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Jennifer Cummings Rabich

Jennifer Cummings Rabich

On September 18, 2017 I entered Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital for surgery. I had a 20cm mass on my left ovary. My symptoms started in February of that year when I noticed that when I would lay on my stomach, I couldn’t put any weight on my left side. I put off going to the doctor because as a mother with a child with special needs, it’s not uncommon that we put our own needs on the back burner. As the months went on, my stomach was becoming more and more bloated. It became extremely difficult to walk or do anything physical. That July, my period never came. By August, I finally went to my OB/GYN to see what was going on and she thought that I was pregnant because that’s how big my stomach was. Tests show that I wasn’t pregnant and that she felt something that was about the size of a basketball. She immediately arranged for a CT scan to be performed. The day I had the scan done, she called me at home that night to tell me that there was a mass. It was hard to tell where it was coming from - my uterus or my ovary. Also couldn’t tell if it was cancerous. She was referring me to a gynecological oncologist. She remarked at how calm I sounded, so I told her that I needed to pay extra attention to what she was saying because I had to relay the information to my family.

My mother and I met the doctor. They performed a sonogram and my mother almost fell off her chair because the mass took up the whole screen. I didn’t feel comfortable with his plan and was going to have a second opinion. I had my second opinion at MSK with Dr. Gardner who ended up doing my surgery. She was very kind and immediately put me at ease. My mom and aunt came with me for support. That day we scheduled my surgery. I could’ve had it done sooner, but needed to be sure that my daughter Shaylie was settled into her routine at school. Her teacher and therapists knew what our situation was and made sure that Shaylie was well taken cared of. This was going to be the first time that I was ever going to be away from Shaylie for an extended amount of time. My mom stayed at our house to get Shaylie ready for school and to have some sort of normalcy at home for her. On September 18, my mother, aunt and husband accompanied me to the hospital. I was in surgery for 9 hours. It was well into the next morning when I finally got out of the OR. Mom left to go relief my mother in law who was watching Shaylie. My aunt and husband saw me and I asked if I had cancer because I was trying to feel around for a port. My aunt told me that I did have cancer. I had stage 1c Clear Cell Carcinoma. It was contained. I had a total hysterectomy along with having my ovaries removed and debunking. During surgery, Dr. Gardner performed a frozen section which told her right away if it was cancer or not.

Before all of this happened, I was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2008 during surgery when I was having difficulties getting pregnant with Shaylie. My doctor at that time said that the endometriosis will come back with vengeance, which it did. What we didn’t know was the life changing impact it would have because my cancer was caused by it. About 5% of Clear Cell Carcinoma of the ovary cases had endometriosis. Not many women or doctors are aware of this. Since I found out, I’ve made it my mission to share my story so women are aware that the possibility is out there so they can stay on top of their health. Clear Cell Carcinoma can be platinum resistant, therefore, the rate of reoccurrence is high.

In October 2017, I met my medical oncologist, Dr Hyman. My frontline protocol was 6 treatments of a combination of Taxol & Carbo every 3 weeks. I started chemo that November. First treatment I had a very bad reaction to the Taxol. The nurses were incredible. They stopped it, flushed it, gave me more steroids & Benedryl and restarted Taxol at a slower pace. About two weeks later, my hair started to fall out. By my third treatment, my veins started to go kaput because they were damaged by the chemo. It was very taxing on me trying to find a vein. There was a lot of crying. Giving up wasn’t an option. I cried, I screamed and I cussed because I couldn’t take the poking and prodding anymore. On February 27, 2018 I had my final treatment. I couldn’t get through all of that without the love and support of my family and friends, especially my mother who came with me to every treatment and my husband who would arrange to be home on my treatment days for Shaylie. Now I go for my follow up CT scans and blood work every 3 months. I have been NED (No Evidence of Disease) for 16 months.

Since this walk takes place so close to the anniversary of my diagnosis, I want to give back to this community because so much still needs to be done in terms of early detection and screening. By the time some women are diagnosed, they are already in the late stages of Ovarian Cancer. I was extremely lucky that mine was caught in the early stages.

Please help me support National Ovarian Cancer Coalition by making a contribution to my fundraiser and sharing this page with your family and friends. Every dollar I raise will advance National Ovarian Cancer Coalition's great cause! Additionally, you can ask me how you can get involved too.
Together, we can make a difference!

Comments

$370
raised of $500 goal
 

Achievements

Recent Donations

$100.00
1. MCMaureen Cummings
❤️
$20.00
2. KLKerry Lang
So glad you came to the reunion that night...you make me laugh each day! Xo
$25.00
3. hMHelen MCALEER
Good Luck Jen.......rooting for you. Love, Aunt Helen
$25.00
4. DCDiane Carnevale
$50.00
5. KBKristen Byrne
Good luck Jen!!! ❤️ Such a great cause.
$50.00
6. JDJennifer Dargenio
Jennifer, you rock!!! xoxo