Jenna (22) was diagnosed in January 10, 2014 with Stomach Cancer (Gastric Adenocarcinoma). Because it had already left the stomach and jumped to her belly button area (an umbilical tumor), it was staged at Stage IV (advanced). Three other small (less than 1cm) tumors were found in 3 different places in her peritoneal cavity during her eventual surgery (gastrectomy).
The proposed treatment plan is surgery: a Gastrectomy which is complete removal of the stomach (not for the faint of heart!) and then Chemotherapy. Because this is an advanced and aggressive cancer and because of her age, the treatment plan is also aggressive. Their goal is curative. She will probably also lose her belly button (!!) in case there are any other cancer cells there. We wonder what that will look like!
FYI, her case is very rare. The Drs. are perplexed. She doesn´t fit the mold at all for cancer nor does she have any of the ¨causes¨ listed for stomach cancer with the possible exception of a certain bacteria which she is unknown to have at this writing. The median age for this cancer is 70 years old!
Her Umbilical Tumor has a funny name called ¨El Nódulo de la Hermana María Jose¨ (¨Sister Mary Joseph´s Nodule¨). She was a nun and assistant surgical nurse to Dr. Mayo of St. Mary´s Clinic (from 1890-1915) who discovered this phenomenon of a belly button tumor reflecting inner abdominal cancerous activity. This is funny to us because (1) we live in Spain where this is a common name and Catholicism is prevalent and (2) Jen just came from living in a convent in Beirut! You can read more about it at:
Photo by: Dr. Murray Wellner