Two Years, Two Diagnoses: How Faye Wilson Beat Cancer Twice

Two Years, Two Diagnoses: How Faye Wilson Beat Cancer Twice

Faye Wilson (above, right) and her husband, Carl, (above, left) have a lot to celebrate. After two life-changing cancer diagnoses, Faye is now in complete remission thanks to medical oncologist Larry R. Corum, MD, (above, middle), and her other Olathe Health doctors.

With three children, six grandchildren, one great-grandchild and 55 years of marriage, Faye Wilson, 72, has a lot to celebrate – and is feeling even more blessed now that she has beaten cancer twice.

Faye’s world changed in Dec. 2015 when she noticed a strange lump near her ear while Christmas shopping. After Christmas, she visited the walk-in clinic at Olathe Health Family Medicine – Paola thinking it was an infected gland. When antibiotics didn’t heal the spot, referred her to an ENT specialist for a biopsy. She was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. With the assistance of nurse navigator Jeni Wakefield, she was quickly scheduled to see Larry R. Corum, MD, a medical oncologist at Olathe Health Cancer Center.

Faye’s PET scan showed tumors throughout her neck, one next to her kidney and one on a lymph node in her groin. She was then connected to Stephen R. Smalley, MD, a radiation oncologist with Olathe Health Cancer Center who is now retired, and Craig Anderson, MD, FACS, a general surgeon with Olathe Health Midwest Surgical Associates. Her treatment included radiation and chemotherapy.

“Faye had a beautiful response to chemotherapy and imaging after four cycles of treatment showed a complete remission,” Dr. Corum said. Faye then had two final rounds of chemotherapy for safe measure.

“All the doctors really put me at ease and everyone was so accommodating,” Faye said. “My nurse navigator scheduled my surgery to insert my port on the same day as my bone marrow biopsy, so I could get it all done in one day. I loved that they made it so easy.”

After her treatments, she noticed some pain and swelling in her right thigh one day while at church. When she called Dr. Anderson’s office, he got her in right away.

“Dr. Anderson determined I had an abscess on my thigh,” Faye said. “He was supposed to leave for vacation but stayed late so he could get my surgery done before he left. I couldn’t believe he did that!”

In Dec. 2016, just one year later, Faye received her yearly mammogram, which showed a spot in her breast. Her nurse navigator worked with her to schedule a stereotactic biopsy, which uses stereo images of the breast to determine the exact location for the biopsy, and was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma.

Faye returned to Dr. Corum and Dr. Anderson, this time for a lumpectomy. She also saw Kelly Rhodes-Stark, MD, a radiation oncologist at Olathe Health Cancer Center, who recommended 30 radiation treatments. Faye completed her last treatment on her birthday. When she returned for her six-month follow-up, her scans showed no signs of cancer.

“There is no way you can get better care than at Olathe Health,” Faye said. “From the surgeons to the doctors to all the nurses in oncology, everyone provided the best care. Everyone remembers me in oncology, which is a nice feeling.”

 Contact an Olathe Health Cancer Center nurse navigator at 913-791-4240.