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Leah - Thymoma

Leah - Thymoma

In 2016, Leah felt an unusual pressure in her chest. Worried she was having a heart attack, she visited a walk-in clinic to find out what was going on. The good news was that she did not have a heart attack. The bad news was that they discovered a tumor the size of a fist in her chest. She was diagnosed with thymoma, a type of cancer that affects the thymus, an organ located between the lungs that is part of the lymphatic and immune systems.

Leah had surgery to remove the mass. Unfortunately, during the operation, they discovered that the tumor had attached itself to her lungs and heart. In addition to removing the thymoma, surgeons took out a portion of her lung and the pericardial sack around her heart.

To make sure all cancer cells were eradicated, her oncologists suggested that Leah have radiation therapy. Because her tumor had been so close to her lungs and heart, proton therapy made the most sense. Protons can be controlled to release their energy at the target location and do not travel or release radiation beyond that point. It helped protect her lungs, heart, and other organs near the treatment area.

Leah did very well with proton therapy. "I went to work every day after I received proton therapy. I didn't miss any work and never felt bad. The SCCA Proton Therapy Center staff makes it such a relaxing environment that you leave there feeling like you can take on the day. I feel fortunate to live in a city that offers such extraordinary care," said Leah. 

On the day of her last treatment, Leah and her family went to Legoland to celebrate. Since completing treatment, she's been traveling with her family, including trips to Hawaii, Canada, and Southern California. She also enjoys hosting parties again. "Our house has always been our family's gathering place. I have three children, a loving husband, and a large jovial extensive family."

Leah, her son and her husband pose for the Tunnel to Viaduct Run that her husband participated in.

Leah and family during a vacation to Hawaii. 

Enjoying the waters in Hawaii.

Leah has some advice for other patients facing cancer. "Don't stress about things you can't control. Focus on what you have to do to get better. A positive attitude is key – and keeps you happier!"