A remarkable story of discovering cancer with a remarkable ending
Judy was visiting residents in a home for adults with mental challenges, and she gave a hug to one of the residents before she left.
As Judy turned to walk away, the resident didn’t want her to go, so he bit Judy’s finger.
“I had to get it looked at because the bite broke the skin,” said Judy. She went to a med center where she was given a prescription for a strong antibiotic, which she took to prevent the risk of an infection.
Over time “the antibiotic resulted in a horrendous yeast infection. I also noticed a tiny bit of bleeding,” she added.
That’s when Judy contacted her Mercy Health Physician Partners primary care physician, Brian Decker, MD. To be on the safe side, he ordered an ultrasound, which showed a slightly enlarged ovary.
“Dr. Decker said we should do one more test, an MRI, just to be sure,” Judy recalled. That was on a Thursday.
The MRI revealed that both ovaries and the left fallopian tube were abnormal, possibly indicating early ovarian cancer.
“I’m aware that almost no one gets to find out about ovarian cancer early,” said Judy, who took the news in stride. “It was so unusual. I felt that God had used the resident at the home to save my life!”
On Friday, Dr. Decker contacted Surgical Oncologist Kevin Brader, MD, who reviewed Judy’s medical record over the weekend to be prepared to meet with Judy and husband Brian on Monday morning.
Brian, a pastor, was amazed at how quickly things went. “When we walked in at 9 a.m. on Monday, Dr. Brader had already studied my wife’s case, and his bedside manner was encouraging. He said that the surgery would verify if my wife actually had cancer.”
Judy’s surgery was scheduled the following Friday. Brader was able to use the minimally invasive da Vinci robot during surgery.
Brian remembers when they heard the results.
“Dr. Brader calmly told us that Judy had cancer, but that they caught it very, very early. He met with us the next day and explained what was going to happen.”
“What are her odds?” Brian asked at that meeting. “Dr. Brader said, ‘Given how healthy Judy is and that we caught this early, and given your faith, I’d say 100 percent. I’m choosing life.'”
Judy recovered quickly from surgery and was able to begin chemo in just two weeks. Now two years after chemo, Judy is cancer-free and singing the praises of her providers and the care she received at Mercy Health Lacks Cancer Center — which Brian describes as “The Ritz.”
Grateful to God and to Mercy Health, Judy looks forward to many more years with the couple’s children and grandchildren. “I am so thankful for Dr. Decker, who was on the ball. He couldn’t have responded more quickly and accurately. And I’m also grateful for Dr. Brader, who gave us hope.”