One Woman’s Triumph over Breast Cancer
|Cancer survivor Jeannine Moriconi|
with one of her physicians,
oncologist Robert Donegan, MD.
I wasn’t completely surprised when I received a call following my annual mammogram in April 2012 requesting that I come back for additional films. I’d had questionable results on previous mammograms that required biopsies, though they all had been benign. I didn’t become anxious until the radiologist explained that the films showed calcifications, which can indicate cancerous cells, and said he wanted to take multiple biopsies. Having lost three friends to breast cancer, including my best friend just a year prior, I had a bad feeling as I nervously awaited the results.
General surgeon Frank Rotolo, MD, told me that the biopsies showed I had ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a noninvasive form of breast cancer. He explained that DCIS is considered Stage 0 breast cancer and is highly treatable without chemotherapy. Lumpectomy and radiation are commonly used to treat DCIS, but given my history of abnormal mammograms, I opted for a mastectomy. I wanted to decrease the chance of the cancer spreading or coming back. I had a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction in August 2012, and I was feeling good about my decision and my future.
|Mrs. Moriconi ringing the|
bell to signify the end of her
Armed with the knowledge of my new diagnosis, I met with oncologist Robert Donegan, MD, who outlined a treatment plan of chemotherapy and radiation. The new diagnosis was frightening, but I felt comforted by all the doctors and nurses at GBMC. Having my complete care team under the same roof was both convenient and reassuring. When I was hospitalized for five days with an intestinal reaction and colitis following my first chemotherapy treatment, nurses were by my side through it all, and I could tell they truly cared about me. After Dr. Donegan changed my medication to prevent those complications, I had four chemotherapy sessions — once every three weeks — followed by 12 consecutive weekly treatments. The positive support around me kept me going. I took the drug Herceptin every three weeks for a year and concluded with six weeks of radiation under radiation oncologist Albert Blumberg, MD. Through the course of my treatment, I never felt alone when I was at GBMC.
|Mrs. Moriconi celebrates with her|
husband and children following her
For additional information on GBMC’s extensive services for cancer patients, visit www.gbmc.org/cancer or call 443-849-GBMC (4262).