Wednesday Words

Welcome to Wednesday Words here at Ashley's Art Closet. I heart Wednesday Words! I never really know where it's going to take us. Today, I have Tania from Standish, Maine with us. Tania is going to share insight into her personal recently short journey of liver cancer honoring Liver Cancer Awareness month. October is almost over people, let's rock this out by welcoming Tania, I am so glad you are with us. It means a lot to me and others you took the time today to share with us your story. Go green! 

Briefly, share with us what life was like before cancer. 

I am a 32 year old wife and mother of 2.  We were married on August 272005.  Our oldest daughter Paige Rose was born on August 8, 2006, and our youngest Caitlyn Renee was born May 5, 2008.   I was/am self-employed, I own Tania’s Tots Preschool and have been in business for 9 years.  I have a bachelors degree in Early Childhood Special Education. I love teaching. I opened my business September 5, 2005, the day after we returned from our honeymoon in a 250 square foot room and have since expanded to a 1350 square foot building with 2 classrooms and 2 other teachers. 

Share with us how you found out.  What were your symptoms?

In March of 2012, my best friend and I decided that we were going to start running.  We were both turning 30, had kiddos and wanted to get into shape.  We started training for a 5k and were running 3-4 days a week.  It was exhausting.  I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t build up my endurance. We attributed it to working in the preschool 50-60 hours a week, being a busy mom and the running.  I completed my 1st 5k but was experiencing shortness of breath and shoulder pain.  One night a few of us went out to dinner and I felt a pop in my side, a few hours later I was in pain.  I honestly thought it was my gallbladder.  I spent 2 days in bed taking Tylenol and Advil around the clock.  Monday morning I had reached my breaking point.  We put our oldest on the school bus and my husband drove me to the emergency room.  It was our 7th Anniversary, and we were spending the day in the ER.  A technician came in to complete an ultrasound and the look on his face told me there was a BIG problem.  15 minutes later my room was full of doctors and nurses.  They told me I had a “hepatic adenoma” and it had ruptured bleeding into my liver.  They admitted me to the hospital and the next day they performed an embolization to stop the building.  I spent 2 more days in the hospital and was released.  I was set up with Dr. Lisa Rutstein surgical liver oncologist.  She monitored the adenoma by MRI every 90 days then we would meet.  In April 2014, 20 months after the rupture we decided to do a resection to remove the tumor.  I set sub plans for the summer for my preschool and prepared for surgery.  The resection was on Wednesday, June 11th.  The resection went well and within 5 days I was home.  The day after I came home I logged into my computer to read my charts and saw my pathology report.  The first words I saw were “findings, Fibrolamellar Hepatacellular Carcinoma.”  It was not an adenoma.  I instantly cried and got on the internet and began the investigation process.  The next day I called my surgeon and we had a meeting to develop a plan.  She told me she needed to do a 2nd resection to clear the margins and remove a section of my diaphragm.  I told her to schedule it asap.  So on July 2, 2014, exactly 21 days after the first resection I had a 2nd larger resection.  Again within 5 days I was home.  The 2nd recovery was much harder and even as I write this in October 2014 I am not 100% back to being me.   Hearing/Seeing the word cancer was terrifying.  I am mom of 2 girls…they need their mom…I knew that this was going to be a fight.  I will not go down without trying everything possible. 

What has your course of treatment been?

Currently, I have had the 2 resections and a post resection MRI.  Everything has come back clear.  I am taking a “holistic” approach.  Eating as clean as possible, raw honey and cinnamon, green tea, a few cups of coffee a day, etc.

Emotionally, how have you handled everything?

I am a FIGHTER.  I always have been.  I am a feisty, do not mess we with kind of person.  I am also determined to know everything I can about this form of cancer.  I will educate myself and everyone I know.  I am going to take a proactive approach and try to keep it at bay. If I can’t keep it at bay I will fight it every step of the way.

Tell us what have you learned throughout this process?

This is a new journey, but I have learned that there is a great support group through Facebook, Fibrolamellars of the World Unite. I have learned that I am stronger than I thought I could be.  I know that there are no guarantees in life and that you have to enjoy every moment.  I think it is very helpful that my surgeon was willing to fight for me too.  She didn’t lose hope or tell me that it was impossible she was willing to take a risk and do 2 surgeries back to back to give me the greatest chance I had.  

Tania thank you so much for being with us today. I am completely honored to share your story. I pray many, many blessings on you and your family. I look forward to staying in touch with your throughout the rest of your journey so we can continue to celebrate…free, free, free! I like that you're a fighter! I like that you're taking a holistic approach to all this, healthy eating! We must all embark on eating healthier, not just because we want to diet, rather it's the healthier route for our precious bodies.

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