Fighting Whitney's Way

On July 6th 2018 Whitney checked into the hospital for an oophorectomy, a surgical procedure to remove her left ovary. She had experienced significant pain in her lower abdominal region. The pain persisted and upon a visit to the emergency room a CT scan revealed a large 14 cm tumor located on her left ovary. She was referred to a gynecologic oncologist and upon assessment the tumor initially was believed to be a low 10% chance of malignancy. The morning of her procedure the probability of cancer grew considerably. Prior to entering the operating room, her doctor informed us the odds drastically increased from a 10% to a 40% possibility of malignancy. Tumor markers in her blood work indicated the potential of a much more dangerous diagnosis than Whitney or our family anticipated. It was as if all air left the room in those brief moments before the doctor entered the operating room.

 During surgery, a radical debulking of metastatic ovarian cancer was performed. The 14 cm tumor had grown to 20 cm with gross metastatic disease that spread throughout her abdomen. Despite the difficult nature of the surgery the doctor believes he was able to remove all of the tumor present in her abdomen. Her pathology report was sent to John Hopkins Hospital due to the rare nature of her disease. Most physicians can go their entire career without receiving a case like Whitney’s.

So, we waited. When the results finally came back no one expected to hear the diagnosis. Whitney was diagnosed with Small Cell Carcinoma of the Ovary of Hypercalcemic Type, a very rare, aggressive, and rapidly growing malignancy representing less than 1% of ovarian cancer diagnoses. As of 2015 fewer than 300 cases were reported in the literature. Needless to say, she has her work cut out for her.

SCCOHT comes with a very poor prognosis and most patients are unable to beat this monster of a disease, but luckily Whitney has always been and remains a fighter. Her quick wit, resilience, and vivaciousness continue to shine through.  She will face this disease head on, relentlessly, and with an unstoppable force to become one of the few to win the fight.

Whitney is a passionate and driven person who has built her career on helping special needs individuals. She was most recently a director over a facility that provides day to day care for individuals with special needs. Whitney hopes to return to her career as quickly as possible.

We will be travelling to Cincinnati, OH in the coming days so she may be seen by a specialist who has taken a particular interest in this form of cancer. He is a highly regarded physician that offers one of the most aggressive treatment plans in the country. The treatment plan will be highly aggressive to match the nature of this disease. Whitney is going to require 5-6 months of extensive chemotherapy followed by a bone marrow transplant.  The entire family will have to temporarily relocate to Cincinnati to help Whitney in this fight.  It will be a long journey and an incredibly difficult fight.  The generosity and prayers from family, friends and supporters are one of the biggest blessings at this time.  We would like to invite anyone that would be willing to join us in the fight.

Whitney hopes that through her battle she can spread awareness for all ovarian cancers, because sadly in most cases the disease is not discovered until advanced stages. She wants to advocate for research and development along with accessibility of viable treatment options.
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Peyton Annette
North Charleston, SC

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