Tess Spreiter

Age: Adult
Association: Patient
Region: Wisconsin
Cancer: Appendix

"I was totally symptom free until the third trimester of my pregnancy. "

My story is very unique. Not only because my cancer is so rare but because I was totally symptom free until the third trimester of my pregnancy.

The weekend before Thanksgiving  of 2017, I became sick. I was eight and a half months pregnant and only 25 years old. I spent the next month and a half in and out of the hospital for fluid tests and scans because I had developed cholestasis and the OBGYN needed to make sure my baby was okay. I was induced at 36 weeks, I had lost over 15 lbs and wasn’t eating. I was nearly put on TPN* as I weighed less than before I got pregnant. I delivered a happy and healthy, seven pound baby boy.

The next day my doctor sent me for an MRI to take a look at my gallstones. That MRI revealed that my peritoneum was 1.5” thick (not paper thin). Diagnosis: Peritoneal Mucinous, also known as appendix cancer. So began chemo with a 2.5 year old and a less than 1 month old at home. Only about 30% of my tumors responded to treatment so into a major surgery I went only a few treatments later. The surgery took 15 hours. I lost almost all my non-essential organs.

Recovery did not kick off well. I spent 15 days in the hospital. My GI tract became extremely irritated and didn’t wake up; I spent the next 2 months on TPN and throwing up dozens of times a day- and no one knew what was wrong. Finally I wound up back in the hospital and they resolved the issue. I was nearly back to square one. I still have a few issues from everything and my disease is never considered in remission. But so far I’m nearly a year cancer free!

*Total parenteral nutrition is a method of feeding that bypasses the gastrointestinal tract. Fluids are given into a vein to provide most of the nutrients the body needs. The method is used when a person cannot or should not receive feedings or fluids by mouth.