Ms. Annette T

“HIPEC worked for me, and if it is a possibility for others, I think they should see if it will work for them. I can’t thank Dr. Kim enough for saving my life with his expertise. How could I be more grateful?”

Ms. Annette T is a 75-year-old woman from New Jersey. In May 2015, she suffered from occasionally severe abdominal pain which was accompanied by bloating and constipation. When the pain continued to progress over the next two to three months, she sought help from her family doctor. A CT scan was ordered, and it showed abnormal fluid in the abdominal cavity and a possible mass on her colon.

Ms. T was referred to see a specialist in colorectal surgery, who scheduled an operation. During the procedure, the surgeon identified cancer spread throughout the abdominal cavity, which he explained to Ms. T as numerous “marbles” of cancer. He closed the abdomen after performing a minor biopsy.

Ms. T was referred to an oncologist who diagnosed her with stage 4 primary peritoneal cancer, a rare cancer that develops in the lining of the abdominal cavity. The doctor told her that she had two months to live without aggressive chemotherapy treatment.

Even with chemotherapy, the disease persisted and that doctor was running out of options — until he saw Dr. Joseph Kim speak at a seminar on cytoreductive surgery and heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). After completing ten cycles of chemotherapy, Ms. T was referred by him to see Dr. Kim.

Dr. Kim agreed with the diagnosis of primary peritoneal cancer, and performed a careful review of the imaging studies. Despite the specialist in colorectal surgery saying that surgery was not possible, Dr. Kim felt that he could remove all of her disease.

On April 2, 2016, Dr. Kim performed a 10-hour operation. Ms. T was in the hospital for about five days. Ms. T says: “I was immediately willing to give HIPEC a chance. God gave me the opportunity, and I was taking it.” After recovery from her surgery, Ms. T says that she returned to her normal quality of life.

About one year later, a PET scan found a single site of recurrent disease, and Ms. T returned to Stony Brook in April 2017 for Dr. Kim to perform a colon resection. This went so well that she only stayed in the hospital for two days, and is again cancer-free.

Ms. T loves to cook and entertain. When she was sick, she couldn’t wait to be better to have her friends over for a luncheon. This coming June, she is excited to see her grandson graduate high school. She also hopes to volunteer more in the future, especially to give back to the people that have helped her along the way.

Ms. T says: “HIPEC worked for me, and if it is a possibility for others, I think they should see if it will work for them. I can’t thank Dr. Kim enough for saving my life with his expertise. How could I be more grateful?”

“Dr. Kim was always amazing with communication with my daughter and me. He always followed up with us, got back to us quickly, answered all of our questions, and was reachable when we needed him.”