Carla Keepes

My name is Carla and my journey with this rare cancer began March 2019. I am a registered nurse and worked in the emergency room and had recently noticed urine incontinence within myself. I went to a urologist and they did a cystoscope which revealed a mass. Seven months later and after several test and six rounds of chemotherapy, they began treating me for colon cancer. That wiped me out, chemo was very hard on me.

I finally decided I needed to see a specialist to further investigate and went to MD Anderson and saw Dr. Fournier. I was then properly diagnosed with stage 4 appendix cancer/pseudomyxoma peritonei. I had surgery in October 2019, CRS with HIPEC and I did well, (as well as expected) considering they dub this surgery the ‘MOAS: Mother Of All Surgeries’. I then went back for my six month check up and everything looked good!

The next six month check up, unfortunately my tumors were growing again around the right side of my lung and diaphragm. I ended up a year later October 2020 having another surgery. I had to have  reconstruction, resection of my diaphragm and lung with another HIPEC. This was a very hard surgery to recover. They took out one of my ribs and I had a lot of pain on my right side of my back and shoulder. After another year, I returned to have scans and blood work. But now, I have a vaginal cuff tumor. Dr. Fournier wants me to do radiation at MD Anderson. Dr. Fournier says that if it doesn’t work, we will have to do another CRS HIPEC surgery. That’s what I am now waiting to do at this time!

I would have never dreamed that this would be the journey that I would be on. As mentioned, I’ve been a registered nurse for 20+ years and I’ve seen a lot, but never have I seen this kind of cancer. I am a wife, a mother of three children, a grandmother of three grand children with another one on the way in January 2022. I feel very blessed to be alive at this time and I give all the glory to God for my strength through this all. I have an amazing husband, family and support system with my children and their spouses. And I have four wonderful friends that give me a lot of support and strength. The prayers that go up for me, help me to continue this journey and help me keep fighting! Blessings and prayers for all of us that are going through this battle. You got this!