Arlene noticed soreness and swelling of her left shoulder and neck area in June. She thought that she may have strained a muscle after working out at the gym or from jiu jitsu training. She decided to make an appointment with her primary physician when it didn’t seem to get better.
June 29: Arlene had an office visit with her primary doctor.
June 30: An ultrasound was done of the affected area.
July 1: She went in for a mammogram.
July 8: A CT of upper body and biopsy were performed.
July 12: First official report from CT stating “suspicious for metastatic disease”.
July 13: X ray and lab work done. Biopsy results came back positive for PAX-8 and CK 7, these are markers indicating primary tumor site of ovarian origin. X-ray showed clusters of metastatic carcinoma (cancer) within lymph nodes.
July 14: CT of abdomen and initial meeting with oncologist.
July 15: Brain MRI and PET scan performed. No cancer involvement seen in brain, breasts, or other vital organs. Cancer was noted in both ovaries, uterus, cervix, and multiple lymph nodes in abdomen, neck, chest and armpit.
July 18: Virtual meeting with genetic counselor. Arlene has a family history of the BRCA gene mutation. This gene mutation increases the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. If Arlene does have this gene mutation (which is highly likely) then her treatment plan will include a targeted maintenance therapy with PARP inhibitors. These prevent cancer cells from repairing themselves.
July 19: Met with GYN oncologist to discuss treatment options.
July 20: Arlene is scheduled for surgery to remove a lymph node in either the armpit or shoulder area. (The surgeon will decide at time of surgery which lymph node is most accessible for removal.) This will be sent out to pathology for further testing to identify specific cancer cells present. She will also have blood drawn for genetic testing.
July 25: Virtual meeting scheduled to learn about chemotherapy treatment.
August 4: Arlene will start her first round of chemotherapy.
The plan: At 39 years old, Arlene has stage 4 metastatic ovarian cancer. Chemotherapy will be a five hour IV infusion every 21 days. The oncologist is hoping that after 3-4 rounds of chemotherapy she will be able to have a full hysterectomy (removing both ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes and cervix). After surgery she will continue with chemotherapy treatments. If tests come back that she has the BRCA gene mutation then she will start maintenance therapy after chemo is completed.
Please pray for Arlene, her sons Eric and Jaydin, and her oncology team as they begin this fight.
We have set up a couple of donation websites for Arlene. We are hoping this will help alleviate some of the financial burden that comes along with this cancer diagnosis.
Go Fund Me:https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-arlene-fairbanks-fight-ovarian-cancer?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet&fbclid=IwAR1dA_UUpS7s9Yh551LXoOP5nct_WWAFbsYNR_0r7X8g9EkQrm5Dik9jQNY&fs=e&s=cl
Or you can send donations directly to her Venmo account: @Arlene-Fairbanks. Last four digits of phone number for payment verification is 1102.
(Note: Donations to Caring Bridge help fund this site. They will not go directly to Arlene.)