Returning to work without endometrial cancer.

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"I felt safe at Fox Chase, and I knew it was where I wanted to be."

— Karen Leone

In 2013, I was in a tough place in my life. I was trying to readjust to a new “normal” life, continuing my work as a training coordinator at Philadelphia Family Court while grieving the unexpected loss of my husband from kidney cancer the year before.

Physically, I was feeling fine, but I knew how important it was to get routine health screenings, especially after what my husband had gone through. I went for a regular screening at my OB/GYN office, which revealed abnormal endometrial cells. After some additional tests, my doctor shared the devastating news that I had endometrial cancer. The fact that I had felt no symptoms or warning signs whatsoever made it even more shocking.

Finding the right care.
My doctor referred me to Fox Chase Cancer Center, and I knew immediately that it was the right fit for me. Since I lived in the area and knew what a great reputation they had, I felt completely safe at Fox Chase and I knew it was where I wanted to be.

My doctor at Fox Chase was Dr. Cynthia Bergman, a gynecological oncologist. Together we decided that my best option would be a full hysterectomy. In January of 2014, I went through the procedure. Even three years later I am still in awe of Dr. Bergman. She was so precise and thorough, yet my recovery was surprisingly easy. I was only in the hospital for two days after the surgery, with a minimal incision and zero pain, and was discharged a day early.

After the surgery, Dr. Bergman recommended a follow-up course of chemotherapy and localized radiation with Dr. Angela Jain, a medical oncologist. I am completely confident that both Dr. Bergman and Dr. Jain together saved my life. Even when I experienced an allergic reaction towards the end of chemotherapy, Dr. Jain was instantly by my side, caring for me as needed while keeping me positive.

Recovering and discovering.
Undergoing chemotherapy treatments was a very humbling experience for me and was one that revealed the power of the human spirit. All of the people who were going through this treatment with me were wonderfully positive and supportive of each other. It was a very scary experience to face up to my own mortality. The staff and patients at Fox Chase offered me encouragement and kept me positive and moving forward.

My cancer is in remission after the treatments, and I receive periodic scans and blood work at Fox Chase. Shortly after I completed my radiation treatments, I returned to work as a training coordinator at Philadelphia Family Court and began teaching part-time for the Trio Veterans Upward Bound Program at the University of Pennsylvania. I feel blessed and lucky as I continue to enjoy the time I spend with my friends and family, especially my three wonderful grandchildren.

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