Sadly on August 3, 2016, Caitlyn lost her battle with cancer. The Patty Pollatos Fund offers it’s deepest sympathies and prayers to Caitlyn’s family and friends. She fought a very long and hard battle. To view funeral arrangements please click the following link: Caitlyn Crawford Obituary – FNP.
Caitlyn Crawford is a beautiful, loving, caring 22 year old who has lived in the Mt. Airy area her whole life. She is an only child that was brought up in a single family home with her mom, Cathy. She graduated from Linganore High School in 2010 and at the time of her diagnosis was working at Bright Eyes Childcare in New Market and attending Frederick Community College studying Childhood Education/Special Needs Children. She loves working with young children and before becoming sick she was a regular babysitter for her cousins Keagan, 5 and Logan, 2 (shown in picture with Caitlyn). Caitlyn danced from the time she was 2 years old and for more than 10 years she studied at the Artistic Dance Center, taking up to 15 classes a week including, tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical and hip hop. Caitlyn’s bright spot in her life is her dog Lucy, who seems to be the one that can always lift Caitlyn’s spirits.
Caitlyn was having some medical issues for about 1 1/2 years and had an endoscopy done where they removed several polyps but she was in so much pain in her liver area during the procedure the doctors sent us immediately to the ER.
Caitlyn spent 3 days in the hospital and after having a colonoscopy was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colorectal Cancer on September 10, 2014. The doctor informed us this was treatable but NOT curable. To say the least this was a shock to us and to everyone else. In Caitlyn’s case what made it Stage 4 was that it had already spread to her liver and lungs. She has more than 100 polyps in her colon (it is just carpeted with polyps). Her liver was covered in tumors and her lungs had some very small tumors.
At this point the goal is to try and shrink the tumors on her liver enough that they could remove most of her liver and possibility her entire colon. She started chemo on September 19 by taking Xeloda pills then on September 26 she had her first iv chemo consisting of Avastin and Oxaliplatin. She also receives Iron infusions every other week (she was VERY anemic). After 6 weeks of treatment Caitlyn developed what is called a recto/vaginal fistula – which basically means her colon developed a hole which then attached to her vagina. Although this is not a health risk, as you can imagine it is not very pleasant. According to her doctor this could have been a side efffect of Avastin or because her tumors were melting so quickly it could have torn a hole in her colon. She stopped chemo for approx. 6 weeks to see if the fistula could be fixed surgically but the surgeon determined there was too much cancer for him to repair the fistula (it would just keep happening). Fistula’s can repair themselves but when you are on chemo it usually doesn’t or it takes a very long time. So Caitlyn decided to just put up with it for now and continue chemo. The scans show tumors are shrinking, which is great but the tumors on her liver are still not small enough to consider surgery.
The 100s of polyps in Caitlyn’s colon indicated the possibility of Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP). After having gene testing done it was confirmed that Caitlyn does have a mutated gene for FAP. When you have FAP, polyps begin to grow in the colon at a very early age. Usually there is a family history of people developing colon cancer at a very young age when there is FAP present but in our case we are unaware of anyone developing colon cancer at a young age so there was no family history of this. When you know you have the FAP gene you should start getting colonoscopies at age 10. It also increases your chances of other types of cancers. Some people when they learn they have the FAP gene they have their colons and rectum removed to prevent any chance of colon cancer.
Caitlyn has good days and bad days both emotionally and physically. Finding out she had the FAP gene was devastating to Caitlyn. The one thing Caitlyn wanted in life was to have children and now
feels this won’t be possible for her. We want to thank everyone who has included Caitlyn in their thoughts and prayers and sent Caitlyn well wishes cards – she enjoyed those very much.