Jennifer Groves



On age 29, April 18, 2016 I was told I had stage 3b her2+ invasive ductal carcinoma, with no family of breast cancer at all. I remember feeling the lump in March 2016 and I avoided for a week then it started bothering me so I went to my primary physician who diagnosed it as cyst then an abscess. After a month of no change I was sent to the breast cancer center, where I received two ultrasounds and three mammograms in one week then finally a biopsy. The biopsy came back in two days and I was upset because they called me to give me my biopsy results. I was driving as well so imagine being told at age 29 you have breast cancer. The next couple of weeks consisted of me meeting with my surgeon, oncologist and being scheduled for lots of test/scans. At that time, it was only localized to the left boob and under my left arm. I had surgery Aug 1, 2016 to remove the left boob and lymph nodes under my left arm. After that surgery I was in and the hospital every other week from Aug to Sept with Sept being my longest admit and I was there Sept 1-Sept 14th so I spent my 30th birthday in the hospital which is Sept 11. Before I was discharged I started having right pain below my shoulder blade and they didn’t scan it at all they put off as muscle spasms but I kept telling them there is no way it’s a muscle spasm. They tried me on every muscle relaxer and none worked, morphine didn’t help either and in my head, I knew something was wrong. Well in October it got worse, very bad. I couldn’t function, move or anything. That pain in my back was also hurting the right side of my stomach. It was worse than the mastectomy. They could get the pain level lowered to a 5 and couldn’t give me the scan results they said to follow up with my oncologist. So, the next day I obtained my medical records and I read them and I understand it so I went to see my oncologist at the time Dr. Nick They tried to give me an spp appointment for that next week and I said nicely “I need someone to read these test results, this isn’t good and I will sit here as long as it takes.” I sat there 3 hours to see my oncologist and he says well this could be cancer and it couldn’t be but we can treat as if it was. But I wanted a biopsy to know for sure what it was. The biopsy was horrible. I felt like I couldn’t breathe and was in the ER that night and they admitted me for pain control. Two days later. I met with the oncologist again he says the cancer has now spread to your liver, it was only one spot and it’s more aggressive and fast growing that the tumor you had in your boob. He said we have start new chemo and radiation immediately. CHEMO started that day immediately then I meet with the radiation oncologist he then got me to have three seeds implanted around the spot so that the radiation would only hit that spot. I had three very strong radiation treatments all three in November, one of those I had the same day as chemo then from October till December 26,2016 I had three chemo treatments with my last chemo treatment being on December 26,2016. I was so excited. I got to ring the bell, took pictures, had a celebration party that night with friends. Three weeks later I had scans and my liver was clear! But I was going to have to be on prejeta and herceptin for a year, they are target therapy which they target the her2+ cells February 2017 comes and I start hurting again few days go by and I have another scan ct and mri and they showed eight lesions in my liver. The cancer was back with. A vengeance. He put me on Red Devil then in March 2017 I end up in the hospital from losing blood with xarelto and low white count. I had a blood transfusion but then I feel three times. They sent me to have brain mri and he said they weren’t sure what it was but it was only 3mm but obviously caused my falls. He then changed the chemo again to kadcyla which I’m still on till this day. I get out of the hospital for a while I end up back in the hospital April for Staph in my port which I know it came when my port was accessed a few days before on Monday then Tuesday which was the next day I noticed it swelling. Then Wednesday it was hurting so bad, it warm and bad swollen. My temp was at 102 that night around 6 I went to tupelo ER my temp was still 102 and heart rate 150 main thing is I was just hurting. They gave me something for the temp, took blood and finally admitted me. From my blood work it was obvious I had an infection but we didn’t know it was staph until Friday or Saturday but the next day was Thursday and I wasn’t even told I was having surgery immediately to have the port removed they just came to get me and I refused. I was scared so finally my surgeon who is Dr. Danny Sanders, he did my mastectomy, put my port in May 2016 and he came up and I agreed to do it. I started to feel just a little better once that was done. But it was either Friday or Saturday I found out I had staph but one doctor told me I was septic and another said I wasn’t either way I was there almost two weeks and was given many different antibiotics. At the end of May 2017, I was clear from all infection and got my lovely port put back in, I was so I happy. I love my port it’s so much easier. They get blood from it, give me contrasts, get chemo through it, receive meds and get transfusions through it. I love it. I was being strong and brave that day because I asked the anesthesiologist if I could do it without any sedation and I was able to do it. All he did was numb then area my port would go and gave me fentanyl through the iv. It took about 15 minutes. It was a breeze but once the numbness went away it was quite painful but only for two days. I was off chemo for 8 weeks and finally back on it Well I had another brain mri in July which showed the brain tumor getting bigger. My oncologist and radiation oncologist then