This is a story of God's redemption.
It's a story of recurrent stubborn cancer causing trouble for me and my little family, and it's a story of God faithfully carrying us through. I am compelled to share the reality of our faith and our experience with cancer. It's a bittersweet and beautiful experience, and I desperately hope that others can learn from our path. I love science and teaching and want the world to know a tangible experience with cancer through my experience. I believe the Word is true when it says that we should pray for each other so that we may be healed, that the prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. I see God bringing himself glory in my story, and I am compelled to share the magnitude and majesty of his glory through this little Sullivan story. God is here in my story in all of his glory, all his restoration, all his redemption, all his love.
In November 2012, we found my fifth recurrence of Alveolar Soft Part Sarcoma, a rare cancer in my heart while I was in my last month of Physician Assistant school, just moved to Nashville, and was 15 weeks pregnant- that's barely far enough along to see a bump. There were talks of immediate heart surgery, of treatments, and ultimately of limited options. We just watched the tumor through pregnancy and waited to intervene when it spread at 32 weeks. The waiting was incredibly difficult as we anticipated the worst and hoped for the best. We delivered our baby girl 6 weeks early in order to start treatment as soon as possible. We had a beautiful healthy baby girl who spent no time in the NICU at all. I had scans 1 week later that showed the new tumors were GONE and the primary tumor was its original size. Yep, GONE. Without taking any treatment at all. That is the LORD'S intervention and faithfulness!! At that time we decided to hold off on treatment since we were back to square one.
Fast forward to more present times:
We monitored the stable heart tumor periodically for the next couple years without any changes. In April 2015 we saw the cancer grow slightly, and started a targeted cancer treatment drug, Sutent, in May. 9 months later we saw new masses in some important places (liver, spleen, lungs, skeletal muscles) and decided to enroll in a clinical trial for a new immunotherapy drug combo in Miami. We waited 6 weeks for the trial to open, then found brain mets before enrolling. Insert a quick 2 weeks of whole brain radiation to control the brain mets before starting the trial, when I miraculously started feeling ALIVE and FREE for the first time since starting Sutent almost a year previously.
I am now enrolled in an Immunotherapy clinical trial at the University of Miami and have seen MIRACULOUS response, with about 90% of my cancer gone in the first 8 months!