Wednesday Warrior – Tamara

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Tamara Ruiz - WarriorMy name is Tamara. In April 1997, at the age of 47, I was diagnosed with Primitive Neuroectodermal Ewing’s Sarcoma.  At that time I was in an extreme amount of pain. The cancer was discovered during a surgery to remove what the doctor felt was a fatty tumor that most likely was causing the pain. To the surgeon’s surprise, what was found instead was an invasive tumor in my right flank. The major surgery, for various reasons, did not give totally clear margins. Part of my diaphram had to be removed in the course of the surgery. In the weeks following the surgery I was given a PET scan that showed uptake in my skull, liver, as well as a nodule in my lung. The treatment Protcol at that time was a bit uncertain.  I was advised to get my life/things in order.

I was determined to see grandchildren in my life at some point. I told my Oncologists that I was not ready to leave and to do whatever it took to save my life. I endured many months of radical multi-agent chemotherapy, radiation treatments followed by more chemotherapy, and an additional surgery. There were many bad side effects.

In 1999, I had a follow-up PET scan.  The scan showed “all clear.” I continued check ups with my oncologist. I joined a support group. I made humor a big part of my recovery. I feel strongly that not only was it what my doctor’s did for me, but it was also a mental and physical attitude that I had to adopt to fight this dreaded disease. I will be 65 years old in July and I feel so blessed to be given so many years cancer free and a second chance at life.

Share Your Story ButtonIf you or a loved one has been impacted by sarcoma cancer, we encourage you to share your story. Sharing your story can be such an inspiration to others who are dealing with sarcoma in their own life and remind us all of the urgency to find better treatments in order to make an impact on the devastation that sarcoma cancer brings. Let your experiences help others become involved with raising awareness!