Breast Cancer Awareness: Alive in Five
Jennifer Cordts is the sister of one of GHB’s most loyal insurance carrier representatives, Suzanne Pitone of Principal Financial. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and for that reason we want to express our love and support for Jennifer, who has been diagnosed with a rare form of the disease.
Jennifer, a mom to two daughters, Tatiana and Daisy, has not only taken on the courageous battle of conquering the disease but she is also making a personal effort to increase awareness and to garner support for research being done to cure it.
UPDATE 5/2/2017: Jennifer’s journey was recently covered by WFAA-TV, an ABC affiliate in Texas, a station that has a large viewing audience in North Texas. The station told us…
On Facebook, the story has reached 360,000 users around the world. For context, one of the station’s average posts on WFAA’s Facebook page is about 89,000. Jennifer’s story is still ticking upward.
At GHB, we are joining Jennifer’s efforts and we ask you to do the same. You can donate to IBC research in her name, Jennifer Cordts, HERE.
In her own words, here is Jennifer’s story:
Where do you see yourself in five years? I remember that interview question well. I suspect we all answered it the same way for nobody ever landed the dream job with an answer of “on a yacht, sailing the world”. I recall struggling then, as I am now, answering that question.
November of 2015, I was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer called, Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC). I was told I may have five years to live. This aggressive disease in which cancer cells block lymph vessels in the skin of the breast, accounts for 1-5% of all breast cancers diagnosed in the United States. Inflammatory breast cancer progresses rapidly and because it typically does not present as a lump, often it cannot be felt during a physical exam and/or seen on a mammogram.
Months prior to my diagnosis, I noticed redness on my breast. I brought it to my ob/gyn’s attention. Assuring me he was not concerned, he said if the redness did not go away in three months to come back in.
Three months later, I was in his office with redness and pain. I had a mammogram and the results were normal.
Months and months passed, the redness increased, my breast became hard and painful. The pain spread to my back and down my left arm. I revisited my ob/gyn, who sent me to my general practitioner, who sent me to physical therapy for 6 weeks. The pain increased. I visited a breast specialist who diagnosed “mastitis” and prescribed antibiotics.
Ten days went by and the antibiotics did nothing. I went back to the breast specialist who sent me to the top breast surgeon in Dallas. After a physical examination, mammogram, sonogram, ultrasound and a biopsy–I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer. More scans resulted in Stage IV IBC in my breast, spine and liver. Inoperable and incurable.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. While we are all familiar with breast cancer, I suspect most of you reading this are learning about IBC for the first time. I hate to think that awareness is only among those of us who are fighting this awful disease.
Cancer has taken a lot from me. But it hasn’t taken my faith in God or my voice. I hope to use what I have left to educate others about IBC. Please visit www.theibcnetwork.org for more information.
Where do I see myself in five years?…Alive.