Jill Scheetz: Bouncing Back From Breast Cancer

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"Each of the doctors on my team made me feel as though I was a special patient."

— Jill Scheetz

At the age of 37, in 2002, I was just getting back into shape after the birth of my two daughters. I considered myself to be physically active and a healthy eater. My only vice was a caffeinated iced tea almost every day. Although it doesn't sound terrible, my doctor recommended I stay away from caffeine because I had a benign tumor which was removed from my breast when I was 18. When my left breast began to hurt, I made an appointment for a mammogram (it had been five years since my last one).

Fox Chase Cancer Center

During the mammogram, my radiologist told me she saw something suspicious and thought it might be cancer in my right breast. When I received confirmation from a biopsy, I knew that I needed to leave my local hospital, which I otherwise trusted, and put my life in the hands of the staff at Fox Chase Cancer Center. You see, 16 years earlier my mother was diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer.

My mother had been told by doctors at her local hospital that she only had a few months to live, so she went to Fox Chase in hopes of a miracle. The staff at Fox Chase did everything they could for my mom and enrolled her in a clinical trial. The treatment extended her life for two years, much of which was productive, satisfying and pain free - and enough time to see my older sister get married.

With stage 3 breast cancer, I knew that the doctors at Fox Chase would offer me the most effective treatment options.

My Surgeons

As the mother of two young daughters, I took my health very seriously - especially when it came to cancer. My surgeon, Dr. Elin Sigurdson, performed a double mastectomy because I didn't want to take any chances that the cancer would develop in my left breast.

My plastic and reconstructive surgeon had just arrived at Fox Chase at the time of my surgery. I chose to have a free-tram flap procedure, which utilizes a portion of skin, fat, and muscle from the abdomen to form new breasts.

In talking to these doctors, it was clear that they had a passion for what they were doing. I was confident that I was in good hands at Fox Chase. While I was in the hospital recovering from surgery, several doctors and nurses stopped by to ask if they could see my plastic and reconstructive surgeon's amazing work. In the weeks and months that followed, I had appointments at my local hospital with my doctor, and everyone was amazed by the wonderful work performed.

Annual Checkups

Fortunately, I do not need to "show off" my plastic and reconstructive surgeon's work these days. Instead, I enjoy running and other sports, working and continuing my education. I have no regrets about the choices I made about my treatment. I feel healthy, and my annual checkups at Fox Chase ensure I'll stay that way. If I do get the bad news of another cancer diagnosis someday, I know that the talented doctors at Fox Chase will give me the best care available.

Learn more about breast cancer treatment at Fox Chase Cancer Center.

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