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Mary Carr - Patient Story

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"I felt like finally somebody was finally paying attention and listening to me - and it was Dr. Farma."

— Mary Carr, Colon Cancer Survivor

I started feeling ill in January 2011. My stomach was constantly upset and I couldn’t hold down food. My local doctor said I had the flu, but my weight continued to decrease over the next several months. That doctor sent me to an internist, who also could not find the cause of my illness. In May, the internist ordered a colonoscopy.

During the colonoscopy and while under the twilight anesthesia, I could hear the doctors talking. Then I heard one of them say that there was something there and that the colonoscopy procedure could go no further. Another doctor in the room asked whether it was colon cancer, and the answer was yes. While I was being wheeled out of the room, I said to the nurse, “So, I have colon cancer?” One of the doctors who performed the colonoscopy told me to make an appointment right away with Jeffrey M. Farma, MD, FACS, a surgical oncologist at Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Dr. Farma reviewed my test results, listened to my story about being ill for several months, and said that it had gone on way too long. He ordered a virtual colonoscopy and scheduled surgery the day after. Dr. Farma explained that the tumor was wrapped around my colon and told me exactly what was going to happen with my treatment. I felt that someone finally was paying attention and listening to me.

He also explained that he would attempt to remove the tumor using a laparoscopic, or minimally invasive, procedure. I was hoping that would mean that I would wake up and be able to return to work a few days later, but unfortunately, that did not turn out to be the case. During my procedure, Dr. Farma discovered numerous complications. My colon was severely inflamed with diverticulitis, and the tumor had encroached on my ovaries.

Dr. Farma and his team had to remove the ovaries and resection my bowel, leaving me with quite an incision. My postsurgical results fortunately showed that there was no cancer in the tissue surrounding the tumor and that the nearby lymph nodes were cancer-free. After recovery, Anthony J. Olszanski, MD, RPh, a medical oncologist at Fox Chase, started me on a six-month course of chemotherapy.

The doctors dealt with my complications with incredible skill. Every single person I met at Fox Chase was excellent, and I can’t say enough good things. My faith, my family and friends, and the good doctors at Fox Chase got me through this. Those other doctors just kept missing the problem. I am very lucky that I found Dr. Farma when I did.

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