Surviving Cancer for My GirlsNov. 14, 2019
By Kandice Fogle
I was a 43-year old woman with few worries when we moved to the Houston area. I was a mother to two beautiful daughters, ages 9 and 5, and I was healthy, active and loving life.
Within a few months of living in our new house, I started to experience some pain in my back and groin area. After seeing my internist and gynecologist with no diagnosis, I decided to go to an urologist who ordered a CT scan. It revealed that I had large mass in my liver. It was something my primary care doctor said had probably been there my whole life. A biopsy confirmed that I had intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, more commonly known as bile duct cancer.
Once it sunk in that I had cancer — a cancer I had never heard of — I knew it was bad. The first thing I thought of was my daughters. I didn’t want them to grow up without a mother. So I knew I had to do whatever it took to fight this disease.
Doctors at Houston Methodist removed the 9.5 cm mass, and then I underwent high-dose radiation treatment. After a grueling stretch, I thought I was out of the woods. But six months later, the cancer came roaring back. I was devastated, but still hopeful. I just kept on fighting.
I began a chemotherapy regimen, and during that time learned that the only chance I had of surviving was a liver transplant. Honestly, this was as scary as the cancer diagnosis, but I was onboard for whatever would prolong my life with my girls.
On Oct. 24, 2011, almost three years since my diagnosis, I received my new liver at Houston Methodist. Examining my old liver, doctors found eight tumors, twice as many as they saw on the scans. So many things could have gone wrong, but they didn’t. Nearly eight years later, I consider myself extremely lucky to be alive.
This is not the journey I would have chosen for my life, but I truly believe God puts us where we need to be to do our best work. I will spend the rest of my days telling my story in the hopes that it will help other transplant and cancer patients make it through their journey.