Jessica Berk

First post: Mar 5, 2022 Latest post: Jun 1, 2023
        At the beginning of the year, Jessica started to notice some abdominal swelling. We chalked it up to stress, and a possible issue with medication, until an ultrasound in late January revealed significant fluid pooling in her abdomen. She had 3.5 liters drained, and then had a follow-up CT scan one week later. Our hope for a less serious diagnosis was short-lived, when the scan revealed a softball sized tumor on her ovary, and she was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer. Within a matter of weeks, our entire world was rocked, and our lives changed forever. That is the bad news. The good news is that we serve a great and mighty God, and he has surrounded us with so many amazing individuals and organizations who have stepped up to fight this battle with us. Just twelve days after the diagnosis, Jessica was in the hospital at OHSU, undergoing a seven-hour operation. During that time, they removed her ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, a chunk of diaphragm, and six inches of colon. The great news to come from all of that is that the cancer had not spread beyond her abdomen, meaning it was stage three instead of stage four, which is huge in terms of delaying recurrence. In addition, the amazing team of surgeons were able to remove all chunks of visible tumor, which rarely happens. Those two factors, combined with Jessica's youth and good health, give her a huge leg up going forward. Unfortunately, it is almost a certainty that the cancer will someday return, but given these developments, we are more optimistic that we can delay that recurrence, and hopefully be prepared when it does occur. The next step is six rounds of chemotherapy, starting this Tuesday, and going through the end of June. The hope is that afterwards, the cancer will be into remission. Then the maintenance phase begins, which will likely include therapy, daily medications, and a nutritional regimen designed to keep the cancer in remission. This is a lifelong journey, but it's one that we are committed to winning, and plan to do so by the grace of God, and with the amazing support of so many friends, family, and loved ones. 

       We have been overwhelmed by the support, prayer, and encouragement that we have already received from so many corners of our lives, and from around the country. This is the fight of our lives, but we have no doubt that we have a great team to fight alongside us, and that will be what helps us win this in the end. It's certainly a marathon, not a sprint, but with the help of all of you, we'll cross the finish line cancer-free!

     -In Christ,
   Garrett, Jessica, Jason, and Cole

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