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 (cautiously...smart 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

Phew, I don't even know where we left off, before the visit with Dr. Soper? Ah yes my adventure to Chapel Hill. Let's just say i'm glad I left at 6 am for my 8 am appt. I got there in plenty of time, but parking literally took me an hour. I mayyyy have gotten stuck in a physician only parking garage and had to find my way out of that, without an employee scan card, thaaaat was fun.

So Soper said my hair won't completely fall out this time, just thin, and if he is wrong I will chase him around his office with a pair of clippers, I promise. We are going with Cistplatin, Gemzar, and Avastin this time. I've had Avastin, so i'm not overly worried about that one. Gemzar is a "gem", easy, so they say. But Cistplatin is a big fat jerk. Really tough on the kidneys, so I need to drink a crap ton of water everyday. I must've gotten up to pee 5 times last night. Cistplatin is also the one that may cause my hair to thin, ugh. We are set for 6 of these, if all goes as planned my last one will be on Christmas Eve. Hoping this new chemo mix will get rid of the new junk and we can go back on a fancy PARP for another year (or more!) of stability.

I had my first chemo on Friday, so today isn't the best day every but i'm up, so that's a plus. Tomorrow and Wednesday will probably be suckers, as days 4 and 5 are expected to be. I've been pretty active since Friday so i'm not shocked at having a bit of a crash day a day early. Abby is home for fall break and has come college friends coming to town so I've been cooking and baking. Plus we too Amberly to her first ever hockey game Saturday night! She even got a high five from the mascot Caroline! 

My chemo schedule from now on will be every other Tuesday. In hopes that I can work, Wed, Thur and Fri before having a crash day ~ which will hopefully be on Saturday and Sunday. It will probably take some tweeking but it's only 12 weeks, so I am pretty sure I can truck through it. 

Cutting it short so I can grab a quick lay down before some visitors stop over this afternoon. As always, your thoughts, prayers, good vibes, all you got, is very much appreciated. Thank you to everyone who purchased a t shirt! I can't wait to see them! <3


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