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Patient Leader Spotlight: Maria

I’ll always remember the day. On July 16, 2010, I was sitting alone in my doctor’s office, waiting for the results of a recent colonoscopy. When they finally came, the attending nurse couldn’t even make eye contact with me. The gastrologist had found a tumor in my colon, and he scheduled a CAT scan and PET scan to check if my cancer had spread beyond my colon. In a matter of days, I was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer with three metastases in my liver. I was only 46 years old.

My first oncologist set me up with chemotherapy treatment, and I responded very well. After only six treatments I underwent a colon/liver resection, and after surgery, I reached NED status (NO evidence of disease). As of November 2011, my scans were clear. However, despite the promising news, I wasn’t out of the woods yet.

By November 11th, exactly one year after my first liver resection, I had a recurrence. The news was demoralizing. 

Demoralized, but not dissuaded, I began looking into other treatment options after my first resection. It was then that I first heard about Hepatic arterial infusion (HAI) therapy– a form of treatment that delivers chemo directly to the liver. After learning about this innovative treatment option, I sought care at a different hospital, where HAI therapy was available. It was the best decision I have ever made.

An HaiPump was implanted during a second liver resection, and my gallbladder was removed. The surgery was followedby seven months of treatments from the Hai Pump and systemic chemo. Again, I was thrilled to hear I again achieved NED status. However, thanks to regular scans, they caught my second recurrence in December 2013. Another surgery and chemo treatments were scheduled, but all the surgeries and treatments were worth it. After my 2014 round of treatment, my scans are clear! For more than fouryears I’ve had no evidence of disease.

I sincerely believe that, had it not been for the innovative treatment I received, I would not be here today. That’s why I’m went to Capitol Hill with Right Scan Right Time. I want my representatives in Congress to know how vital life-saving medical innovations are for patients like me. And who knows what technology developments could be next? Congress must do everything it can to encourage innovation and end policies like the medical device tax which undermine advancements in treatment and care.

By advocating for patients such as myself on Capitol Hill, I know I'm doing all I can to help future cancer patients fight the greatest fight of their lives.


Showing 2 reactions

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  • Maria Kucharek
    commented 2018-12-07 14:21:12 -0500
    Thank you Right Scan Right Time, so my voice was heard.
  • Amy Butler
    commented 2018-12-07 10:51:27 -0500
    Maria, you are amazing!