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Alicia Mooty: A Journey of Resilience and Hope

Alicia Mooty

“As anxious as I was feeling for yet another diagnosis, I could just see the light at the end of this long tunnel,” Alicia said. “I knew I would make it there.”

Alicia Mooty
Breast Cancer, Colon Cancer

At the age of 49, Alicia Mooty had already faced her fair share of unexpected news. In 2019, she received the diagnosis of colon cancer and began her healing journey. Following successful surgery coupled with chemotherapy she was able to return to her everyday life.

But in November of 2021, Alicia's life took another unexpected turn. She started experiencing symptoms related to menopause, including intense cramps and heavy bleeding, so severe she went to the emergency room. It was there that doctors discovered a mass and diagnosed her with endometrial cancer. This marked the beginning of Alicia's journey with Terri B. Pustilnik, M.D., gynecologic oncologist at Texas Oncology–Deke Slayton Cancer Center.

Dr. Pustilnik determined that Alicia would need a hysterectomy. During the surgery, Dr. Pustilnik discovered the cancer had spread outside of the uterus to her ovaries, rectum, and appendix. Theodoros Voloyiannis, M.D., FACS, FASCRS,colon and rectal surgeon with Texas Colon & Rectal Specialists–Webster was brought in to assist in the complex surgery, a procedure that took more than seven hours to complete.

Unfortunately, Alicia's recovery was not without complications. Days later, she fell ill and was diagnosed with a severe form of colitis caused by clostridioides difficile bacteria. Dr. Voloyiannis performed a follow-up emergency surgery to repair her damaged colon. While in recovery, doctors also discovered a blood clot in her leg, and enlisted Texas Oncology–Deke Slayton Cancer Center medical oncologist and hematologist Dhatri Kodali, M.D., to join Alicia’s care team. She spent a week in the intensive care unit, fighting through these additional challenges.

“It was a complicated surgery, but Mrs. Mooty is a tough woman. The whole team here at Texas Oncology took excellent care of her,” says Dr. Pustilnik.

As her health began to improve, Alicia underwent six months of chemotherapy. Slowly but surely, she began to feel better and was able to return to work. Life started to feel normal again, and Alicia embraced the hope of a brighter future.

However, in February of 2023, Alicia's annual mammogram screening revealed suspicious spots on her breast, and she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast surgeon Jennifer Sasaki, M.D., M.S., with Texas Breast Specialists–Webster, performed a lumpectomy, and radiation was recommended as part of her treatment plan. With all she had been through, Alicia understandably admitted to feeling anxious.

“As anxious as I was feeling for yet another diagnosis, I could just see the light at the end of this long tunnel,” Alicia said. “I knew I would make it there.”

The Test That Changed Alicia’s Sisters Life

A significant turning point in Alicia's story came in March 2022 when Dr. Kodali recommended genetic testing. The test results came back positive for Lynch Syndrome, a condition that increases the risk of various types of cancer. Given this news, Dr. Kodali also recommended genetic testing for Alicia's sister. The results revealed that her sister was also positive for Lynch Syndrome. As a precautionary measure, her sister immediately underwent a colonoscopy, which fortunately came back negative. However, she later had a hysterectomy, and the pathology results confirmed the presence of cancer Alicia expressed her gratitude for Dr. Kodali and her team, acknowledging their role in changing her sister's life. “You can say ‘what if,’ but thanks to Dr. Kodali and her team, we don’t have to,” Alicia said.

A New Start

Throughout her journey, Alicia credits her positive attitude to the unwavering support from her husband and children. She is also thankful for the dedicated team at Texas Oncology, who fought tirelessly for her.

Alicia's personal mantra throughout this challenging ordeal has been "the only way forward is through it." She will continue with routine appointments and regular colonoscopies, but she is determined to start living her life to the fullest.

“It has made me face all of it head on without denial and with a focus on getting to a better place on the other side of it all,”Alicia said.

The information included in this testimonial is based on one patient’s unique experience and is not intended to represent all patient outcomes or expectations.