Proton Therapy for Liposarcoma | Arianne’s Story

– I was planning my wedding
at the time, and that was going to be
on June 19, so it was just about two months before the wedding. I noticed a little nerve symptom
in my calf, and it was every time that
I sat down or crossed my legs, and I felt
just a little tiny symptom. And as a physical therapist,
I was looking for an answer or a reason
that it might be happening. I went for an MRI,
and shortly thereafter, I received
the dreaded phone call. The first thing
that I thought of was I had to call my fiancé
and ask him if he would
still want to marry me, and although
that might seem unusual, I had– went through
losing my brother to cancer, and I knew what that experience
was like, and I didn’t want anybody else
to have to go through that. I also had to call my parents
who have already lost their son, and so… Oh…sorry. Sorry. My brother was diagnosed
with Hodgkin’s disease at the age of 11, and he battled it
until the age of 29 when lung cancer
eventually took his life. He’s been my inspiration
on so many levels, and so when I was diagnosed, I knew that I wanted
to be like him. I wanted to fight
as hard as I could, just like he did, and I wasn’t
going to let this beat me. William:
I think one of the benefits of being here at Penn is that we have an
interdisciplinary sarcoma team, in fact, have many different
interdisciplinary teams at Penn. There’s a great value in
all of the people participating and certainly Arianne’s case
was presented, and we were able to
communicate with each other to discuss the sequencing
of chemotherapy, radiation therapy,
and surgery. – After I did my first three
rounds of chemotherapy, I was fortunate enough that they said
that I could get married, and I could go on my honeymoon
to Costa Rica. So, I did that,
and I felt great at my wedding, had a huge wedding and
no one would have ever known, especially
with my beautiful wig, and then I started
radiation treatment. – I recommended
that Arianne move forward with proton therapy. First and foremost,
given her age, we know that protons
potentially has the ability to reduce the risk
of a radiation-induced cancer decades in the future. Using protons allows us
to target the tumor and greatly reduce
the collateral exposure of the radiation
to the healthy tissue that we want to avoid. And in a young woman
such as Arianne, that’s critical to
her well-being going forward. – I’ve always had a really,
really strong passion for movement
and for changing lives. When I had the opportunity
to train for American Ninja Warrior,
it was right up my alley. I started training
when I was in radiation, and at that point,
I felt great. My leg felt great. I didn’t really have
any symptoms, and once January hit, I kicked it into full gear
and competed in May of 2016. American Ninja Warrior for me
is more about the process. I’m forced to overcome
obstacles, but I know that I’ve already overcome the biggest obstacle in my life,
not once but twice, losing my brother to cancer,
and going through it myself. – I was truly floored
by the fact that she was being so active while on treatment. That actually changed my
perspective on what’s possible and what we should do
with patients in regard to other
integrative therapies besides our conventional
cancer therapies. I think everyone
can learn from Arianne. I think she’s
a remarkable person. I think hopefully this is just another
bump in the road for her, but I think that her purpose
is more than just herself. Arianne:
Coming to Penn Medicine was absolutely one of
the best things that I did. Not only did they have
a special sarcoma program, but they really looked at me
as a whole person. They gave me
so many different options. I have a team of champions
that have rallied behind me, and I know that I can
always count on them for all of my healthcare needs. I believe that I am stronger
mentally and physically than I’ve ever been
after going through this, and I know that I can
take on anything that life throws my way.

1 comment

  1. I have PLEOMORPHIC liposarcoma in my ankle I’ve had radiation surgery and needed plastic surgery. I was told chemo would not help. Now I’ve been told they could not get it all off my Achilles’ tendon and if it comes back it will involve amputation.
    I’m 73 years old and Connor bare to lose my foot. I had angio sarcoma in 2016 of the breast. With surgery and radiation. Again told chemo would not be suitable for the cancer. Any advice would be helpful. I have 4 Dr’s working with me all day same thing. In Canada. What is piton therapy

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