Devastating News

Midway through my vacation in Arizona I was hit with bad news that my little sister has cancer. This sent me into a downward spiral as I tried to grasp what was going on.  Below you’ll see the letter that we sent out to our friends about the cancer and how Kelly is doing. 

I’m home now, but feel very behind in the grieving process and very much alone.  It’s funny everyone I’ve ever met is reaching out to me and my family and yet I still feel alone.  I’m going back to school today for the first time and hopefully that will distract me a bit.

The good news is Kelly is in no immediate danger and we have lots of time to make the right choice.

Thank you to everyone who has called, texted, emailed, facebook’d, tweeted and sent virtual love, support and prayers.

I would like to especially thank Julia and Alec for being great stand-in parents when I received the devastating news so far from home.  I really appreciate it.

XOXO, Cori

Email to our friends:

Dear friends,

We received some very difficult news this past week and now that we have a little more information, I wanted you to be aware of what’s happening.  First, let me tell you that the Benson family is doing okay and that we are taking a breath and putting together a plan.

Kelly, who is 23, was diagnosed last week with a rare form of cancer.  We had our first meeting with her oncologist yesterday and received confirmation of the seriousness of the situation and a mixed prognosis.

The bad news is that her cancer is stage 4 and incurable and because the tumors are extensive and not in a mass, it is inoperable. Chemotherapy is also ineffective against this cancer, so our treatment options are limited.

It’s called metastatic carcinoid cancer.  The only place they can find evidence of it is in her liver, but it originated from somewhere else and they can’t seem to find the source.

However, the good news is that this is a slow growing cancer, so we have time.  How much time is the focus of our next step.  The other good news is that the tumors are incredibly small, so small in fact that they didn’t show up on the radioactive scans.  They did however show up on the MRI, but no other cancer could be found which is also good news.

So the bottom line is that we have time.  It’s very serious, but not so urgent that we need to move into treatment right away.   She’s probably one of the youngest people to ever get diagnosed with this thing since it’s generally a cancer that affects people 55+.  (Sounds like Kelly, huh?)

The plan is to run a few more tests to see if we can find the source, and then begin the vigil of benchmarking the changes of the tumors she has.  So every couple of months they will rescan her to see if there is growth.  After 6 months or so, we’ll be able to get a sense of how slow or aggressive it might be.  That will give us a better handle on the amount of time we have to figure out how to treat this.

As of now, we’re going to hold off on any intervention and start looking around the country for the research hot spots.  Her biggest chance to beat this is in the world of future drugs, so the slower growing this monster is, the longer we’ll have for a breakthrough, which we fully expect to happen.

The other good news is that Kelly is symptom free.  A lot of times, this cancer isn’t detected until people are experiencing the affects of what is called carcinoid syndrome with a lot of unpleasant symptoms.  Kelly isn’t experiencing any of this, so we’re thrilled about that.  They found these tumors accidentally while removing her gall bladder a few weeks ago.  That was a blessing to catch it when we did.  Kelly is doing remarkably well and in good spirits.  As most of you know, Kelly has a wicked funny sense of humor and has been drawing on it all week.  As long as we’re near her, we’re fine.

If you are interested in reading more about metastatic carcinoid cancer, please check out the Carcinoid Cancer Foundation‘s website: http://www.carcinoid.org/.

We welcome your prayers and your positive thoughts and will keep you in the loop as our journey progresses.

Fondest regards,
Linda, Bob, Cori, Kelly & Alex

25 Responses to Devastating News
  1. Cassie
    April 12, 2012 | 10:45 AM

    Cori and Family,

    You guys are in my prayers. While cancer was not our family’s enemy my family had an enemy. I wish you all the strength and prayers that I can give during this battle.
    Cassie recently posted..My questions is on Fun and Fit.

