Denison woman survives extremely rare, 10-inch tumor

By: Steven Powell Email
By: Steven Powell Email

DENISON, TX -- A local woman is lucky to be alive after surviving a tumor doctors describe as the size of a small arm. It's an extremely rare form a cancer with only 300 reported cases in history.

Vivian Peters said it came out of nowhere, when she started experiencing extreme fatigue and swelling in her lower body.

At first, doctors thought it was a blood clot. But after she was sent to Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas for testing, they discovered it was a tumor growing in a major vein in her chest.

"They said they never had a case like that or seen a case like this before," Peters said. "One of the doctors said it was as big as his arm."

Peters had leiomysarcoma cancer which formed in the inferior vena cava, a major vein in the chest, said Dr. Robert Goldstein, assistant director of liver transplantation at Baylor University Medical Center.

"This is a very rare tumor that only a handful of cases have ever been reported, ever," Goldstein said.

Peters said when they explained to her the surgery they were about to perform all she said was "just get it all out."

"I didn't think nothing. I put it in God's hands. I didn't have any second thoughts whatsoever," she said.

Goldstein said they had to completely remove her liver and kidneys from her body just so they could get to the tumor. The surgery took 12 hours and more than 20 surgeons.

"We reconstructed the vein, and then sewed the liver back in as well as the kidney," he said.

To say she's lucky would be an understatement.

"Very few places in the world would be able to handle a case like this. Baylor is one of the few," he said.

And Peters knows how lucky she is.

"They told me that the tumor could have took a left instead of taking a right, and it would have been right there on my heart. And that tells me that God was watching out for me," she said.

Peter's mother, Loreene Fields, said she was shocked when she heard about her daughter's tumor.

"I just couldn't see it. I don't even know how it happened. But it did. And God gave her strength," Fields said.

Fields is taking care of Peters as she recovers. And though Peter's far from feeling like herself, she's highly optimistic.

"Cause I know God has got something in store for me bigger and betters. And I just can't wait to see what it is," she said.

Peters still has two more rounds of chemo. But after the chemo wraps up, doctors say she should be feeling more like herself in about 4 to 6 weeks.


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