Katrina Morgan's Survivor Story
My name is Katrina Morgan, and I'm a cancer survivor.
The last two years of my life have been the most scary and educational years I have had. I'm a firm believer that "God never gives us more then we can handle." So here it goes...
I was first diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma in July 2015 after I had a surgery to remove what was supposed to be a "very large fibroid." I had been experiencing bouts of pain and pressure in my female parts for a few months. I went to my local ER several different times and they did the same thing each time: I was given pain meds and had a CT scan done of my pelvis.
I was first told that I had evidence of an ovarian cyst rupture. Then a few months later when I returned to that ER I was told I had a large fibroid. I was sick of hearing that and told them I wasn't leaving the hospital without an order for an MRI. I was given the order and scheduled the MRI the next week.
When my general practitioner saw the results of the MRI she admitted there was a solid mass and that this kind of thing was out of her level of expertise, so she referred me to The University of Utah. She said that most the time if it’s a cyst you can see the fluid, and she couldn't see any on my results.
So, that next week I drove 250 miles to Salt Lake City to see an OB-GYN at the university. This doctor took one look at the MRI and referred me to gynecological oncologist Mark K. Dodson, MD. At this point I was so scared I couldn't even think. My husband and I made our way to Dr. Dodson's office where he did another pelvic exam and told me he didn't think it was cancer but thought it was just a large fibroid. He gave me a few options. He could put me on some hormones to try and shrink it, he could biopsy it, but warned that because of how big the mass was there was a chance he could miss the cancer cells, or he could roll me into the operating room and cut it out.
I wanted the thing out of me, so on July 6, 2015 I had my first ever surgery to remove the mass. The surgery took 6-1/2 hours and required 42 staples to close me up. When I woke up I was relieved it was "over". Dr. Dodson came in a day later to tell me that surgery went well and that he would have the pathology report back in a few days and would contact me. After a few more days in the hospital I was released to go home.
A week and a half later Dr. Dodson called me with the worst new I have ever heard... It's Cancer.
It was a very rare and aggressive tumor called leiomyosarcoma. The next step was treatment. My mom and I had to move to Salt Lake City for five weeks while I received radiation once a day every day for five weeks, as well as a chemo called Taxol once a week. This was during September 2015.
In December 2015 I had a total abdominal hysterectomy. Dr. Dodson told me after surgery that he didn't see and other tumors or any evidence of any cancer. I was able to return home and enjoy the holidays. As a precaution, I started more chemo in January called Gem/Tax, which was hard on me and I lost all my hair. I was lucky with the first bit of chemo and kept all my hair... not this time around!
My last infusion was April 24, 2016 and I was deemed NED (no evidence of disease). Everything finally felt like it was going back to normal. I started working again in June after allowing myself to heal for a few months. Then in October 2016 I felt a pain in my lower right pelvis and called my doctors in Utah to schedule a CT scan. Sure enough, there was a new mass.
On November 2, 2016 I had another surgery to yet again remove the mass. The pathology came back as Leiomyosarcoma. I was devastated. This time around I opted to see a sarcoma specialist. I met with a doctor at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Utah. I had to have another CT scan, which showed no masses of any kind, so the specialist decided that chemo wasn't needed. I have been put on an anti-estrogen medication, because she believes estrogen was "feeding" the tumors. I will scan every three months for three years, and will continue to pray it NEVER comes back. For now I'm back at work and enjoying the life I share with my husband and our two dogs!
Update: Katrina passed away August 9, 2017. You can read her obituary here.