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Living with Carcinoid Cancer - Kim Woll's Story

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Posted 3/13/2015

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Kim Woll works as a nurse in Missouri. She's spent most of her life caring for patients. But, in November of 2008, Kim became the patient. "I didn't feel sick. I was doing everything I normally do. The only symptom I had was this pain in my abdomen every once in awhile." During gallbladder surgery, doctors discovered lesions on her liver. The day before Thanksgiving, Kim was diagnosed with carcinoid tumors (also known as neuroendocrine tumors.) The tumors were found in her liver, pancreas, colon, spleen and appendix. "At first, I went to California to another cancer center to have an opinion on what needed to be done," explains Kim. "They told me there was nothing that could be done, and to go home and live my life. Probably in six months I would start to get sick." Determined not to give up, Kim started doing her research. She found a YouTube video, featuring a patient at The Nebraska Medical Center, who was also diagnosed with carcinoid tumors. Kim decided to make an appointment. "From the minute I walked into the med center, I knew I was in the right place," remembers Kim. In February 2009, Kim underwent her first surgery. Doctors removed 22 tumors from the left lobe of her liver, half her pancreas was removed, a colon resection was done and she lost her spleen and appendix. Kim is also one of a few patients in the country to have a staged hepatic resection. During the procedure, transplant surgeon, Jean Botha, MD, removed all the tumors on one lobe of Kim's liver. Once the operated side grew back to an acceptable size, the opposite lobe (with the most tumors) was resected. Five years after her surgery, Kim is alive and living with cancer. She is being treated with monthly injections of a medication called Sandostatin LAR. Kim has also gone back to work as a nurse, and doesn't take a single second for granted. "The care I received at The Nebraska Medical Center is top quality," says Kim. "I'm a nurse, so I'm very critical about nursing. The nurses here are wonderful. From the minute I was admitted, I didn't have a worry in the world. It's more like family. That means a lot."