Judy Goodson met her mesothelioma diagnosis with uncommon optimism.
Instead of focusing on the prognosis or worst case scenario, she thoroughly researched the rare cancer. She was determined to beat it.
By the time doctors diagnosed her with peritoneal mesothelioma in March 2013, Goodson had already survived non-Hodgkin lymphoma. CT scans from that cancer eventually led to her mesothelioma diagnosis.
“I wasn’t afraid this time,” the four-year peritoneal mesothelioma survivor told Asbestos.com. “It made me realize that life is precious. It’s so precious.”
Goodson, 62, now proudly displays a tattoo of the Native American symbol for the phoenix on her lower back. Under the tattoo is a single, powerful word: “Warrior.“
“I believe with my heart that those that survive are warriors,” Goodson said. “I often joke with my friends that mesothelioma whispered in my ear, ‘You can’t handle me.’ And I told mesothelioma, no, you can’t handle me.”
Discovering the ‘Mystery Spots’
Prior to her non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis, Goodson lived a healthy life.
Doctors removed the 10-centimeter tumor on her left leg. A postoperative CT scan revealed several spots around her bladder.
“I called them the mystery spots,” Goodson said. “My doctors thought the non-Hodgkin’s had metastasized and was going there,” she said.
Six rounds of chemotherapy later — or “poison parties” as Goodson calls them — the spots remained.
“They wanted me to do two more because those spots were still there,” she said. “They weren’t any bigger, and they weren’t any smaller. They didn’t understand. I said no. I said I signed up for six, and six is my limit.”
Next came radiation treatments — 25 rounds of it. Nothing changed.
“They said we need to take a biopsy because something’s not right,” Goodson recalled. “At that point, I just didn’t want to hear anymore.”
It took some convincing, but Goodson had another scan and a needle-point biopsy. The result: Peritoneal mesothelioma, an incurable cancer that develops in the protective lining of the abdomen.
“I was kind of calm about everything, but I knew this was big,” she said. “I Googled it, and I just started researching.”