clinical trial last spring, but it didn't work out. I started chemo in May and have stabilized the tumors in my liver. They did find cancer in a lymph node during my surgery and told me my cancer would probably come back which it did. It also went to my hip bone and I had radiation in November to treat that.
I have a really good rapport with my oncologist, and I think that is very critical. I also work hard to maintain a positive attitude for two reasons. One is that it helps fight the cancer, and two is that if the disease does take me, which they tell me it will, I won't have spent my last days on earth being down, in a bad mood, a burden to others. I do take Zoloft to help combat depression which I wish I had taken years ago!
I am fortunate in that I am self-employed and can work my schedule around my treatments. I have good insurance, a very supportive husband, family, and community.
My husband is from Jackson, Mississippi and he has a sister-in-law who is a nurse there. We've heard that the University Hospital in Jackson is very good, as well as the Baptist and the Catholic hospitals. I have heard that University hospitals are usually on the cutting edge and have more access to the most current treatments. I've also heard great things about M.D. Anderson, but some people have told me that it is very big and like an assembly line. The Mayo Clinics and Sloans-Kettering are also very reputable.
While my oncologist probably hasn't had that many CC cases he does call and consult with other specialists, both in Colorado and at Mayo clinic. He has gone to bat for me with the insurance company and researches clinical trials on the internet. I have gotten information from this website on clinical trials and he has followed up on those as well. I think my doctor is very intuitive and has tried to introduce chemo to me as gradual as possible to maintain my quality of life.
If you would like me to conact my sister-in-law, the nurse in Jackson, about her opinion on what is the best place for cancer treatment there, I'd be happy to do that.
It is hardest when you're first diagnosed and don't have a plan yet.
-Caroline Stoufer, e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 970-325-4071