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Wanda Souders - Faith & Roadtrips & Cancer

Wanda Souders - Faith & Roadtrips & Cancer

It’s June, and 83-year-old Federal Way resident Wanda Souders is taking her driver’s license eye exam and passing with flying colors. She’s all ready for her annual cross-country road trip to visit some of her five children, 19 grandchildren, and 20 great-grandchildren! But now it’s July, and all of a sudden, Wanda starts losing vision in her right eye. A trip to the eye doctor turns into a trip to the eye specialist, which turns into a trip to the oncologist. The verdict? Ocular cancer. 

Historically, the treatment for this kind of cancer was often the removal of the entire eye and the subsequent loss of binocular vision. Today, however, a gold standard of treatment for certain ocular cancers is precision proton therapy, a treatment option that offers much more hope, and preserves the eye.

Wanda was referred to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Proton Therapy Center, where, according to her husband, retired truck driver Irvin Souders, they were treated like royalty. “People were unbelievably kind and friendly, answered all our questions, and made us feel like we were the only patients they had for the day,” said Irvin. Diane, one of our concierges, fondly remembers Wanda: “Every day she’d say, ‘If you can’t have fun, drop dead.’ She was extremely funny. We all enjoyed her and her husband.”

Wanda received a total of five proton therapy sessions, one a day for five days straight. No surgery. No chemotherapy. Just five sessions of painless, pinpoint radiation beams that killed the tumor and spared the healthy tissue. And while Wanda won’t regain 100% of her sight, doctors predict she will most likely get to 85%, once she’s fully healed. 

While it’s too soon for certainty, Wanda’s doctors think they got the tumor and she should have a successful recovery. Soon she can get back to volunteering at her church, going on field trips with the high school students at Christian Faith School, enjoying her leisurely road trips with Irvin by her side, and making her hilarious quips!