Jenn’s Story

Site created on March 25, 2018

Welcome to my Caring Bridge site. I hope this will help keep everyone updated during this confusing and frantic time.  I have had a bit of an ill winter (who hasn't right!?) I had some upper respiratory illnesses and most recently struggled with flu?/ virus that wouldn't go away. It progressed into some shortness of breath and I went back to the dr for the 6th time since December. I was sent for a chest xray. After that I was immediately sent to the ER with pleural effusion. 

Fast forward to the thoracic procedure to drain the fluid, the dr said the fluid needed to be sent to cytology out of procedure. I thought nothing of it. I spent the night because they though they may need to drain again the next day. At this point I hadn't told any family I was in the hospital because I thought I could be in and out pretty quick (sneaky huh?) A new dr came in the next day, the hospitals main Chest Surgeon, he was pleasant enough, talked about how to get the fluid off, importance of getting it all off before going home, yadda, yadda, oh and we need to rule out cancer. I laughed and said no no, I've been sick, I haven't taken the time to get better. I'm busy etc etc.  Then some mean little female dr came in (I haven't seen her since, I was a tad vocal about my feelings for her) and started talking about high cancer markers and all this crap. I was super confused, and I said "you think this is cancer?" She said possibly. I told her no way, she had no idea what she as  talking about, i've just been sick. She left, (thank goodness) and I was irritated to say the least!  I now see they were trying to prepare me, and I just wasn't having it. Sorry mean little dr lady. 

Then the moment I will never forget. The chest surgeon came in and said "it's cancer". I literally put my hand up and told him to stop talking, and i'm pretty sure I yelled at him a lot. (Sooo I spend my days with kindergarteners, this is how I deal with conflict, i'm so mature ;) ) He said he didn't know what kind, or where it was coming from, but I had cancer. WTH?!

The next morning, he came in ( guy) and told me it as BRCA related gynological cancer. I later found out they are officially diagnosing it as Primary Peritoneal Cancer or PPC. So rare, it doesn't even have a category to check on most websites. After the preventive surgeries that I have had, there is less than a 1% chance of getting this cancer. Maybe I should play the lottery.  

I quickly met a few members of my oncology team from White Oak, and to say they are AMAZING is an understatement. They believe in me, are full of encouraging TRUE stories, and are ready to get me through this. 

I am so lucky to have so many amazing, wonderful, and caring people in my life to help me through this! I am excited to get started and beat this thing so I can go one with my normal (although crazy ha ha) life! I hope this page helps everyone stay updated on my journey. Any and all positive thoughts, good vibes, prayers, words of encouragement, advice, are so very much appreciated.  Also keep my kiddos and my parents in your thoughts and prayers as they struggle with the emotions of dealing with this news. Much love!!

Newest Update

Journal entry by Jenn (Rooney) Durbal

I had been thinking for an entire week, what I wanted to eat after my afternoon Dr appt Thursday. I had it narrowed down to: french fries, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, fried chicken or wings! Can you tell I have been striving for a much healthier diet the past month? Well since that little 2 point scare last month, I took it upon myself to try and reset my PH level, thinking that mayyyyy influence my ca 125 number. Did it work? Ugh, I don't know. I do know that I have been dreaming about chili dogs, and chocolate cake! 

In the last 24 hours however, I have had onion rings and beer for dinner, followed by a snack of about a half bag (not a snack size bag y'all) of Salt n Vinegar chips, 6 oreos (I know this because it was a 6 pack snack pack and I did not share. In fact, I yelled for  Abby to come and get 4 so i'd only eat 2, but she took too long (like 5 seconds)), 2 Krispy Kreme Donuts (it WAS National Donut Day!), Burger King french fries (in my defense, they weren't mine, I was stealing them), IN addition to my usual breakfast, lunch, dinner etc. Sooooo, yup, i've got the bubble guts. 

BUUUUUUT..... my bubble gutted self IS DOWN 1.5 points! So did my little experiment work? I wish I knew! If I hadn't made those changes, would it have gone up? Oh my flippin goodness am I going to have to go through that healthy crap for another month??? 

So all in all it was a very good Dr visit! I think we are finally allllll on the same page, whew. When I was checking in, the lady next to me was checking out. She said she needed a 4 month appointment. I said "Oh I can't wait to be a 4 monther! Not that I don't love all of you and enjoy seeing you every month". And moooore than one person, nurses & secretaries, said "Oh you're on your way"!  Gotta love encouragement from people that know how this goes! All initial numbers looked good. Dr Rauch wasn't too worried about the initial 2 points that sent me into a tizzy last month, which calmed my nerves. We talked about what happens IF this months numbers weren't fantastic, that I was a little more tired lately, a few random headaches here and there etc. I have reasons, or excuses (however you want to look at it) for all of that tho. I gave up coffee...hello morning headaches! It's getting dark later, so it's less likely i'm in my jammies by 4:45pm. I'm staying up later, AND Abby is home, which keeps me busier. PLUS I am in my 7th week of work, so all that has to contribute to being tired right? So far we know I am full of excuses along with my bubble guts.

I was so (stupidly) worried that my number was going to go up, or worse, double, because that would've meant a change in treatment, which probably would have been some sort of chemo ~ that I would not have hair for summer. I know, totally dumb right?! I swear, sometimes the things I stress about irritate even me! Like that was my biggest concern? Ugh yes it was. The hair was gone by the end of April last year so I am so excited to have hair this year! I just didn't want to deal with that right now. I'm getting a little...searching for words...annoyed and impatient with this cancer crap. I mean, I like my extra day off every week that this diagnosis has allowed me to have. I enjoy my new attitude: "just charge it", "let's book that vacation", "nope, don't need that drama", but the constant "oh crap, I should be reading, or researching, poppin broccoli florets or chugging chunky green crap liquified by my Ninja" thoughts are getting old. It's like there is this constant voice reminding me to "worry", and not get toooo carefree cause ya know, cancer. Stupid voice. I told myself that IF my number went down this month, I was going to take that voice out to a dark alley and show it whose boss.  And it did go down, so I guess it's time to kick that voice to the curb! 

So anyways, let me brag on Dr Rauch for a minute. I had talked myself into the fact that I wouldn't have my ca 125 results until Monday. I put it out of my head, didn't check my phone a million times today,  wasn't even waiting on a call or a ding from my medical app. Then at 6:15 pm the phone rang. It was Dr Rauch herself. She said she didn't want me to worry all weekend, and the nurses and secretaries had all left, and my results had just come in. She said it went down 2 points, I was thrilled. Upon checking my app and seeing the actual report, the number went down 1.5 points but I really really appreciate how she rounded it up to 2. She just may find an Edible Arrangement on her desk this week! (Do Drs eat healthy? Would she rather have cookies?) Either way, I so appreciate her taking the time to call me on a Friday night and not only allow me to think I just may be on a pretty good road, but kinda agree with me! That sure feels like a win! 

So I suppose I shall continue my adventure into the world of ground chickory root fake coffee and wolfberry juice. Those things don't taste as good as onion rings, chocolate cake, and Michelob Ultra, but they don't give me bubble guts either =) 
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