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Abbreviations & Acronyms
dx diagnose, diagnosis
FSH follicle-stimulating hormone
IBS irritable bowel syndrome
IVP intravenous pyelogram — study to look at the kidneys and ureters
NED no evidence of disease
s/s signs & symptoms
SLS second-look surgery
TAH / BSO total abdominal hysterectomy / bilateral salpingectomy and oophorectomy — removal of, respectively: uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries
tx treat, treatment
US ultrasound
WAR whole abdominal radiation
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Keiko Walker

Submitted on 01/27/2003
Photo of Keiko Walker We are terribly sad to let our readers know that Keiko died on January 11, 2003 at the age of 38. She leaves behind two young children and her husband Jeff. Messages posted to the MPSC discussion board follow her story.

I am 36 years old, and I was diagnosed in April of 2000 with Stage IIIC Micropapillary Serous Carcinoma. I have a pretty incredible story to tell.

I had absolutely no symptoms, and the cancer was diagnosed during an unexpected C-section that delivered a perfectly healthy 8-pound baby girl! My pregnancy was wonderful. I am a fitness instructor, teaching 10-12 classes a week. I taught all the way up until labor- my water broke in the middle of my kickboxing class! There were alot of opportunites to discover the cancer, as I had regular sonograms. At the last one, the radiologist told me she saw a fibroid tumor, but that they usually go away after pregnancy. I also had two highly abnormal pap smears during my pregnancy. My OB/GYN looked at my cervix under a microscope, and it looked normal. He said that a biopsy during pregnancy could be risky, so we decided to wait until after the baby was born (which I now thank God I did). My labor did not progress normally. My water broke but I had no pain or contractions (totally different from my first labor). My cervix was dilated at 9 centimeters and they gave me Pitocin to induce contractions- still nothing. The baby ascended back up the pelvis, and my cervix closed completely shut. The doctors and nurses were stunned. The baby was being monitored and was doing great. A C-section was the next option. I fought hard because I did not want one, but finally gave in after 9 hours. Thanks to God, my little guardian angel saved my life. If I had had a vaginal delivery, they would have never seen the Ovarian Cancer growing inside of me.

I went through six treatments of Carbo/Taxol, and second-look surgery revealed disease progression. I am now on my 7th treatment of DOXIL, and the CT scan showed no progress. After networking and researching on this rare form of Ovarian Cancer, I found that it is slow-dividing, thus non-responsive to chemo, and very persistent. I am looking for a new oncologist, as my current one wants me on DOXIL until "the end". So, "the end" is here- the end of our doctor/patient relationship!!! I am looking for some clinical trials, and praying every day for another miracle!

A picture of me and some of my wonderful and supportive students — I couldn't have done it without them!

Messages Posted to the MPSC Discussion Board

She was an amazing person and she will be missed by all of us on the board who admired her courage and her spunk.
     Our prayers go out to her family! --Sean Patrick

Keiko's story made me feel as if I knew her. Her death hurts. It hurts because we have lost a vibrant mother and friend; we have lost a spirit who reached out to others. If, by adding my story as Keiko did, I can touch someone else in a positive way, then I shall add my story. It is my hope and prayer that angels here on earth will mother Keiko's children as she would wish. --Starla

Keiko touched the lives of everyone she met. Don't ever give up, keep fighting, kicking, biting, screaming - that was Keiko! When you are faced with something that you cannot change, you have a choice! That was the Keiko I knew, loved, respected and will miss every day of my life. Cancer has taken alot of things from me, but cancer has given me one thing that I wouldn't give up for anything and that was the friendship that I found with Keiko. I love you Keiko Shimizu Walker!!!! Now someone has posted a thought about a fund for the children. I think that this is a great idea. Anyone interested in setting something up, please contact me via email and I will get the ball rolling if there is enough support for such an idea. That would be an honor for me to do. Brandon and Nicole are absolutely beautiful and Keiko worshiped them. This would make her very happy. --Linda Sharp

How sad to hear about Keiko, it sounds like she gave everything she had to fight her disease. I am very sorry for her family's loss and that such a wonderful woman was taken too soon. My sympathy goes out to her husband, children and family. --Katie

I think it's a nice idea to consider Keiko's children. I do know that Keiko requested, in lieu of flowers, that donations/contributions go to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance in her honor (Keiko Shimizu Walker) . I have asked the family if there is such a fund for Brandon and Nicole and will post the answer here.
     I just wanted to add that Keiko was hopefull right up until the end. Three weeks before she died she had phoned me to ask for my doctor's name and number hoping he may have another therapy for her to try. She had an appointment which she wasn't able to keep. In the summer she wrote in an email that she would go kicking and screaming to her grave and she did. --Marissa

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