Carol and Randy's Story
Building a stronger bond. One couple unites to fight cancer together.
Carol Meyer of Columbia, Mo., will always remember the day she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. On June 8, 2000, she planned to celebrate her 40th wedding anniversary with her husband, Randy, but instead was met with devastating news.
"When my doctor told me I had cancer, it was almost like an out-of-body experience," Carol said. "I thought, 'This can't be happening to me.'"
What started as upper back pain Carol attributed to a canoe trip soon developed into something more serious. By the spring of 2000, severe nausea afflicted Carol, and soon she noticed swelling
under her left arm. An MRI revealed a tumor, and a needle biopsy was positive for cancer. After her diagnosis, Carol began chemotherapy at Ellis Fischel Cancer Center. With treatment complete in October 2000, test results showed no sign of the tumor, and Carol was in remission. For the next three years, Carol and Randy resumed their routine, with only brief interruptions to visit Ellis
Fischel for follow-up exams. In June 2003, Carol's oncologist, Clay Anderson, MD, noted that her routine scan might be showing cell changes. Just a few months later, Carol's left arm began to hurt,
followed by swelling. The cancer had returned, and more chemotherapy was required. However, the challenges
Carol faced were countered by her experiences at Ellis Fischel.
"Ellis Fischel is the most wonderful place, and I don't know what I'd do without Dr. Anderson," Carol said. "I always feel good walking through the doors because I know I am going to receive such
great care from everyone there."
As Carol battled cancer for the second time, Randy started a fight of his own. For nearly two years, Randy had experienced stomach pains, originally thought to be from ulcer-causing bacteria. Antibiotics, however, offered no pain relief, and a colonoscopy revealed a malignant tumor in Randy's colon in September 2003.
"My diagnosis took away the survivor's guilt I felt because of Carol," he said. "I felt I had joined the club."
Randy went in for surgery at Ellis Fischel just days before the results of another needle biopsy for Carol, who began experiencing sharp pain in her back. An MRI showed yet another tumor, this one pressing on her spine. Another round of radiation eliminated the tumor, but Carol continued to have the cancer return, receiving subsequent treatments over the next few years. Her last radiation treatment was in April 2006, and her body remains cancer free as of June. Randy's tumor was removed, but because of his condition, he would not benefit from chemotherapy. The chances of his cancer returning are approximately 20 percent. The Meyers are both grateful for the care they received at Ellis Fischel, and they relish the time they can spend together.
"In many ways, we are starting over," Carol said. "Our relationship has changed greatly after going through something like this together. It's scary, but I know Randy and I are at the right place, and we're in good hands at Ellis Fischel."