Jordan & Danielle
Cardiac AS Dx June 2010
R.I.P. 12/30/83 – 4/23/11
During the springtime of 2010 I was having a lot of chest pains. I went to a primary care doctor and he said it was just heartburn or a chest virus not to worry. Weeks went by and the pain still continued. The first week of June I began throwing up every night around 2 am. I would work all day and be fine; I’m a 26-year-old married high school Math Teacher. Yet, at night I would be extremely sick. Finally, my husband insisted we go to the ER. They took x-rays and realized I had a lot of fluid around my heart and decided to keep me over night for observation. Unfortunately, things were getting worse and the doctors did not know why. I took just about every test you can think of and met with every type of specialist. My eyes were blood shot red because of the vomiting; I was losing weight and getting weaker. Consequently, my husband decided to transfer me to another hospital. As soon as we got to the other hospital, the doctors looked at my records and said we need to go to surgery immediately! They rushed me to surgery where I had a partial Pericardectomy with Sternotomy; for weeks I had 5 tubes inside of me draining fluid to medical bins around my bed. We thought this was as bad as it could get.
However, after the surgery, the doctors concluded that the cause of the fluid in my lungs and heart was a tumor. Thus, June 2010 I was diagnosed with Cardiac Angiosarcoma. The doctors told us this type of cancer had no cause, was very rare, aggressive and no type of treatment would work, but they would still try their best (this conversation was the most dreadful conversation I ever had). They also said they could not operate to remove the tumor because of its size. So I started chemotherapy, which consisted of 6 rounds of doxorubicin and taxol every 3 weeks for 3 nights. Due to the location of the tumor I spent several weeks in the Intensive Care Unit. In the ICU I received special attention and did physical therapy for weeks because I could not walk. However, things got a little better, I started walking with a walker and I was transferred to the step down unit. Yet, the doctors were still very concerned because I was starting to develop new problems. They told my family I only had a few months to live and they started giving me pamphlets on the end of life. Although the doctors were negative, we remained positive and our friends and family prayed for us daily. The doctors were convinced I was on my way out so they tried to make things very comfortable for my husband and I. They transferred me to the top floor of the hospital, where the hallways are carpeted, every room is a single with a flat screen TV and modern bathroom; fresh fruit and sweets were offered daily, somebody came to play the piano routinely; the view was beautiful and one night they even gave me and my husband a romantic dinner overlooking the Hudson (I couldn’t eat but my husband tried to).
Nonetheless, things improved and by the end of July I was able to go home. I was responding well to the treatment because the tumor started to shrink! So from the end of July up until November of 2010, I went back and forth to the hospital for overnight treatments. The treatments and medication I was taking had side effects, such as, hair loss (hair on my head, body, eyelashes, eyebrows), weight loss, appetite loss, constipation, fatigue, discharge, loss of menstrual cycle, nail discoloration, aches and pains and sometimes common cold symptoms. Due to the extreme vomiting and nausea I was having I started acupuncture. Acupuncture definitely helped reduce nausea and helped my body maintain its internal balance (i.e. my menstrual cycle returned).
On October 1, 2010 I did another MRI and on October 6, 2010, my doctor called to give me the results. He stated, “The scans look great.” We were shocked because he was very pessimistic and never gave any good news. My husband responded, “Well, what does great mean?” The doctor said, “The tumor is gone! The scans came back perfect! She’s in remission.” My heart dropped and I started crying uncontrollably and praising God! It was a miracle. The doctors were amazed! It was the talk of the hospital. My husband had become acquainted with some of the doctors who treated me and they even called him in shock! My cardiologist cried when he found out the diagnoses and was overwhelmed when he found out the results! So I am so grateful that God healed me and spared my life. I went from my deathbed to cancer free. Even though the tumor left, I had to complete the treatment, so I just finished my last round of chemotherapy the second week of November!