“I made the mistake of asking my oncologist about my survivability,” she said. “Don’t ever do that. He told me I had a 50 percent chance of being dead in a year and a half.”
That was the lowest point for Ranaee Janis of Chapin, S.C. She’d been fighting colon and lung cancer for three years. Naturally, the 41-year-old Army wife, a mother of two young children, was devastated.
“That was worse than the cancer diagnosis itself,” she said, thinking back to that moment. “Because you always think you have a good chance. This was like, well, the flip of the coin.”
Fortunately, her oncologist had more to say.
“About a year later he said he wanted to run an idea by me,” Janis continued. “He said there’s a procedure they do at Roper St. Francis in Charleston called CyberKnife. He said it was something I needed to look at. That it might save my life. I said I hope so. He said the worst they can do is say no.”
Naturally, Janis was vitally interested. Many cancer patients believe the next procedure, be it surgery or chemotherapy or whatever, is the answer. Because, as they say, hope springs eternal.
“I went down to Charleston and met Dr. Elizabeth Kline and she was great,” Janis said. “She said the cancer in my right lung was a candidate for CyberKnife.”
So, taking her life in her hands, Janis came to the Holy City for a week that would change her life. After a few days of prep work, she went under the CyberKnife, which sounds much worse than it actually is.
“There was no pain,” she said. “It’s just like a beam of light. I actually fell asleep during the treatments. The only hard part was waiting three months to see if it worked.”
In layman’s terms, CyberKnife is a procedure that can be used for people whose cancer is inoperable. But it’s also used to treat early-stage tumors or tumors that have travelled from somewhere else, i.e. the colon to the lungs.
And it has a very high success rate.
Bottom line, it worked for Janis. And two years after the surgery, she is cancer free.
Dr. Kline, the Roper St. Francis surgeon who operated on Janis, is happy with the results and proud to have CyberKnife at her disposal to help with some of the most difficult cancer tumors. Indeed, Roper is the only hospital in South Carolina with this cutting-edge technology.
“I saw Ranaee recently and she is free of disease, free of symptoms, she looks good and feels good and that’s a great thing for somebody who’s young and has children,” Dr. Kline said.
Janis, of course, agrees wholeheartedly.
“It’s been two years,” Janis said. “I feel normal, perfectly fine, and a lot of times I even forget that I had cancer.”
By: Ken Burger, former Post and Courier sports columnist and local author.