Carolyn joined Bladder Cancer Cafe in 2000 on behalf of her husband Corbett. After Corbett’s passing in 2006, Carolyn wanted us to know that Corbett died "Cancer free."
In Carolyn’s words,
"Corbett truly was a warrior as he started fighting bladder cancer in 1997, fought melenoma and lung cancer and the return of a small single bladder tumor that had come back in 2004 and was very quickly
" I didn’t sign off because of a lack of interest. I love everyone on our
list and from time to time I will sign back on to keep up with all from
our list and would greatly appreciate hearing from any one that would like
to stay in touch with me."
Corbett was diagnosed with Grade 3 papillary transitional cell carcinoma in July 1997. He had a TURB to remove three tumors from the bladder, one was huge in the mouth of the bladder ; the other two were smaller ones in the top of the bladder. He received twelve Mutamycin 40 intravescial treatments and had no tumors in his next scope. He was scoped ever three months for a year then ever six months for two years and finally set for once a year . He was clear for six and one half years before a recurrence in June of 2004.There was one tumor of the same type about nickle size. It was removed as before and a single round of Mutamycin 40 was instilled immediately after surgery .He went for one year ever three months and this past appointment he was moved to every six months.
In November of 1999 he was diagnosed with III B T4 N2 M0 Non Small Cell Lung Cancer , Squamous Cell. This cancer was inoperable so after checking M D Anderson in Houston Texas out he returned to Jonesboro Arkansas to the Ben E. Owens Cancer Center and contacted two oncologist . One for the chemotherapy and one for the radiation. He received two massive treatments of Carboplatin and Taxol three weeks apart and was then scanned with it showing the tumor had shrank from 5cm to a 1.5cm . . Radiation was started immediately and after 34 radiation treatments the cancer was shown to be in remission!! This was in April of 2000. To our knowledge it is still in remission today ( November 2005)
In March of 2001 Corbett was diagnosed with Ocular Melanoma in the left eye. In April of that year he had a surgery to implant an Isitope Radiation Plaque. This is a tiny plaque just barely larger than the tumor with radiation seeds implanted in to it. This was left on for one week then removed . The tumor is still shrinking ; however in June he noticed a problem with the eyesight in that eye . Out of the blue after more than four years ( 2005) a stray beam of radiation hit the optic nerve and seared the nerve causing him to lose the central vision in that eye. This is something that if it is going to happen usually happens about two to two and one half years out from surgery !! However he does still have his eye where many lose the eye.
The year wasn’t finished yet . With lung problems and other things showing up he spent the entire part of the summer and early fall in learning what was causing him to be so short of breath and have spells like his lungs were closing down on him. Test were made and fluids were drawn and the first ones to check for the heart all proved negative so the doctors were trying to rule the cancer out again. First scans ( PET and CT ) showed a couple of places that looked like a recurrence or metastis of the cancer. Both the chemo and radiation oncologist were not convinced it was cancer and asked for a pulmonologist to do a broncoscopy to get biopsies. These were negative !!!! At this time a cardiologist was called in. After a heart cath and two echo cardiograms ( he could not complete these as his lungs would fill up ) the cardiologist told him that of the four coronary arteries two were 100% blocked and the other two were 90% blocked with one also having a 70% blockage !
With all the radiation damage and his general condition no one would do the surgery except one surgeon who really was not capable of doing this surgery. Corbetts cardiologist helped us to contact a heart surgeon in Little Rock Arkansas at the Arkansas Heart Hospital . This Dr. C. D. Williams is ranked third in the nation for very difficult heart surgeries . This doctor had retired but after three years came out of retirement ; much to our great luck ! Dr. Williams said the damage was all radiation induced and Corbett would need a five bypass surgery along with replacing the Aortic and Mitral Valves as they were all scarred and ruined and just wouldn’t work any more. The surgery was done on October 17th , one day after his 70th birthday! He was only able to have three bypasses and the two valves replaced because of so much scarring on the outside of his heart . Two of the bypasses are working wonderfully and a third not so well . However, Corbett is recovering and upon his first visit back to Dr. Williams was called “The MIRACLE MAN” by Dr. Williams.
Immediately after the surgery he had told us that Corbett had done way better than any of the doctors had thought he ever would !!! So maybe he is after all a ‘MIRACLE MAN’. After cancer four times and then the heart surgery , we are so thankful for each and every day.
Corbett is a real estate broker and sales person and a cattle farmer. He and Carolyn have three children , a son and two daughters. They have seven grandchildren and have just become great grandparents on November 4th.