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In June of 2016 Jeannette found a mass on her left breast and went through a series of diagnostic tests which lead to her bi-lateral mastectomy on July 14, 2016. Biopsies during surgery confirmed a diagnosis of High Grade Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS), which is often considered a grade 0 cancer, as lymph nodes were negative for metastasis and her margins were clean. She was thrilled that she had the best type of breast cancer to have. Those who have bi-lateral mastectomies with a DCIS diagnosis should not have to worry about the return of breast cancer in 97 - 99% of the cases. Although her recovery was lengthy, she was on her way to living cancer free. Or so she thought.
In mid to late summer of 2017 shortly after starting her new job, Jeannette began experiencing nausea on top of the chronic fatigue she has had for a few years. Over the next several months she saw her doctor to treat the nausea and eventually have diagnostic tests done on her gallbladder. After finding out that her gallbladder was functioning poorly, she had it removed on December 7, 2017. Following surgery, Dr. Garner (who performed the mastectomy) presented her with images of her liver which included multiple suspicious ulcer like lesions on the surface of her liver. Dr. Garner informed Jeannette that she was submitting the biopsy of her liver and should have results the following Monday.
On Monday December 11, 2017 at approximately 5 PM, Dr. Garner called Jeannette asking her to meet her at the hospital at 6:30 PM to discuss the results of the biopsy. Jeannette called her support team and we all drove to the hospital where Dr. Garner delivered the news that the biopsy came back as metastatic breast cancer on her liver. In other words, Stage 4 Breast Cancer.
She handled this news with grace and dignity like no other. The conversation was lengthy and many questions were left to be handled by the oncology team after a PET and brain scan, which were scheduled the same week. Both of those scans indicated that there are no other metastasis at this point.
She met with the Dr. Shekhani at Mercy discuss test results and recommended treatment. She had a second opinion with Dr. Berkhard at the UW to verify that the recommended treatment was best suited for her.
The final result of all tests showed that Jeannette has ER/PR positive and HER2 positive breast cancer. Although HER2 positive breast cancer is an aggressive form of breast cancer, the treatment offered today successfully targets the HER2 cells to slow or stop the rapid growth rate of those cells. The recommended treatment includes Taxol (chemotherapy), Projeta and Herceptin (both of the latter are targeted therapies). Each round of treatment extends over three weeks with the first week including all three medications (usually a 6 hour time frame) and the following two will be the chemotherapy (a 3 hour time frame). In addition, she is receiving Zoladex monthly to put her into menopause.
On December 26, 2017 Jeannette had a port placed to administer treatment and on Friday, December 29, 2017 she began her first round of treatment which included all three medications.
She felt pretty good over the weekend and was able to celebrate New Year's Eve at the Country Club with Eric and friends.