A Raymond woman is crediting the use of a procedure new to Lincoln for giving her a better chance at surviving cancer.
Shirley Kovar and her husband, Don, are no strangers to Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center.
"I've had breast cancer, both breasts removed, I've had colon cancer, had a tumor removed and it had spread to my liver. I had 2 tumor liver surgeries," said Shirley.
For years, Shirley has been battling a barrage of cancer, every time going under the knife and spending months recovering. But her most recent diagnosis of liver cancer would be different. This time, her doctors would use Chemoembolization.
"To do the Chemoembolization was a Godsend for me because I couldn't do the surgery," said Kovar.
She had undergone so many surgeries, her doctors cautioned she might not be able to survive another one. This procedure would be different.
Dr. Rahul Razdan is a Interventional Radiologist at Saint Elizabeth who is working with Kovar. He explained the procedure."We put a little catheter into the tumor or the blood vessel feeding the tumor and deliver the chemotherapeutic agent right to the tumor without having to do a major surgery on a patient."
Dr. Razdan told her hospitals nationwide have been using the procedure for a while. At Saint Elizabeth, Shirley would be the very first.
It's a procedure that Shirley didn't have to go along with but as soon as she found out she was a candidate, she knew it was the perfect opportunity to give back to a hospital that's given her so much. "Even though it was something new, somebody has to be first, and I just said, 'Hey I'm going to do it.'"
It's been two and a half months since Shirley's Chemoembolization. She says the aftermath is much different from other treatments. "I didn't experience any pain, I experienced no nausea, no side effects. Basically, it was like going to bed at night and getting up the next day."
Shirley and Don are hoping it's the end to a long, rocky road. But no matter what, they're living by a new motto.
"Taking a day at a time and do everything that I can to be well and enjoy my family," said Kovar.
Doctors admit they can't completely get rid of the cancer, but they can prevent future growth of the tumor and, in some cases, cause it to shrink.