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In her years working in medical coding, Jane Rider-Gould had many occasions to code records with the diagnosis "Stage 3 Cancer." But she never thought those words would apply to her.
In early 2009, at 60, Jane has her annual gynecologic exam. A few days later, on February 27, Jane's phone rang at work. Her doctor wanted to see her immediately. Within the hour, Jane and her co-worker and best friend, Connie were in her doctor's office hearing that she had cancer.
"Connie held my hand the entire time," shared Jane. "She is always there for me whether I ask for help or not."
An endometrial biopsy confirmed her diagnosis: adenocarcinoma - endometrial cancer - papillary serous. What she later learned, was that the cancer cell was actually as an ovarian cancer cell that presented itself as endometrial cancer. "The bottom line is that was very aggressive and I was told to find a surgeon right away," said Jane.
Jane was familiar with Fox Chase's stellar reputation.
Jane did some online research, and while there were reputable healthcare facilities near her South Jersey home, she knew about Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia and its stellar reputation. She made an appointment with Cynthia Bergman, MD, FACOG, a surgical oncologist who specializes in treating patients with gynecologic malignancies.
"Dr. Bergman is amazing - I truly adore her."
"Dr. Bergman is amazing - I truly adore her," said Jane. Dr. Bergman scheduled Jane for a complete hysterectomy on April 3, 2009. The pathology reports indicated that Jane had stage 3 cancer that had metastasized to her abdominal fluid. "With the unusual places my cancer chose to show up, I feel like a walking miracle."
Jane was no stranger to cancer, -- the disease had claimed her mother’s life at 60. "I just never thought I'd be in her shoes," said Jane, who is extremely grateful for the love and support of her husband Mike, along with her two children (Kevin and Kristin) and five grandchildren who range in age from 23 to 5. “They are the light of my life and part of the reason I wake up every day,” she admitted.
"I am so happy I chose to come to Fox Chase."
After she recovered from surgery, medical oncologist, Dr. Lainie Martin designed an aggressive treatment plan to attack Jane’s cancer, tweaking the dosage based on her ability to tolerate treatment. "I am so happy I chose to come to Fox Chase," she said. "I believe I got the best treatment available and I can't say enough about them."
Dr. Mechanic offered me much needed support and guidance.
In addition to her traditional cancer treatment, Jane reluctantly saw Dr. Karen Mechanic, a psychiatrist who helps patients meet cancer’s emotional challenges. "At first, I didn't think I needed to see her. But looking back - it was the best decision I made. Dr. Mechanic offered me much-needed support and guidance. I didn't even realize how much I needed it."
Once her treatment was over, Jane saw her doctors for periodic check-ups. In March 2011, Jane learned the cancer was back. This time it was in her paraaortic lymph node. "Once again, my cancer appeared in the least common area." After additional chemotherapy, Jane is back on maintenance treatment.
Due to her diagnosis and the side effects of treatment, Jane was forced to retire earlier than planned. She believes she would not be here if not for the care she has received from the physicians and nurses who have cared for her both inpatient and outpatient. “The staff at Fox Chase is a very special group of people or, should I say, angels,” added Jane.