decided on radiation to the brain and also tried their hardest to get me to agree on hospice. At that point I knew these doctor’s didn’t believe in me, they wanted to give up and they didn’t my best interest at heart. So I then made a choice to get all my Medical records and seek an second opinion. August 2017, I met with Dr. Magee at Baptist Cancer Center in Oxford, Ms. My first appointment was outstanding. He and every employee I met were welcoming, caring and just the most wonderful group of medical professionals I’ve ever met. I knew at that moment that was where I wanted to transfer all my care to. My chemo, just everything from that day forward would be done in Oxford. I had scans, started treatment immediately but things took a turn for the worse in Sept 2017 I was hospitalized for blood clots and headaches and that’s when I found out the brain tumor had grown extremely fast in only a months time. So, we had to act quickly. I was given radiation to the brain and then I was told by a doctor in the hospital that my prognosis was 3-6 months. Upset, hurt, crushed was everything that was running through my mind. Having incurable cancer is devastating but not more hurtful than being given the amount of time you might have left. They average life expectancy for women with metastatic breast cancer is 36 months but some die sooner & only 20 percent survive for five years. That’s terrifying but I rely a lot on the chemo I’ve been for a year called Kadcyla and I also lean on GOD. After radiation I started having seizures, short term memory loss, headaches, falls and loss control of my left side. Today I have no headaches, bad memory loss and few falls and the tumor has shrunk some. I get asked everyday how I do it? How I smile? How do I stay looking great and staying positive? I’m constantly told I’m strong and an inspiration. All I can say is it’s all because I’ve never given up, I’ve kept my faith in GOD! He deserves all the PRAISE. I promise if it wasn’t for GOD I wouldn’t get through all this. Yes, I absolutely have bad days. I cry, I ask why, I’ve said this isn’t fair, I don’t understand, I want to give up. From the moment I was diagnosed in April 2016 until the end of that year December 2016 I wasn’t happy, I hid my emotions and never told anyone how I truly felt. But I had a bad attitude and I was completely miserable. But now that I’ve grown closer to GOD he gives me strength and happiness when I think I can’t do it anymore. I was homeless the first six months of my diagnosis. (Which was April 2016-October 2016). I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 29 and was completely homeless. I slept in my car, stayed with a friend or two for a few days, had people who would get me a hotel room for a week and I lived in a shelter. That was a very low point for me because I had so many people deny me help that I thought truly cared and then I became scared to even tell people I was homeless. I remember getting so excited when they would admit me to the hospital for blood clots, low blood count or infections because I knew I had somewhere to sleep, eat, bath for a week or two. My whole life I’ve never felt so alone and worthless than I did those 6 months. I even thought about suicide those whole six months. I just wanted my life to end. I remember being sick in pain with a 102 temp and refused to go to the hospital t two days hoping that cancer would take my life so I wouldn’t have to. I remember when I finally went to the ER the infection had gotten septic which means it was in my blood which life threatening and I was serious happy but also hurt. Happy because at that moment I thought my life was over and then I began to feel hurt and upset that I let the devil consume my mind like that. That I was letting cancer WIN! At that moment which was month six I prayed for forgiveness and just gave it all to. The LORD and rededicated my LIFE to for GOD AND ONLY HIM! I had no idea my life would do a whole 360. A week later I was finally approved for disability and Medicaid October 2016. The disability checks started coming. I was living in a shelter and was able to leave and go back to Booneville and get my own place that I was paying rent for. It took me awhile to adjust to not knowing where I’d sleep or eat or bath. I then moved in with my mom for a while because at that time I wasn’t getting very much for disability every month so I saved and they finally started giving me the max payments for SSI so June 2017 I moved into my own apartment which is where I’m still living and with continue to be here but I seriously have been looking for something in Oxford or close to it so I can be no less than 15 minutes away from my Medical team in Oxford but for now I love living where I’m at. And I owe all the PRAISE to GOD! I also want to thank every single person who was there when I was down and helped me get on my feet again. To all my supporters. To every old and new friend. To family. For every prayer, letter, card, visit, call, gift, hug and just everything that everyone has done for me. I’m humbled, I’m honored, I’m grateful for you all. To every person no matter what age that is battling this awful disease. Your never alone, GOD is always there. Stay strong in your faith, smile, never give up, always remember that GOD is in control and only he knows they day and hour, remember you are your biggest advocate stand up for whatever you believe, ask questions, this is your life and your health so pray and remember u make all the final decisions, try to do things that once made u happy, it’s ok to cry and be upset, enjoy life, love yourself, pray and believe in yourself! Those are the things I do and that’s along with GOD is an incredible force! Thank you so much for listening or reading my journey. Don’t be afraid to share your journey and live your life.