Diagnosis: 2008 metastasized abdominal sarcoma

From a patient interview on Sept. 5, 2014

Cancer Experience StoryDenise lives in Hawaii and when her cancer was diagnosed, she was told they couldn’t do anything for her and had given her only a month or two to live. She’d lost all hope. She was told she might get help from another doctor on the mainland. Denise got sick while on vacation in Los Angeles, and ended up in the hospital in Huntington Beach. She was in the hospital for five days, and then Dr. Chawla entered into Denise’s life.

For Denise, it was meant to be. Dr. Chawla said to Denise, “I think I can help you.” For Denise, these were the key words for survival. After that, she just eased her mind and put herself into Dr. Chawla’s hands, and she is still here. It’s all meant to be. Denise was in remission for six years, and now she is currently on clinical trial with a new drug.

Denise shares her personal story of her experiences with the Sarcoma Oncology Center:

My experience has been great. I look forward to chemo. I don’t mind it. I have a different outlook on things. I really do, and he (Dr. Chawla) has been so positive for me. I haven’t had any problems.

Quality of life has been excellent these last five years. I forget that I’m even sick. I totally forget. You live one day at a time, and you enjoy it. I honestly have to live like that. If you believe and trust, I really believe that you can make it. And with the help of a great doctor. Compassionate doctor….that’s the key! Dr. Chawla is very compassionate…by his touch, by his words. It’s not just business.

I talk about Dr. Chawla all the time in Hawaii. I’m just fortunate to be able to do this coming from Hawaii. If I can give positive force to people, I definitely want to do that.

I’ve made a lot of friends here. We have a kindred spirit together. (Denise has helped new patients by talking to them and introducing them around the facility and talking about the different chemotherapies.)

There’s always options, Dr. Chawla doesn’t stop. If I don’t feel well, he’ll figure out another way. He’s very quick in thinking. If I get sick, he’ll find something better*. Actually, it’s been a great, great thing for me. I see people who are suffering a little bit more, and I always tell them, ‘you’ll do good, you’ll do good’. Because I’ve been there and look at me now.

I’m living in Hawaii, I have nature all around me and that’s the best medicine for me. I’ve been snorkeling a lot. I’ve even decorated my apartment with all the beachy things. It makes me happy. I surround myself by tranquil happy things.

Denise’s recommendations to new patients:

It’s a cliché, but you do live one day at a time. Don’t get your expectations too high because you don’t want to be disappointed. So, in the moment you feel good, enjoy it! And don’t worry about tomorrow.

*Dr. Chawla commented, “It’s the way we give the chemotherapy, it’s the least toxic. By giving continuous infusion and supportive drugs, it can minimize all the side effects.”