Name: Rachel Lefebvre
Age at Diagnosis: 40
I had just turned 40 and thought I should see my doctor to discuss my constant feelings of exhaustion. Thankfully, my doctor sent me for an ultrasound when she saw that my liver enzymes were slightly elevated. “Overkill” I thought, but I complied.
As a “shadow” was seen on my liver, I was sent for a follow-up MRI. The results showed a liver full of spots and the report indicated that the results were “consistent with metastatic disease”. A liver biopsy confirmed the cancer and pointed to the colon as the primary source. A colonoscopy found a tumor in my ascending colon. Given how badly the liver was invaded, there was no time for surgery and I started right away on chemotherapy. I was very lucky to have such a thorough doctor, especially when I did not have the typical signs and symptoms of colon cancer.
I feel like I am already living on borrowed time. My initial oncologist had given me 2 years and here I am 2.5 years later and still going strong! I have had over 50 chemotherapy infusions, I had radioembolization of the liver where radiation beads were put right into my liver. Due to complications from this procedure, my gallbladder had to be surgically removed and at the same time, they removed the tumor in my colon. I was feeling on top of my game but after being off chemo for 3 months to do these procedures, a flurry of nodules appeared on my lungs. More intense chemotherapy followed and I have responded really well. I am now on maintenance chemotherapy and just had a microwave ablation done on the last spot on my liver that was showing activity!
It has been quite a journey but my precious boys (10 and 11) as well as my loving husband are my constant source of inspiration to keep me going on everyday. I am a licensed psychologist and have been able to continue doing what I love, helping people through their own crisis and I am now very passionate about helping others deal with the emotional roller-coaster of this disease. I am not ready to say that cancer was a gift but it has brought me many gifts. I now know what it means to see life as a gift and to live life fully everyday.