Porter, living with cholangiocarcinoma

Porter is a woman living with cholangiocarcinoma, or bile duct cancer affecting approximately 8,000 individuals in the United States.

As a single working mom of two children, Porter had her hands full. However, she never expected chemotherapy for cholangiocarcinoma to become part of her life. 

Before her diagnosis of cholangiocarcinoma, Porter was busy raising her children on the West Coast and working as a physician coordinator at a behavioral facility for adolescents.

Porter has a striking presence. She favors bold jewelry and is inked with tattoos. She is the epitome of fierce. She has been living with and fighting cholangiocarcinoma for the last decade.

For many years, Porter experienced symptoms of bloating and abdominal pain. Initially she was diagnosed with a benign tumor on her liver called a hemangioma. It took years for her to get an accurate diagnosis. Finally, in 2013, biopsies revealed that Porter had cholangiocarcinoma.

“My doctor told me to go home and hug my kids. I had never heard of bile duct cancer but all I knew at that point was that what I had was not good. I was very nervous.”

It has been a struggle, but Porter receives support from family and several close friends, whom she lovingly refers to as her “framily.” Porter also draws support from a Facebook group for cholangiocarcinoma patients who call themselves “warriors”. She recently became the leader of the group after the sudden death of the previous coordinator.

Since her diagnosis, Porter has gone through several cancer recurrences, three liver resections and two lung resections. Despite her hardships Porter is resilient and optimistic. While cholangiocarcinoma plays a significant role in her life, she is determined to not let it define her as a person.

“My disease may be stable, but it’s a constant. It’s a constant daily struggle and a constant fear. It can get all overwhelming but [I] take the time to appreciate all that I have too because there’s been a lot of good out of this as well.”