Barbara’s Story

Chondrosarcoma at the Chest Wall
Age at Diagnosis: 56
Year of Diagnosis: 2003

I was hospitalized September 13, 2003. I knew something was growing on my chest, but for whatever, reason, I ignored it. Then, God decided to do something about it for me. A huge blood like blistered formed on my chest and burst through the chest wall. This was the tumor that had become infected. I had numerous cat scans and bone scans, and x-rays. During this time I developed pneumonia and dehydration. I had no treatment until January 27, 2003.

Treatment: I went to several major medical center and university hospitals for opinions. I was sent to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. We remained there for 95 days while I underwent pre-op rehabilitation to make me stronger for the surgery. On January 27, 2004 I underwent surgery for the removal of a 17 pound tumor, four ribs were removed, and part of my sternum. They inserted a mesh and did a tissue graft from my back to close up the hole left by the diseased tissue after they took a muscle from my back to put over the mesh. I was on life support for five or six days. I am now cancer free, 15 months. I did not have to have any kind of chemo or radiation. My lungs are being monitored now by a sarcoma specialist. This will continue for a few years.

Recovery: I thank God everyday for blessing me with a miracle. Keep the Faith. The power of prayer is awesome. I know God performs miracles, I am One. I have had no cancer related problems since my surgery with the exception of they are watching a small spot on my lungs. However, they believe this is only scar tissue. I have made a full recovery and am better than I have been in years. I did just undergo two surgeries for kidney stones. I have been dealing with them for the past year.

Life Now: I am leading a normal life. I have to wear a medical alert bracelet because of my chest reconstruction. I have no bone in the upper part of my chest. You can see my heart beat. I have to be careful about falling. I do alot of exercises on my glider, walk, read, love computers, my church, my family. I do crocheting, and crafts. Actually, I am better now that ever before.

Thoughts and Hints for New Patients: Make sure you have someone with you when you see your doctors. Write everything down. Get copies of all your medical reports. Fight for yourself. Remember Cancer is not a death sentence. The word and disease are terrifying but research has come so far. Keep the faith. The power of prayer is awesome.

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