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Written by Jane Thomson
My name is Jane Thomson. I am 58 years old, have been married for 35 years, and have three beautiful children and three perfect grandchildren. I was fortunate to have been able to be a stay-at-home mom with my children throughout their younger years. I decided that once they were all in college, I would return to college myself. In September 2011, I had just graduated with a dental hygiene degree and was anxiously waiting for my license and actively looking for employment. That is when my life changed forever.
An emergency room visit revealed a diagnosis of cancer. The colonoscopy and CT scan revealed one tumor, and I was advised to consult with a local surgeon to have it removed. Knowing that cancer was evident in my family tree, my husband and I opted to pursue treatment at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. This is the best decision we ever made. The team of doctors at Mayo Clinic that would eventually guide my care would become an integral part in my life.
My initial consult was with Dr. David Etzioni, Colon and Rectal Surgery, who immediately determined that I had not only one tumor, but it had metastasized into stage IV cancer. I had a total of six tumors, including the original tumor diagnosed in El Paso, Texas, and five additional tumors in my liver. I am convinced that had I not pursued a second opinion at Mayo Clinic, I would most likely not be around to tell my story.
Dr. John Camoriano, Hematology and Oncology, came on board to initiate my treatment with aggressive chemotherapy, which was accompanied by many side effects. Although I was aware and was experiencing all the side effects, nothing prepared me for my hair loss, which was probably the most devastating to me. But no matter what the treatment involved, I knew that I was in the best hands, and I was determined to overcome this monster living inside me. The chemotherapy was very effective, making the original tumors virtually nonexistent by the end of treatment.
A few years later, cancer did return, resulting in many other procedures, including six weeks of radiation, rectal resection with ileostomy, which was reversed, and wedge resection and microwave ablation of my liver, performed by Dr. Adyr Moss, Transplant Surgery.
Treatment is so different at Mayo Clinic. Their network and communication is impressive, which allows me the comfort of knowing I am in the best hands possible. I am not just a patient number, a shadow in the crowd. They truly care about my outcome.
I have been cancer-free since June 2014. I continue to be routinely monitored by the wonderful staff at Mayo Clinic. It is with the care of my doctors that I remain confident I will continue to be that miracle patient that cancer survivors all hope to be.
I am blessed with life! I live life to the fullest, enjoy my family, friends and work. I pray that I continue to be blessed with this miracle of life!