Jennifer Orvis

First post: Jun 20, 2021 Latest post: Oct 15, 2021
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In early April, jen was diagnosed with Stage IVB lung cancer. The only real symptom was a lingering cough and back pain under her shoulder blade. After 5+ Covid tests over 2020 and 2021, all negative, she decided to call the doctor to seek help with the cough. Monday she had a chest X-ray, that led to a chest CT scan in Tuesday, an appointment with the oncologist on Wednesday and a biopsy Thursday. The oncologist was unsure about the “type” of cancer, since jen had never smoked or been exposed to asbestos or other toxic chemicals, so we had to wait on the results. They also sent it off to the Mayo Clinic for genomic testing to help determine the course of treatment. The first week was crazy, but then it was just waiting for a month.

It was officially determined to be non small cell lung cancer with an subtype of adenocarcinoma. The particular mutation that caused the cancer is HER2 which unfortunately makes up a very small (5%) percentage of lung cancer and currently has no targeted therapy associated with it. This was heartbreaking since it removed an entire line of therapy before she even started. Her PDL1 was 70% so potentially immunotherapy will still be an option. After CT scans of the abdomen and pelvis and an MRI of the brain, it was determined that the cancer had spread to the bone on 2nd rib on left side-which explained the back pain, the sacrum and the hip. But her organs and brain were all clear.

She pursued second opinions at both MD Anderson and UC Health at Anschutz and they each agreed on a treatment plan which differed from the Boulder oncologist’s plan. With that wrinkle, we decided to make Dr Patil at the Anschutz her primary oncologist and would use Dr Negrao at MD Anderson as a coordinating doctor as questions arose. She is currently doing a 4-6 round chemo cocktail of carboplatin, alimta and avastin administered through IV infusion every three weeks. And a bone strengthener of zomeda every 9 weeks.

Although it has spread, she is ready to fight with all her heart to survive as long as she can. Given the extent of the spread in her lungs and bones, she will never be cancer free, but she is determined to make the most of the time she has left.

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