    • Cori
      Twitter: Corisbigmouth
      April 12, 2012 | 3:11 PM

      Thank you Cassie!
      Cori recently posted..Devastating News

  2. Jackie
    April 12, 2012 | 10:48 AM

    Oh my… Cori… I am so sorry. I can only imagine how I would feel if it were my sister. She’s my best friend and is always there for me when I need her… I assume that you have the same kind of relationship with yours.
    I’m glad that she isn’t in danger and that you all have plenty of time to come up with the best plan of action.
    I will keep you and your family in my thoughts.
    You know where to find me if you need to talk.
    Jackie recently posted..Wordful Wednesday ~ Today

    • Cori
      Twitter: Corisbigmouth
      April 12, 2012 | 3:12 PM

      Thank you Jackie. I really appreciate all the love and support I’m getting from my blogging friends.
      Cori recently posted..Devastating News

      • Cori
        Twitter: Corisbigmouth
        April 12, 2012 | 3:13 PM

        Oh…meant to say the worst part is I have had to admit I kinda like her ;)
        Cori recently posted..Devastating News

  3. Jill
    April 12, 2012 | 1:06 PM

    So sorry to hear the news, devastating is right! TIME is the most important thing and you have it. Enjoy every moment of it. I’m sending virtual hugs and finger crossings in the direction of you all.
    Jill recently posted..Taco Bell – Rockies tacos special today between 4-6pm

    • Cori
      Twitter: Corisbigmouth
      April 12, 2012 | 3:13 PM

      Thank you Jill. I/we feel very lucky that we have time on our side.
      Cori recently posted..Devastating News

  4. Leslie Kelley
    April 12, 2012 | 3:12 PM

    Love you, Cori. I’m here for your family. REALLY. I’m right next door. I’ve already told your mom that I will do anything you guys need. SO make her lean on me when she needs it. Yardwork, house work, cooking, errands… ANYTHING. XOXOXOXOXOX You’re all in my thoughts and prayers. Here is my cell 425-231-9189.
    Leslie Kelley recently posted..Glitter!

    • cori
      Twitter: Corisbigmouth
      April 12, 2012 | 3:17 PM

      My bedroom does need cleaning…..;)

      Thanks Leslie!! We love you guys too and will definitely be in touch! xoxo

  5. Ada
    April 12, 2012 | 7:46 PM

    I am so sorry. Will be thinking about you and your family!
    Ada recently posted..Foods I Don’t Get

    • cori
      Twitter: Corisbigmouth
      April 13, 2012 | 10:37 AM

      Thank you, Ada.

  6. Kim A
    April 12, 2012 | 10:32 PM

    All my thoughts are with your family!

    • cori
      Twitter: Corisbigmouth
      April 13, 2012 | 10:36 AM

      Thanks Kim and I am looking forward to seeing you tomorrow at Jordyn’s party!

  7. Alan B.
    April 12, 2012 | 10:33 PM

    The Blood family is praying for Kelly and your family. Cancer sucks. So sorry to hear the news

    • cori
      Twitter: Corisbigmouth
      April 13, 2012 | 10:36 AM

      Thank you, Alan!

  8. Alyson K
    April 12, 2012 | 10:33 PM

    Oh wow, I am so sorry Cori…. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this challenging time!!

    • cori
      Twitter: Corisbigmouth
      April 13, 2012 | 10:35 AM

      Thank you, Alyson!

  9. Lisa Y.
    April 12, 2012 | 10:34 PM

    Xoxo

    • cori
      Twitter: Corisbigmouth
      April 13, 2012 | 10:35 AM

      Right back atcha Lisa! xoxo

  10. Patti F.
    April 12, 2012 | 10:34 PM

    You and your family are in my prayers

    • cori
      Twitter: Corisbigmouth
      April 13, 2012 | 10:35 AM

      Thank you, Patti!

  11. Julie
    April 12, 2012 | 11:10 PM

    I feel really sorry about these bad things, but I hope that Kelly will get better soon.
    Julie recently posted..veneers

    • cori
      Twitter: Corisbigmouth
      April 13, 2012 | 10:34 AM

      Thank you, Julie!

  12. Kristi {at} Live and Love Out Loud
    April 13, 2012 | 7:54 AM

    Sending hugs and prayers and here anytime you feel like talking/tweeting…

    • cori
      Twitter: Corisbigmouth
      April 13, 2012 | 10:33 AM

      Thanks Kristi, you know I will be bugging you often as you were the first person I felt the need to contact! xoxo