When Jessica went into Urgent Care on December 24th, 2021, she expected to be sent home with an antibiotic. She hadn’t felt well during her and Taylor’s recent trip to Canada but wasn’t too concerned by her symptoms. A simple solution was expected – then they could go on about their Christmas plans and she’d hopefully feel better in a short time. However, results from the CT scan at Urgent Care pointed to a more serious issue. In fact, it would be an understatement to say that any expectations she had were thrown for a loop.
While blood work results were not concerning, the CT scan revealed there was a blockage in Jessica’s small intestine that appeared to be a mass. It was recommended she immediately go in for surgery to remove the blockage. Once the mass was removed, they would be able to test if it was cancerous. This was considered highly unusual, as Jessica has no family history of health issues nor previous abdominal surgeries. Shocked and overwhelmed by this news, Jessica and Taylor made the drive to Scott and White in Temple for the procedure.
The procedure took place on Christmas Day. It went well as the surgeons were able to remove the entire tumor identified by the CT scan and 95% of all masses, leaving only some spots that were considered too risky to remove. Being the fighter that she is, Jessica worked to improve her condition so diligently she was able to return home on December 29th, a day earlier than originally anticipated.
On January 6th, 2022, Jessica and her family met with Baylor Scott & White oncology to review test results and treatment options. Jessica was diagnosed with stage three small bowel cancer and was informed that the cancer did manage to penetrate the inner lining of the wall of the visceral peritoneum. However, tests revealed that the cancer did not spread to any lymph nodes nor to any major organs which was fantastic news to hear! Additionally, the testing showed that the 5% of masses considered too risky to remove during the surgery were not cancerous - also great news! Jessica was informed that she will need to undergo further treatment to address any cancer that could be microscopic at this point. While there is certainly a difficult road ahead, it is comforting to know that what she is facing is treatable and curable!
Further testing revealed that Jessica tested positive for KRAS gene mutation, which is about 40% common in small bowel cancer. Jessica has chosen to pursue treatment options through MD Anderson in Houston. MD Anderson just so happens to be the leading researcher on this specific type of gene mutation, and they have developed target therapies to treat the mutation. Jessica will be going to MD Anderson for five days in early February for additional testing with her treatment team. Based upon results of this testing, future treatment will then be determined.
As one might imagine, this is been an unexpected and overwhelming time. Over the course of just a couple of weeks, to go from thinking everything is fine to a major surgery and a cancer diagnosis – it would be enough to rattle anyone. Jessica is a fighter and is remaining hopeful. She has an amazing and supportive husband and family who have been by her side from the beginning. She is loved by many friends, as well, who are all ready to continue supporting her in this journey.
Here you will find updates regarding Jessica’s journey along with links to a Meal Train and GoFundMe, additional opportunities to show support for Jessica. Please be in prayer for Jessica, Taylor, and their families.