In the summer of 2011, on July 26th, Teresa was diagnosed with stomach cancer, and underwent a partial laparascopic gastrectomy five weeks later. The pathology revealed that her cancer was Stage 2B adenocarcinoma. The surgery was followed with 4 1/2 months of the McDonald Protocol which combines chemo and radiation at the same time.
This was Teresa’s second battle with cancer; in 2002, she was diagnosed with Stage 0 bladder cancer. This second diagnosis prompted her medical team to do genetic testing; and she tested positive for a genetic syndrome called Lynch Syndrome, which increases her risk for many types of cancer.
Teresa is five years cancer free and knows how difficult the journey can be, both physically and psycho socially. Her reason for co-founding My Gut Feeling, along with Katy was to reach out to patients, survivors and their families to provide support in any way possible. She wants to give a voice to stomach cancer patients. For Teresa, every day that she is given is a gift and she wants to provide hope to all those who are on the journey.
Katy was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2011 at the age of twenty-one. Prior to her diagnosis, there were no signs that anything was wrong aside from mild cold-like symptoms and a stomach ache a few days prior. She collapsed suddenly during her exams and was taken to the hospital. Due to her young age and lack of overt symptoms, she was dismissed several times. However after several fainting incidents and visits to the hospitals, it was discovered that her blood hemoglobin was dropping fast. An endoscopy revealed that she had bleeding ulcers with the presence of H. Pylori. A stomach biopsy was taken, and on March 8th, 2011, Katy was diagnosed with stage 1B gastric adenocarcinoma (grade III). A few weeks later, Katy underwent a radical surgery to remove her entire stomach (total gastrectomy) and 38 lymph nodes. Her esophagus was reconnected to the small intestine. After recovering from surgery, she underwent chemo-radiation following the MacDonald protocol. She received chemotherapy with 5-fluorouracil and radiation for 6 months.
Katy’s experiences as a patient inspired her to reach out to others to offer peer support. Her pursuits to help others led her to find Teresa. My Gut Feeling originated through their ongoing peer-to peer support. My Gut Feeling was created to offer support to anyone touched by stomach cancer, whether patient, survivor or caregiver, so that nobody has to go through cancer alone. Katy hopes that My Gut Feeling will offer a voice to people during the darkest parts of their life. Moreover, she hopes to connect with as many patients as possible to ensure nobody else ever has to go through such a diagnosis alone.