Granulosa Cell Tumor
Laura Heinzmann's Bio
Update: The doctors have discovered that I have 2 more tumors, one is near my liver and the other is by/on my spleen. I will be having surgery this coming Tuesday (February 21, 2012) At the time of surgery my tumor will be removed and taken to a facility where they will insert it into mice. Tests will be performed to see which Chemo drugs might be a benefit to helping fight my type of cancer. Regards, Laura
In 2005 Laura was diagnosed with a rare form of Ovarian Cancer called a Granulosa Cell Tumor. A tumor had appeared on her left ovary and was originally believed to be a somewhat common ovarian cyst. Before the scheduled surgery could be performed the cyst ruptured. After being rushed to the ER she was quickly taken into surgery where the cyst and ovary were removed. After the biopsy it was discovered that the cyst was actually a Granulosa Cell Tumor, a rare form of Ovarian Cancer.
The main problem with Granulosa Cell Tumors is their rarity. Currently there is a limited amount of solid data along with limited studies being done (due to the low numbers of cases) specifically on this form of cancer. The most troubling is the lack of any data that supports any benefit of chemotherapy and all current data points to surgery to remove the tumor as the most effective course of action.
With the guidance of our oncologist Dr. Abbas it was decided that Laura would be closely monitored with blood tests (inhibin A and inhibin B) and CT scans to detect any new tumor growth as early as possible.
In 2009 Laura began experiencing pain and it was quickly detected that a new tumor had appeared on her right ovary. This time around a complete radical hysterectomy and appendectomy would be performed. Laura was 41 years old at the time. During the surgery numerous smaller tumors were visible in her Omentum requiring the removal of an 8cm by 24cm section.
This was a major surgery and the recovery time was over two months before Laura was truly ‘back on her feet’. The course of action would be exactly as it was following her first tumor in 2005. Blood tests and CT scans.
Unfortunately, in March of this year (2011) a small mass was detected in her abdomen. At the time it was too small to biopsy so it was agreed that follow up testing would be performed at shorter intervals in case the mass was indeed a tumor. After another round of testing in June 2011 a slight increase in the size of the mass was detected. However, Laura was not experiencing any pain or side effects of this mass. It was still too small to biopsy at this time.
In September of 2011 we received the heart breaking news that the tumor had grown to the size of a golf ball. Shortly after Laura under went the latest round of tests she began to experience pain in her lower abdomen. More scans were performed and we learned that the tumor was up against her colon.
Laura underwent surgery on September 27th to remove the tumor. This again was major surgery as laparoscopic surgery is not an option with Granulosa Cell Tumors. The tumor was successfully removed and thankfully was not attached to the colon or any other vital organ. As with the major surgery in 2009 the recovery time will again be at least 4-6 weeks minimum.
We are still paying off medical bills from Laura’s surgery in 2009. To add to the already traumatic and difficult situation, Adam (Laura’s husband) was informed on November 1st that his employment would be terminated on November 30th. The mortgage and other daily living expenses will impact the family immediately. Laura is a loving wife along with being a proud mother of a 15 year old son. We are facing very uncertain times as existing medical bills and living expenses will now have even more medical expenses added to them.
All your generous contributions, thoughts and prayers are deeply appreciated!!
Thank you all SO much!!
– The Heinzmann Family