Elizabeth Goad was 38 years old – raising five children and enjoying jeep rides on the weekends – when she was devastated by a life-altering cancer diagnosis.
“I had been gaining weight and having pressure and pain in my lower abdomen, so I made an appointment to see my OB/GYN,” said Elizabeth. “I could just tell something was off.”
After her appointment with the OB/GYN, she was referred for additional tests. It was likely her gallbladder was to blame. She was referred to Chad Copper, MD, a surgeon at Longstreet Clinic.
“I thought I was going in for a routine visit to schedule my gallbladder removal,” said Elizabeth. “I even had my 13-year-old son with me. I knew there was bad news when the nurse came in and offered to take my son to get a snack in the breakroom. The next part is a bit of a blur, but I remember Dr. Copper telling me that there were clumps of cells growing abnormally and covering my ovaries.”
Dr. Copper arranged for Elizabeth to see Andrew Green, MD, a physician with Northeast Georgia Physicians Group (NGPG) specializing in gynecological cancers, as soon as she left the office. Dr. Green and his staff stayed late that day to see Elizabeth.
“I was an emotional wreck,” said Elizabeth. “All I could think about was my family, and that I had a daughter about to start kindergarten. But, when I met Dr. Green, he had such a calming effect on me.”
Dr. Green diagnosed Elizabeth with Stage III cancer, and, together, they came up with a treatment plan which included surgery a week later. The cancer had spread to all her organs. During that first surgery, they removed her ovaries and put in a port which would allow her to receive chemotherapy more easily. She spent four days in the hospital and immediately started chemotherapy.
“I tried my best to stay strong for my family,” she said. “Dr. Green told me he would let me know when it was time to start worrying, and I believed him. I named my cancer Earl – and Earl had to die!”
Elizabeth underwent intraperitoneal chemotherapy, an innovative treatment that delivers medicine directly to the cancerous region. Few cancer centers in Georgia offered the treatment at that time, but the practice can often be one the best options.
Shortly after completing the first round of chemotherapy, Elizabeth had a second surgery to remove her gallbladder, appendix and uterus, and an additional port was put in her stomach. After surgery, she started chemotherapy again.
“Elizabeth demonstrated true strength every day by cherishing and prioritizing being a businesswoman, wife and mom while undergoing such a strenuous treatment regimen,” said Dr. Green. “She is a rockstar, and we are grateful to be a part of her wonderful outcome.”
“At my next scan several months later, I was all clear,” said Elizabeth. “Earl had actually died! I was so relieved to know that I’d get more time with my family. Dr. Green is truly my hero!”
Elizabeth has been in remission for 10 years and is once again living her life to the fullest. She runs a candy shop in Helen, Georgia, called Livi Lou’s Sweets and Treats – named after her daughter, Olivia Grace. She is also working on chipping away at her bucket list and has seen 30 of the 50 United States.
To hear more about Elizabeth’s story or to make an appointment visit www.ngpg.org/gynonc.