Laura Phillips & Family

Don't Take Life for Granted
Please meet one of our amazing beneficiary families for True Beauty Gala 2016 happening on October 22, 2016 at Carriage House Inn!! We are excited to be supporting them this year and sharing their journey with you as the sole mission of both True Beauty Foundation and True Beauty Gala is to share inspiring journeys of families who have been diagnosed with cancer. It is within our heart and what God has instilled in me to offer a helping hand to those that need our love, friendship and support in this time of need.
Meet Laura. Laura has stage 4 colon cancer. She is married to her beloved husband of 18 years and they have 4 wonderful boys: Austin (17), Wyatt (14), Bohdan (11) and Reece (9).
This is her story:

“Back at Christmas time of last year I thought I had an ulcer. My doctor also thought I had an ulcer. As January came and went, I noticed the pain had changed and would last for days on end. I started missing work. By the 1st week of February, the pain was constant and wouldn’t let up. My family Doctor had x-rays done and it only showed constipation so she gave me a few different ways to relieve it. By February 6th, I was in the ER as the pain was so bad. The x-rays looked a bit suspicious so they ordered a CT scan which showed some type of blockage or twisting of the large intestine and I was told I’d need surgery first thing in the morning.

The next day, I woke up in ICU with half my large intestine removed along with some of my small intestine and appendix. They were careful about using the “C-word” around me since pathology hadn’t come back yet. They didn’t want me blindsided either if the large mass that invaded the wall of my colon came back as cancer. Let’s be honest here…until this moment, I didn’t even know what a colon was! Needless to say, the CT scan did come back as cancer but all 20 + lymph nodes they tested came back negative and the cut lines were all clean. I was in Stage 2. Good news as far as cancer goes. They did see a tumor a centimeter in diameter that was long and went deep into my liver. It was “concerning”. After a couple of weeks and a trip to Vancouver for a PET scan, sure enough, it was confirmed that I had cancer. By this stage, it made it an automatic stage 4 as the tumor had metastasized. 

Even though this sounded quite bad, to be honest, it really could’ve been a lot worse. All of the tested lymph nodes were clean. The cut lines were clean. The liver tumor could be removed once it shrunk enough through chemo in order to move away from the 2 important veins that it was wedged up against. They would have to remove the right lobe of my liver which meant that they had to remove 60%, but it was POSSIBLE!

My husband asked the liver surgeon about percentages and mortality rates given my age and type of cancer. He said I have a 35 to 40% chance of being here in 5 years. BEING HERE IN 5 YEARS. That was a lot to take in for my family. Until this moment, not once did it ever occur to me that I might not live long enough to see all my kids graduate or even see my grandchildren.

I had 4 rounds of chemo to shrink the liver tumor and while the chemo left me with about half of my hair and some pretty wild side effects, it worked! The scan also showed that I now had blood clots in my lungs requiring me to take blood thinners by way of injection and to the tune of $1145.00 per month for at least 6 months. I couldn’t tell you which horrified me more… giving myself injections in the abdomen and the inside of my thighs every day or paying $6870.00 just so a blood clot won’t “take me out”. I will admit however…you haven’t really lived until you’ve given yourself a needle in the inside of your thigh.

As awful as the situation sounds, we’ve ALWAYS felt the love and support all around us. Many think we’re crazy to have 4 kids in hockey. It seems that in our particular case, though, hockey played a key role as the community rallied around us. Here’s what I mean: The doctor’s son who performed my first surgery was on my oldest son’s hockey team, the heart and lung specialist and oncology doctor’s two sons went to our boy’s school and not only were in the same classes, but his oldest also played on my oldest son’s team, and one of the nurses who assisted me during my post operation, was a mom to a player on my youngest son’s hockey team. To top it all off, my third son’s team threw us an AMAZING fundraiser!There are several more mini miracles too that came from all of this. We have been so blessed.

August 5th I had my liver resection. They had to take a bit more than expected because of the tumor location so in all, about 70% of my liver was removed that day. It sounds remarkable to me that a liver now the size of a Chicken McNugget could be functioning at 100% only 3 days after surgery. Doctors said it will take about 6 weeks for the liver to regenerate in size.

Moving forward, the status quo has always been 12 rounds of chemo, so that’s what they’re sticking with. I’ve already had 4 so now my port has been “installed” and I’m facing another 8 rounds starting any day now. I know it won’t be fun since I was ready to tap out after only 4 rounds before but we have some really great friends and family from all over the world supporting and praying for us, so I am blessed.

Thank you for all that you do to support and uplift people living with this disease. You are indeed, the hands and feet of God.”

God Bless,

Laura Phillips and Family

Disclosure: Please note that this story is in her own words as told to me. Laura, her husband and her family now currently live in Salmon Arm, BC. They moved a few months ago to an acreage in Salmon Arm from Airdrie, AB. Please join us at this year’s True Beauty Gala and show your incredulous support for the Phillips family and the other beneficiaries involved.

About The Author

Lis Perez

Lis Perez is the founder of True Beauty Online as well as True Beauty Gala. She is Co-founder, along with her husband of 13 years, of an international online branding agency, called Empower Media in affiliation with Empower Media TV where they 'Work Together to Empower You.' She has a huge passion for helping others and is a huge advocate for True Beauty and surely shows it as she helps many women and teens overcome self-esteem issues and find their Hidden Jewel as an Empowerment Coach for Women in her own business, Hidden Jewel Consulting. When she's not being her entrepreneurial self, you can usually find her spending time with her two teenage daughters and husband or planning the next True Beauty Gala. ~Transforming Your Heart, Empowering Your Soul!!~ ~ Believe in the Power to Change the World with Your Smile!~

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