On July 26th, 2018, Jen was diagnosed with mucosal melanoma in the maxillary sinus. This type of melanoma is extremely rare, as melanoma is typically a skin cancer.
Due to the rarity and aggressiveness of the disease, Jen has been receiving her care at Mayo in Rochester. Unfortunately, a PET scan revealed that she has liver metastases, indicating the cancer has spread to the liver.
Due to this, the cancer is not curative. However, thanks to new immunotherapy drugs, including Opdivo and Yervoy, there is a chance at stopping the growth or even shrinking the cancer.
On August 10th, Jen had a partial maxillectomy (surgery to remove part of the maxilla/upper jaw and teeth with the cancer). They were able to remove all the tumor visible to the naked eye. The doctors are hopeful that immunotherapy will shrink or stop the growth of the cancer that is left in her face and liver. She will begin with immunotherapy treatment the week of August 13th.
Jen has been doing well since surgery and is able to eat soft foods with a temporary retainer screwed into what bone is left to serve as the roof of her mouth. In the next couple weeks, they will address when she might be able to receive some reconstructive surgery to improve the appearance of her face.
This isn’t Jen’s first battle with cancer. She was diagnosed with a rare uterine cancer - leiomyosarcoma - 20 years ago. She is a fighter and we are praying that she can beat it again!
Unfortunately, due to the surgeries, recovery, and multiple appointments at Mayo, Jen will not be able to work full-time. We are grateful and hopeful that these immunotherapy drugs will stop the cancer in its tracks, but these drugs are extremely expensive in addition to surgical, imaging, and therapy costs at Mayo. All donated funds will help pay for her medical expenses and living expenses while she is out of work.
We appreciate any monetary help, but more importantly, we genuinely appreciate your kindness, thoughts, and prayers for Jen’s health. Thank you!
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