Victoria was diagnosed in January 2017 at the age of 58 with stage IV adenocarcinoma NSCLC with metastases to the liver and bones.
The process of a diagnosis began when she went to the doctor in June for a check-up and reported that she felt more tired than usual. She was told she was fine. She returned to the doctor in September when in addition to fatigue, she was also clearing her throat a lot. She was told she had post nasal drip. She returned again in November with a dry cough and thought she might have a mild case of pneumonia. Again, she was told she was fine. This time, however, she insisted on an X-ray. A mass was seen in one lung, which prompted an immediate CT scan. The scan showed a mass in her lung that was suspicious for cancer as well as possible metastases in her liver. At this point, Victoria’s doctor recommended she see a surgeon about a biopsy. Ultimately she was not a candidate for surgery, but that consultation served as her port of entry into the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) system. There, she received a biopsy via interventional radiology, CT scans, PET scans, brain MRI, bone scans, genomic testing, assignment to a thoracic oncologist, and a treatment plan of chemotherapy.
Victoria was devastated by her diagnosis, which was compounded when she was told she had no treatable mutations. Because of the bone metastases, her doctors recommended that she stop running, which was another blow. Victoria stayed with chemotherapy for 9 months, even though by June 2017 the ROS1 mutation had been identified. Later that summer, once she knew she was ROS1+, Victoria went to Boston and consulted with Dr. Alice Shaw.
In September 2017, after seeing some progression, Victoria entered the repotrectinib trial at MSK with Dr. Alexander Drilon. She responded well to repotrectinib for two years but then a suspicious mass was discovered in her uterus and she had a hysterectomy. A flare-up of metabolic activity in her femur around the same time led to having her leg radiated, too. At first, it was thought she had developed a secondary cancer but after a month of testing, it was all determined to be lung cancer. Her scans since the surgery have been stable and so she will continue treatment on the repotrectinib trial.
Through all of this Victoria has worked very hard to continue to live her life maybe the same, but better. Cancer makes everything more complicated or more simple depending on your point of view. Victoria is married, has three adult children ages 32, 30, and 26, works full time in the book publishing industry, and cares for her elderly mother who lives with a home health aide nearby. Victoria says “My family and my friends are my everything. I have always been a planner so one of my biggest challenges is to learn to live in the moment and enjoy life to the fullest one day at a time.”