About Lisa Woody
I am a 50 year old occupational medicine physician and mother of four children. My children are a 22 year old daughter who graduated from Indiana University, is married and living in NYC looking for her break into an acting career; a 21 year old daughter who is a senior at Colorado State University applying to vet school; a 16 year old daughter who is a high school junior and fantastic middle hitter on the varsity volleyball team; and a 14 year old boy who is a high school freshman and trumpet player. The children who are still at home spend half their time with me and half with their dad. I am remarried to a PhD biologist. My annual physical was in November of 2007 and I passed with flying colors and normal labs. In January 2008 I began having problems with off and on again back pain in a location that made me think I might have a kidney stone. At the end of February it became persistent and I went to see my internist. She ordered a CT scan which showed masses in my T10 vertebral body, accounting for the back pain, my right adrenal gland and three in my liver. My liver function tests were mildly elevated, after being normal in November. A CT of the chest showed a 2 cm lesion in the upper lobe of my right lung. A CT directed biopsy of the spinal mass showed a poorly differentiated adenocarcinoma of pulmonary origin. On March 11, 2008 I was officially diagnosed with stage IV non small cell lung cancer.
When I was in medical school and my internal medicine residency this was a very poor prognosis diagnosis - one which usually resulted in a recommendation for comfort measures only. Luckily, I was referred to an oncologist who worked very hard to educate me about the advances in treatment of lung cancer and was able to reach my core of optimism going into treatment. Because the largest lesion in my liver progressed rapidly with very rapid increases in my liver function tests we started chemotherapy with Carboplatin, Taxol and Avastin on March 18. The liver function tests were normal by the fourth cycle and CT scans showed modest decreases in the size of the largest mass in the liver. After eight cycles of this chemotherapy a scan showed stable disease compared to the scan after the 6th cycle and we decided to switch to second line therapy with Tarceva, which I will start on Thursday, September 11.
I feel great, especially the last week. It’s been four weeks since the last cycle of Carbo/Taxol/Avastin and with just that one week past my usual 3 week cycle my energy level is back to normal and all other side effects are waning. I continue to work full time and participate in all my kids’ activities - two things very important to me. I’m aware that I have an incurable disease and that the aim of treatment is to give me more high quality life than I would have without it. All treatment decisions are made with that in mind. I love my life and plan to enjoy every minute I’m blessed with.