July 26, 2022
Carol Pangallo, a family matriarch, is a ceaseless caregiver. In addition to taking care of her three children, she cared for her parents and worked with youngsters at her local YMCA. Putting her own health on the backburner, Carol pushed her vague stomach symptoms out of her mind. Two years ago, she had an unexplained weight loss of 40 pounds and could not bend over to play with the children at work because of gassy stomach pain and a knot in her side. After a treatment journey with a few twists and turns that led her to receive a second opinion, Carol then met OHC gynecologic oncologist, Ajit Gubbi, DO, who got her on the path to healing.
Carol discussed her symptoms with her family doctor who ordered bloodwork and scans. He suspected stomach cancer and referred her to a specialist in a local health system. The specialist diagnosed Carol with stage three ovarian cancer and gave her one year to live if she did not have treatment. Carol moved forward with the prescribed six rounds of chemotherapy followed by a hysterectomy (surgery to remove the uterus) and then an additional four rounds of chemotherapy.
“After treatment, I didn’t have any more symptoms,” said Carol. “I was clear for nine months and then a follow-up scan revealed that my cancer had returned.” Carol would endure additional treatment with chemotherapy called Doxil.
“I had trouble tolerating the Doxil,” said Carol. “I was so tired, and I got pneumonia. I ended up in the hospital with blood clots and mitral regurgitation.” Mitral valve regurgitation is a leak in a heart valve that can occur after exposure to chemotherapy.
Carol told her doctor that she could no longer take the chemo, and he indicated that Doxil was her only option. Carol’s daughter and attentive caregiver, Angie Day, had always been one of Carol’s strongest advocates. “I immediately wanted to get a second opinion,” said Angie. “I did a Google search for ‘best ovarian cancer doctors for a second opinion,’ and Dr. Gubbi’s name came up.”
In less than a week, Angie took Carol to her first appointment with Dr. Gubbi, and they instantly knew they were in the right place. “Dr. Gubbi had already reviewed all of my records and he knew what to do the moment we came in,” said Carol. “He sat down with us and talked to us and listened. I trusted him.”
Dr. Gubbi started Carol on a monthly regimen of chemotherapy called Avastin. Prior to every monthly treatment appointment, Dr. Gubbi evaluates Carol’s bloodwork to make sure her levels are where they should be to tolerate the therapy. “If my levels are off, I don’t do the chemo, and I wait until next month,” said Carol. “This chemo is so much better. Dr. Gubbi is heaven-sent.”
Since November, Carol’s scans have been clear. She is thriving in her caregiver role, relishing family dinners with her husband, Joe, three children, and six grandchildren at her home in Williamsburg, Ohio. Carol has also embraced her role as a patient advocate. “You have to listen to your body,” she cautioned. “It’s easy to dismiss ovarian cancer symptoms as something less serious. A woman I always see at my local bank was complaining of stomach issues. I told her to make an appointment with Dr. Gubbi.” Dr. Gubbi performed a surgical procedure on her that averted a cancer diagnosis.
OHC’s leading cancer experts are highly sought-after thought leaders for patients seeking second opinions. Every patient should be confident in their diagnosis, treatment plan, and care team. To request a second opinion with one of OHC’s cancer doctors, call 1-888-649-4800 or visit ohcare.com.
Top picture: Carol Pangallo with OHC gynecologic oncologist, Ajit Gubbi, DOComments (0)
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