My Treatments And Procedures Are Posted Here

I am a big prevention person, and was always very grateful that I was a healthy person. To make sure I stayed that way I went for my physicals, I worked out regularly, (loved to run) and ate my fruits and veggies. I think I averaged 2 drinks a year and hadn’t had a cigarette in well over 10 years. Even my career was based on prevention. My career was in the health care field as a dental hygienist. I was married 9 years to my husband Francis and had two amazing children.

Without any family history of colon cancer or any other major cancer, and without any previous signs or symptoms I was diagnosed in April 2007 with stage 4 colon cancer. I had many large tumors in my liver and in my colon. I was 31 years old at the time of my diagnosis. My son was 16 months old and my daughter had just turned 3.

This blog was started by my husband almost 5 years ago after I was diagnosed, as a way to keep our family and friends informed of what was going on. It has been so helpful and therapeutic for both my husband and I, and our family and friends and our hope is that it has been helpful in any way large or small to other people dealing with cancer.

The following is a compilation of what treatments, surgeries, and procedures I've had done along with my current health status, so people don't have to wade through all the posts (if they don't want to) and can just get to the logistics of my cancer treatment. I hope it is helpful to those looking for information.

May 2007-October 2007
5fu/Fluorouracil with infusion pump with Leucovorin  and Avastin/Bevacizumab. I had chemo every 2 weeks for 6 months.

November 2007
Attempt at liver resection. Surgery was aborted due to unforeseeable tumors in the left side of my liver. The tumors were ablated RFA and I was sewn back up.

February 2008-July 2008
CPT-11(Camptosar/Irinotecan) with Erbitux/Cetuximab. Chemo was administered every 3 weeks for 6 months. Erbitux was administered every 2 weeks until February 2009.

March 2009
Had liver and colon resection. About 85-90% of my liver was removed along with 10 inches of my colon. All the cancer was removed. I was classified as being cancer free. NED (no evidence of disease).

October 2009
Cancer comes back 1-2 small tumors in the right side of my liver. Due to their proximity to a major artery, surgery is not an option.

January 2010
Our hopes for this treatment was to kill as much of the tumor as could be reached without destruction of the major artery the tumors were sitting on.

April 2010-August 2010
CPT-11(Camptosar/Irinotecan) and Erbitux/Cetuximab. I had CPT-11 plus Erbitux once a month and Erbitux itself every 2 weeks.

August 2010
After the 3 month scan mark following this last round of chemo, it was clear the chemo was ineffective.

October 2010
This treatment has been very effective against my tumors. Prior to the PET/CT scan taken right before the procedure the tumor was highly metabolically active and lit up like a light bulb. Over one year later there is barely a flicker.

January 2012
At the current state of things my cancer is non-detectable. One could say it many different ways, NED, stable, etc. Right now there is no clinical signs of cancer.

2016 As of today May 7th 2016 I am still in remission. I see my oncologist every 2 months for follow-up and blood work and I continue to get scans every 6 months.


Michelle said...

Thinking of you and your family. I wish the best of health for you.
Michelle Scotti (Anthony's Mom)

Chaithanya said...

Your title is "Putting the "can" in Cancer" , but you had "put the cancer in a can(trash)".. Happy to know you are normal now. Happy journey(new life)

Anonymous said...

I am very touched that people like you think of spreading joy to others even through your most difficult times. I find my father has always been generous, and continues to be even after his own diagnosis. You have given me hope and strength. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Fredrik C said...

This is to me an amazing story. Such a fighter! And seems you had doctors promoting the fight, trying different approaches. I hope you can enjoy the "freedom"!

Anonymous said...

Please tell me you are still well and in remission. You havent posted for some time, so I would love to hear you are still living life and doing well.

Anonymous said...

Karen what a blessing you are for all of us stage 4 fighters!.u have given me so much days were so dark before i discovered your i feel u have given me the strength to fight.especially with your wonderfully detailed posts which demystified surgery and took away a lot of my fear knowing if there are some hiccups, it can still turn out o.k.warmest wishes to u and your family.and as us Greek Australians say "may u live to be 100".i am so sure u will get very close!

Micah said...

Your blog is very inspiring and it gives me so much hope for the future. I was recently diagnosed colon cancer stage IV. It's probably the hardest news to hear but It's nice to hear successful stories! you have such an amazing story!

Karen Shanahan said...

Micah, I am sorry you have gotten this diagnosis. I know it's mind blowing. Please feel free to contact me if you want to through the contact me part of the blog. I would be happy to email with you. Praying for you. Karen

Caroline said...

Hi Karen, I was dx with stage 4 in dec 2015. I search high and low for a case similar to mine that seems to have beat the odds. I came upon your story. It has given me so much strength through alot of hard times. 18 months later after fortnightly Chemo abs many second opinions I have had liver surgery. Still am not NED but hopefully will be soon. Need to ablate 2 dead calucified tumours in my liver.
Hope and pray you are still NED.
Caroline (Australia)