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Going on three years - Patient diagnosed a week before Christmas

IU Health Simon Cancer Center

Going on three years - Patient diagnosed a week before Christmas

Diagnosed three years ago with ovarian cancer, Stormy Butler is finding success with an experimental treatment.

By IU Health Senior Journalist, T.J. Banes,

At first she thought it might be a gall bladder attack. But when the pain intensified, Stormy Butler knew it was something more.

The week before Christmas, three years ago she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. When she got the call, she was at her job, working in corporate strategy for Cummins, Inc.

“I never thought I’d have cancer. I remember that day well. It was on a Wednesday and I went into the conference room and felt like everything drained out of my body through my fingertips,” said Butler, who lives in Columbus, Ind.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describe ovarian cancer as a group of diseases that originate in the ovaries, or in the related areas of the fallopian tubes and the peritoneum. The American Cancer Society estimates 21,410 women will receive a diagnosis of ovarian cancer in 2021. About half the women who are diagnosed are 63 years old or older.

Butler is 61.

When she visited the doctor the day after Christmas in 2018, Butler was told there was about an 80 percent chance of getting the cancer under control. Surgery followed to remove as much of the cancerous area as possible, including her colon and appendix.

“They said the rest was like if you threw a handful of cottage cheese and it was speckled on the wall,” said Butler. On Valentine’s Day, 2019 she began chemotherapy. “It went into remission but then came back about the size of a grain of rice,” said Butler. In the care of Dr. Sharon Robertson she began an experimental drug. She comes to IU Health Simon Cancer Center every 53 days for three hours of infusion.

“I call it the ‘voodoo drug’ because it’s really taking on the cancer. It seems to be working pretty well and I’ve never been sick or slowed down by treatments, ” said Butler.

Married to her husband, Chuck, for 41 years, Butler has one adult child and is raising he 12-year-old granddaughter. She enjoys working in her flowerbeds, watching the Smithsonian and History Channels, and playing with her 2-year-old Maltese, “Rigby” named after the Beatles’ Song “Eleanor Rigby.”

Her favorite pastime is attending auctions. An avid collector of antique biscuit jars; Butler says she is always on the hunt for a treasure.

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