Fort Worth

Rare Treatment Helps Cancer Patient Celebrate Holidays With Family

Fort Worth woman is thankful this holiday season for life-prolonging cancer treatment

NBCUniversal, Inc.

It's been a very emotional year for 32-year-old Elizabeth Pegueros of Fort Worth.

"There were a few moments I did not think I would make it to this holiday season,” Pegueros said.

In March she visited John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth for what she thought was just pneumonia, but discovered something much more serious.

"They did a biopsy and about a week later I was diagnosed with cancer," Pegueros said.

Things progressed quickly from there.

"Later that week I was told that I probably could only make it through the weekend," she said.

This news was hard for her to accept. She wasn't ready to tell her family goodbye.

"Definitely you don't think at 32 you are going to be saying goodbye to your 8-year-old child," Pegueros said. "Stage four everybody sees terminal and the doctor said there is no cure. So to tell your parents they might lose their little girl is very hard."

But one doctor gave her an alternative.

"So I took that chance,” Pegueros said. “I said absolutely I'll take any chance that you are giving me."

"Not many people in the country do this procedure,” JPS Hospital interventional pulmonologist Dr. Paras Patel said. 

But he does it at JPS. He's one of the only doctors performing the rare and high-risk lung stent surgeries in Fort Worth.

"We remove all the tumor from a patient’s lung and then we place multiple stents to keep the airways open," Patel explained. "The more open the airways are, the patient can breathe better and can undergo further treatment of chemotherapy and radiation therapy which are the definite treatment options for these patients."

This procedure has extended her life.

"I feel very blessed,” Pegueros said. “I feel I was in the right place at the right time."

She's now stable and fighting her cancer with immunotherapy.

She knows her battle isn't over, so she's cherishing every extra moment she has this holiday season.

"You definitely cherish the little moments more,” Pegueros said. “You don't hurry through the gift wrapping as much."

Contact Us