• Cancer Patient Stories

    Carol’s Story: Hepatitis C and Liver Cancer

This article was submitted by Scott Van Dyke, Carol's husband and caregiver

Carol Van Dyke entered Mayo Clinic in June 2002 to discuss treatments for her Hepatitis C which had caused stage 4 cirrhosis of the liver. She had a blood transfusion in 1964 to stop bleeding from a hysterectomy due to a miscarriage.

Carol & Scott Van Dyke and youngest grandson, Colton
Carol & Scott Van Dyke and youngest grandson, Colton

During her three-day checkup, she was told that X-rays had found a cancerous tumor on her liver. So, instead of talking about her Hepatitis C treatments, she was operated on at Rochester Methodist Hospital for the removal of about 10% of her liver. During surgery, another tumor near the first one was also removed. With the “clean cut,” no further treatments (chemotherapy, radiation, etc.) were required.

After four months recovery, Carol returned to get extensive instruction for the treatment of her Hepatitis C. She was instructed to return home (Tulsa, OK), start taking Interferon shots weekly (given by her) and Ribavirin pills twice daily. This treatment had all the side effects of chemo and radiation (loss of hair, fatigue, nausea, anorexia, blurred vision, insomnia, etc.). In addition, she was to get a blood test every Monday and have the results faxed to her Mayo Clinic doctor, Dr. Conor Loftus. She had to literally crawl up the stairs to get to the second floor of her house.

After six months treatment and several visits back to Mayo Clinic, she stopped the treatment. Tests showed that the Hepatitis C was gone!!!

Carol has returned to Mayo Clinic every six months for a checkup (23 trips to Mayo Clinic since June 2002) for the Hepatitis C and her liver. Each trip has shown a clean bill of health. She now works out and plays golf two to three times a week. She recently played in a club tourney for three days in 100 degree temperature. She is a walking miracle!!!

I have shared this story with numerous people, including Hepatitis C people. This is being sent to you after reading the “Sharing Mayo Clinic” articles.

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