sharonmarie's Journey:

Survivor: Stomach Cancer

Patient Info: Living with cancer as a chronic illness (undergoing adjuvant therapy), Diagnosed: over 49 years ago, Female, Age: 64

  1. 1
    about 4 years ago
    sharonmarie's Avatar


    Oh No

    I was diagnosed with Leiomyosarcoma of the stomach when I was 14 years old and turned 15 in the hospital on April 8, 1967. The doctors told my Mother I had 3 months. But they never told me. I turned 60 this past April. I was told there was a tumor, they removed it and i could just resume my life. My main concern was my scar was going to show in my bathing suit. LOL. 3 weeks after surgery I dragged myself to the dances I had been attending because I had a boyfriend and Nothing was going to keep me home and miss out on that. My Mom made me promise that i would not dance any fast songs. Sure thing Mom.LOL I finally found out what the truth of the matter was at the age of 18 when I announced I was getting married. Mom took me off to my surgeon to hear from him if I could have children . Dr. Robert Keeley was the top surgeon in Roanoke at the time and I was grateful for all he did for me. It now made sense about all those trips back for check ups.I was very naive. he told us that life could be normal with children if I wished. ( He had 15 himself) I guess I should add how we knew something was wrong in the first place.There was some discomfort, I wouldn't say pain. The main symptom was extreme fatigue. I would have to sit down just to walk from the car in front of our house to the front door. My Mom threatened me with a visit to the doctor and I said "take me". she then realized I was really ill. Before I made it to the doctor I became nauseated and threw up what appeared to be chocolate. Mom questioned me and I assured her I hadn't ate chocolate. We proceeded to Dr. Keeleys and he saw I was anemic. They diagnosed it as an ulcer and started to send me home with a prescription. Before I got out the door I threw up bright red blood. They sent me immediately to the hospital. They ran me through a series of tests and finally after a barium X-ray they found the tumor in my stomach.I was so scared. The nurses had a small celebration for my 15th birthday and wouldn't let me eat the icing on the cake. My surgery was as I remember the 10th or 11th of April, 1967.

  2. 2
    about 4 years ago
    sharonmarie's Avatar


    Procedure or Surgery

    My surgery was a mid line incision from the sternum to the belly button.Dr. Keeley removed as he said "a contained tumor". I was sewed up with cat gut and 3 large twine sutures to hold i am guessing internal organs in place.I think I was in the hospital a little over a week.There was a lot of pain during the healing process. There was only Demerol or Morphine to help with pain. Remember I was not told I had cancer. I only thought I had a tumor and I would get better and my life would go on after this "setback". I truly believe that not having that knowledge gave me a mindset that I only saw myself getting better. I later learned that Leiomyosarcoma usually hit older men and there was only a .5% chance that I would recover.This type of cancer had no chemo that would help or radiation therapy.

    Went as Expected: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA