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Peter’s Survival Story

I came down with appendicitis during spring break, March of 2007. I was taken in to Howard County Hospital and operated on and released the next day. A week later I went and saw the general surgeon that removed my appendix for a follow up visit. He had informed me that I had a that I had a carcinoid tumor in my appendix, as he explained it just a headache nothing to be worried about, and that there was a positive marker on my colon. He said it would be a easy procedure to eliminate the marker, a hemi-colectomy and we’re done.

At the time a had a cousin who had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was undergoing treatment, she had urged me to seek a second opinion and to see an oncologist. My sister-in law a nurse, did some research on appendix cancer and luckily there were 3 well known surgical oncologists in the area, Dr. Sugarbaker in DC, Dr. Sardi and Dr. Esquivel in Baltimore. So I made an appointment to see Dr. Sardi at Mercy hospital, thank goodness I did. He saw something different in my pathology, and diagnosed it as a Goblet Cell Carcinoma which is not “just a headache”.

Being in good health this was a shock to me, I couldn’t believe it and sought another opinion, which lead me to Dr. Esquivel at St. Agnes hospital. The diagnosis was the same from them, a GCC. They described the treatment would be a hemi-colectomy and something call HI-PEC, or Hyperthermic Intraoperative Peritoneal Chemotherapy. They would cut me open, remove half of my colon, then while I was still on the table run heated chemotherapy medicine through my peritoneal cavity for 90 minutes. After hearing this I was pretty much in shock, and unsure what the future would be. I then decided just to go at it day by day and not think about the unknown.

I set my priorities as, surgery and recovery and that’s it. I told myself I wouldn’t worry about anything else until the reports were in. The my recovery was swift, I was only in the hospital for 8 days, thanks to the wonderful staff at St. Agnes. My tests have been clear for the past 3 years. I guess the key is to find a doctor that you are comfortable with and just listen to them, stay positive and take it day by day.