152: Laurie Adami: This SuperGirl came back from cancer 7 times before overcoming with new treatments. What an inspiration…

May 22, 2020

Laurie Adami

Laurie Adami not only a 13-year cancer survivor, but she fought and overcame 7 cancer relapses during the course of that fight for her life. Before this tumultuous experience began, she unfortunately had her gut feelings ignored by doctors. “I was 46-years-old and, as you said, I was running a company. It was a financial services company, traveling a lot. Every month, on the road, London, New York, Boston, wherever. I had a little kid who was 4-5-years-old, and I just started to get really tired. I just thought something was really wrong. I couldn’t get the doctors to take me seriously. I think it was a combination of the fact that I have blonde hair and maybe there are hypochondriacs out there or something. But, definitely my concerns were dismissed, over and over and over again.”

On this episode of Finding Your Summit Podcast, we talk with Laurie Adami, 13-year Cancer Survivor, Software Company President, CAR-T Trial Patient, and Immunotherapy Fundraiser. Laurie wisely trusted her instincts and worked with a doctor that finally diagnosed her with the source of her bad feelings. “I just knew in my heart that something was really wrong with me. Come to find out, I had to finally get rid of the doctors I was seeing who would not listen to me and go to a whole new set of people, who finally send me in for a CT scan, and come to find out, I had a mass the size of a grapefruit in my abdomen, and I was stage 4 cancer. It was throughout my body, in my lungs, on my scalp, in my teardrop ducks, in organs. It was everywhere.” 

What You Will Learn:

What exactly was this rare form of cancer that Laurie Adami was dealing with? “Here I am, whoa, wait, I’m not ok. Come to find out, it’s an incurable type of cancer. So, it was a form of blood cancer, Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, that I was told, ‘look on the bright side, it is treatable.’ And I would say, ‘yeah, but it is not curable.’ ‘No, it is not curable, but it is treatable.’ Well, that is all fine and good. But, if the treatment works, and you can get a break, and you can be well.”

Which type of treatment did Laurie proceed with? “But unfortunately for me, the story was, I would get a treatment, and then it would come right back. So, I was what they call, a frequent relapser. This diagnosis back in 2006 was something, at the time, that had a brute force chemotherapy treatment and a bunch of other things that they were trying. But nothing was really that effective yet. So, that’s when I learned that it wasn’t such a pretty picture.” 

Laurie Adami opens up about what it was like to be a mother facing the potentially fatal dilemma of stage 4 cancer. “I just lost it. I immediately thought of my kid, right? My little boy who was 5 at the time, and immediately thought, oh my God, he is not going to have a mom, because one of the things that were being painted to me as a possibility was fatal in a month. Like no treatments. That was like, boom, you’re done. So, that is of course where my brain starts to go.”

At the time, physically speaking, did Laurie feel worse having this form of cancer infested all over her body or chemotherapy drips that are like poisoning herself to cure herself? “I didn’t feel that rotten on chemotherapy. Now, there are so many things that they can give you to prevent side effects. So, for example, I never got nauseous. So, that to me, you know, I didn’t feel great. I was tired. That was probably my biggest complaint was the exhaustion. But, I quickly decided if I kept moving I would feel better physically.”

Laurie talks about some of the nightmare scares that occurred during her cancer battle. “I had some scary stuff happen. Like the day after my chemotherapy, I developed a urinary blockage and I had to go to the ER, and then a couple of weeks later I got a blood clot in my lung and I had to go to the ER. So, there was stuff that I had to deal with. But, I kind of looked at it like, you know what, this is really like a bump in the road. This is going to end, and even if I feel crappy, it is going to end.  

Never Give Up

Laurie Adami shares her personal passion and motivation to survive and overcome the painful grips of cancer. “Bottom line, I kept thinking about my son, you know? I kept thinking. I had someone say to me, ‘oh, kids lose their moms all the time and they are fine.’ And I was like, that’s not ok. That is not ok. My thoughts just keep coming back to my son, and my husband would say, ‘Well, what about me? You aren’t worried about me?’ I was like, you will find another wife. But a child can’t get another mom. They have one.” 

CAR T Immunotherapy

During this episode of Finding Your Summit Podcast, Laurie Adami also talks about the treatment that she was able to benefit from, which is being currently looked at as a direction to go in for potentially helping those being stricken by COVID-19. “It is CAR T Immunotherapy. It stands for Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell therapy. They are calling it like the discovery of penicillin, or the development of the polio vaccine. It is amazing. I heard about this first in 2011 and I told my oncologist at the time, ‘you have to keep me alive so I can live to get CAR T, because I had such a different feeling about it. Because, it is taking your actual immune system, making your immune system smarter, putting it back in your body and having it attack the cancer, and only the cancer. So, I have no long-term side effects from CAR T.”

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