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Former Waco Nurse Defeats Terminal Cancer Odds, Celebrates 100th Chemo Treatment

Publication: KCEN-TV (NBC, Waco); WBIR-TV (NBC, Knoxville); WXIA-TV (NBC, Atlanta)

A former Waco nurse is beating the odds. After being diagnosed with metastatic pancreatic cancer, she celebrated her 100th chemo treatment Tuesday.

Marliss Williams spent 42 years working as a labor and delivery nurse in Waco, but unfortunately, in 2014, terminal cancer forced her to retire. Doctors said while some with this terminal illness turn toward hospice, Williams decided to fight the disease with chemo in hopes of living longer.

"God knows when I’m supposed to leave this earth, not me. I’m just going to keep going and keep going until he tells me it’s time to leave,” Williams said.

Dr. Carl Chakmakjian is Williams' doctor at Texas Oncology, he said it's rare for someone with this type of disease to get this far.

"The average survival for stage four pancreatic cancer is six to eight months, and so she's really been a miracle and inspiration for us with how well she's done,” Dr. Chakmakjian said.

Doctors and nurses were so amazed and inspired by Williams journey that they wanted to honor her by throwing a surprise party during her 100th chemo treatment. With her mother by her side, Williams says she'll always appreciate the staff who helped her.

"They're always upbeat, always encouraging,” Williams said. "I don't think I could even do their job."

Williams is in remission and her doctor said she now has the choice to continue with maintenance chemo, or take a chemo holiday.

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