Theresa Germano – New Jersey
Theresa Germano was diagnosed in February of 2018 with Stage 4 GE junction cancer (esophagus and stomach intersection) that had spread to her liver. This news led her daughter Adriana and son-in-law Tony to sell their home within 30 days and move in with Theresa as official caregivers. Just nine years prior, Adriana’s father died from stomach cancer within six short weeks of his diagnosis, so taking care of her mother was a top priority for her and her husband.
Initially, Theresa was hospitalized for two weeks because she was underweight and malnourished from limited swallowing due to the blockage. Due to her insurance, she had to wait for forty days post-diagnosis to start her first chemo treatment for esophageal cancer at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper in Camden, NJ. Theresa continued with thirteen more rounds of chemo, followed by twenty-two of the prescribed twenty-five treatments of radiation. Though she didn’t undergo surgery, she received a G-tube to help deliver 90% of her nutrition with Nutren, a high protein shake, three times a day.
Theresa’s cancer responded very well to the treatment. After just four rounds of chemo, her GE tumor shrunk to half its size. She continued to do well regarding efforts to eliminate the cancer, despite the brutal physical and emotional debilitations that often come with treatments. She continued with immunotherapy (Herceptin) every three weeks, which seemed to help keep the cancer at bay.
In July of 2019, a CT scan revealed that the tumor had returned. As a result, Theresa’s regimen changed from Herceptin to Keytruda every three weeks, and again, she was able to eradicate the cancer rather quickly.
Adriana and Tony decided to move into an apartment down the street from Theresa in October 2019. Since then, Theresa has been undetectable for over a year, and she continues treatment with Keytruda, with little to no side effects. Her family remains hopeful and grateful that everything is going well for Theresa and they pray for her continued strength.