Denise Leprine-New York
It all began in Oct 2016 when I was going for routine blood work every few months after being diagnosed with diabetes. My blood work showed me extremely anemic even though I didn’t exhibit and signs or symptoms. I ended up admitted to the hospital resulting in an 11-day stay.
All the initial tests came back negative, but a biopsy came back showing stomach cancer. In hindsight, I had some symptoms but nothing that caused much alarm to me or even my doctor. They always say your life can change in an instant and it sure did. There is no manual on what to do when you are told you have cancer! I began researching my options. I was determined to fight this diagnosis the best I could. I started to research all the statistics including the total number of stomach cancer cases in United States annually, the survival rates and number of people who die annually. I investigated which hospitals and surgeons saw the most patients with stomach cancer and ultimately did the most surgeries and what the outcomes were. On Dec 1, 2016 I met my oncologist. Based on the test results, he presented me with the recommended approach to treat my stomach cancer which included pre and post chemo with Oxiplatain and Zeloda. The “main event,” as both my surgeon and oncologist explained, would be the surgery. The intent of the chemo was to hopefully shrink the tumor, kill anything else that might not have been seen with the previous test and get some of the rounds done while I was still stronger prior to surgery. On Feb. 6, 2017 I underwent surgery. I faired very well through the surgery as well as post-surgery. I was in the hospital five days. I went from not being able to eat anything for the first 12 hour to eating regular food within 72 hours. I needed to eat small portions; however, I was shocked I was able to eat regular food. During the entire time, I remained Positive, Faithful, Strong! I knew I was going to live or die, and I was determined to put my best self forward. I told everyone I knew the reality and seriousness of my situation. If I was fortunate to make it through and live, I would pay it forward and share my story in hopes of helping others. I also want to help bring awareness to this disease and be an advocate for funding to help saves lives! A day does not pass that I am not aware how fortunate I am to open my eyes and face the day! I continue to live each day with deep gratitude and thanksgiving. It is my hope I can help provide others support and inspiration!