My name is Pamela Fedowich and I am your average 38 year old, except that every three months I go to a local cancer hospital for regular CT scans. This has now become my normal, average life, and I cope and live with being a cancer patient every day of that so called “normal” life. Some days I do that better than others…but that’s “normal” too!
I grew up on Long Island, but now live in Westchester with my husband of three years. Despite being diagnosed with this disease in 2003, which changed my life, he decided to go through the journey with me, and for that I am grateful. We had a beautiful cancer-free wedding in October of 2004, but in August of 2006 it was confirmed that my GIST had metastasized to my liver. Despite this, I take my gleevec everyday and count my blessings. I have a lot of faith and the power to be positive- when I choose to be.
The thing that stands out for me about having GIST cancer is that it doesn’t end. It’s not like you go for tumor removal, get a chemotherapy treatment, and voila, it’s gone. FOr many people with GIST, we live with tumors still inside our bodies that are “sleeping” or dormant, while we take this medication. I thought, “All is well, I’ll take this miracle drug and my cancer will retreat into the background.” Then, you find out that the average time is only two years that a tumor responds, in other words, after about two years, many tumors become resistant. OF course, this is only an average, and I try to think I’ll go past that average. In fact, I try not to think about that at all.
For every bit of good news, it seems like there is bad, and for every miracle drug, there are side effects. However, this roller coaster ride is not realized by most people when they think of cancer.
Despite this seemingly negative image I have just portrayed to you, I am a positive, powerful, courageous and inspirational person, most of the time!! The Gist walks, promotions(with your help),and seeing the equipment that labs buy with the money we raise keeps my hopes up as well as my chin up!! It restores my faith in humanity, and my faith that I will remain one step behind technology.
Looking like your typical blonde hair, green eyed girl (well, now woman) on the outside, people never guess that I carry this burdon, and my disease is hidden from most since I don’t have any syptoms of a typical cancer patient going through traditional treatment. That is why it is easy for all the people in your life to “forget”- because you don’t “look sick.” Sickness comes in many different forms, and raising awareness and money to assist researchers with all aspects of this disease is well worth my time and energy! I know other people would agree if they even knew about it!!!