Genetics, Risk, and Hope with Ampullary Cancer: Adrienne’s Immunotherapy Story
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Genetics, Risk, and Hope with Ampullary Cancer: Adrienne’s Immunotherapy Story


Having a genetic mutation,
it’s not if, it’s when. You just get so caught up in this and you don’t want it
to be your whole life. You want to to have life in other ways. I have a very full life. I have a full-time job,
I have four daughters I have a new grandson I play tennis, I do yoga,
I have Joe in my life we do lots of fun things. Joe and I met two months
before I was diagnosed. He lost his wife of 26 years to cancer. He’s a remarkable man I’m very lucky to meet
somebody like-minded who enjoys so much of the
same things that I do. I have something called Lynch syndrome which is a family genetic mutation. Lynch syndrome is 80 to 90% lifetime risk of digestive tract cancers. I had been losing weight I was jaundiced when I went
in for the annual colonoscopy. I got a call within two hours
saying something’s wrong. It was a pretty fast diagnosis that turned serious extremely quick. On February 26, 2013, I went into surgery. I came to several hours later and he said we couldn’t do it because it spread. You have spots on your liver it’s ampullary cancer stage four. We went through three
different kinds of chemo. I’ve never been sicker in
my life, it was horrible. I did it for a year. Because my cancer was MSI high I was eligible for a clinical
trial at Johns Hopkins. I get a call saying if you can get down here
tomorrow, we’ll treat you. In the clinical trial, I
received pembrolizumab. I would go down every two
weeks. I would take the train I would go up, I would get the infusion I would get back on the train. Immunotherapy is really about enhancing your body’s own ability to fight cancer. There was no side effects. I got all my hair back, no neuropathy I felt great. I would have a biopsy three months following
the first treatment. The surgeon who did it
came over to me, he said if somebody hadn’t told
me ampullary cancer I wouldn’t have known, there’s
nothing there, it’s gone. My last treatment was
April 2016, and here I am almost three years later,
and I’m doing fine. I’m so glad I’m going to be around to watch my grandson grow up. I’m grateful that my
daughters live close by. The Cancer Research Institute is the reason that cancer is being addressed with immunotherapy and their research not only saved my life but will potentially save
members of my family. I’m alive, life is great I don’t have anything that
gets in the way of me living. I don’t have to worry about this purely and simply because
I got cured of this cancer in a way that did not
compromise the rest of my body. Immunotherapy is absolutely the wave of the future and present.

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