Treatment: Cancer Treatment
Olga Butova was getting ready for another great summer, which arrives late in the Southern Siberian town of Kurgan compared to other places around the world.
From Siberia with Love
Olga Butova was getting ready for another great summer, which arrives late in the Southern Siberian town of Kurgan compared to other places around the world. Passionate and talented about growing unique perennials, she could not wait for the snow to melt so she could get to her beloved dacha, orwhat Russian people call their garden. The summer of 2010 was going to be her best one yet. But things did not go as planned.
In March 2010, Olga started noticing that she was feeling out of breath and weak after performing usual daily tasks. She also started experiencing pain in her abdomen on her right side. First, Olga went in for an ultrasound which revealed multiple metastases in her liver and further examinations brought more terrible news: stage four colon cancer with a large tumor in her colon that was obstructing her entire intestinal system.
Searching for a better alternative
At 53, Olga and her family could not believe the news. It was shocking and devastating. Olga turned to the local specialists at the Oncology Center in Kurgan. However, her eldest daughter, Yuliya, who has lived in the United States for 12 years, immediately started looking at better alternatives abroad, knowing the challenges of the healthcare system in Russia. After three sleepless nights communicating back and forth with three hospitals in Israel, one in Thailand, and one in Turkey, the family chose Anadolu Medical Center n Turkey. Olga was excited and nervous at the same time. But nonetheless, having put her fears aside, Olga and her youngest daughter Elina travelled to Turkey.
In the hands of experts
Upon arriving at Anadolu Medical Center, Olga was immediately admitted and scheduled for tests, blood work, and evaluation by a team of two surgeons: Dr. Kemal Raşa and Prof. Dr. Metin Çakmakçı , who have worked side by side for over ten years. Both doctors spoke perfect English, making it easy for Olga’s eldest daughter throughout the entire process. Colonoscopy and PET-CT tests confirmed the primary mass in Olga’s colon, liver, peritoneal and bilateral pelvis disease. Olga was scheduled for surgery to remove a large mass from her colon two days later.
The surgery lasted three hours. A tumor 12 cm in diameter was removed from her colon as well as her right ovary which had a cancerous mass. Dr. Kemal Raşa promptly spoke to Olga’s daughters about the success of the operation and next steps. Olga’s recovery was amazing to her. When she heard that her doctors wanted her to walk the following day, she thought that it was impossible. She was told by the Russian physicians that she would be able to walk only by the end of one month. But she did what she thought was impossible and walked the following day. But Olga did more than just walked the day after her surgery: she was up dancing with her youngest daughter three days after the surgery. See for yourself.
While Olga was still recovering at the hospital, her eldest daughter shared with their International Patient Specialist Mirlan the family’s financial challenges and asked for assistance with finding the best possible lodging option for them to stay for subsequent chemotherapy treatments after her mother’s recovery. The International Patient department again exceeded all of her expectation: a local family gave an apartment to Olga and her daughter in a nearby city of Tuzla for the entire duration of Olga’s treatment. This was truly amazing!
Ready for the next battle and fighting to win
On May 10th, 2010, Olga and her daughter were back at the hospital for a PET-CT scan and KRAS testing in preparation for her chemotherapy. There they met the head oncologist, Prof. Dr. Haluk Onat, who explained: “KRAS testing reveals mutations in the KRAS oncogene, which can mutated and non-mutated, and is carried out on samples of primary tumor removed during surgery, so it can be done before drug treatment is initiated”. The test revealed that Olga’s KRAS tumor did not have mutations and were considered wild type. Based on these findings, Dr. Haluk Onat recommended a three-month targeted and general chemotherapy with a combination of Erbitux and Folfiri drugs, administered every week.
Under close observation by a team of oncologists and supported by anti-vomiting, anti-nausea, and nutritional medications, Olga was able to take long daily walks along the Marmara Sea, exercise, Skype with her friends and family, write letters, and learn Turkish. “In Russia, patients who undergo chemotherapy are bed ridden for the entire duration of the treatment and do not have access to medications that help with side effects and improve quality of life during the treatments. And here, I am alive and active. I am so thankful to everyone here. My family and I made the right decision to bring me here and I am so thankful.”