Cancer: Unknown

Hi, I'm Jessi. I'm 35. I'm a wife, a mother of three, a communications professional, and I have cancer. I was originally diagnosed with Cancer of Unknown Primary, and then officially Small Round Cell Sarcoma. The official 5-year survival rate for this diagnosis is less than 5%, but that’s not me. I’m a survivor and I will beat this.

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  • Jessi Stetina

When is it more than a bad reaction to chemo?



I finished my last post sharing what a tough time I was having post chemo. That culminated in waking up on Friday and feeling...great. I woke up early, had breakfast, and I sat and enjoyed some television. I was shocked at how good I felt, and was excited for the thought that maybe I was through the storm.


But then the storm hit me just has hard as the hits had already come. I crashed hard. After discussion with Joe, we decided to reach out to the doctor on Saturday morning, to avoid the Friday night emergency room scene.

Actual photo of a Fridnight night emergency room waiting room.


So I woke up Saturday, feeling a bad as I could, and called my doctor’s on-call line to explain that I wasn’t getting better. They asked that I come in (which took two hours due to the Baltimore Running Festival), and immediately decided to admit me based on how dehydrated I was.


Well, then things didn’t really get better. You’d think with fluids and all the other good drugs they have at the hospital, that I’d start to improve. I continued on getting sick. Sicker. On Tuesday, my doctors decided to do a CT scan to see if there wasn’t something they were missing.


Turns out, there was something they were missing. I had another blockage. For those of you keeping score, a blockage is what started this whole ordeal. It was a blockage that we originally found in my small intestine that turned out to be malignant. Fortunately, the blockage they are seeing right now is clearly a ’kink’ vs an organic blockage. That has a higher probability of being able to resolve without surgery. The concern is my disease and how it takes up space in that area. It’s possible my cancer has some fiberous growths and essentially may be tying the kink in a certain way.


So what do we do? Well, first thing is to relive the pressure prior to the blockage by removing all liquids from stomach and GI track. That’s done with an NG Tube (Nasogastric tube).


Ignore the weird British spelling, you get it.


So I had to have an NG tube placed the first hospital visit. It was by far one of the most tramatizing experience I’ve ever had. The placement itself is painful, and once it’s in, it’s nearly impossible to ‘acclimate’ to. But it’s a necessary evil. It can help help prevent the need for surgery, instead possibly giving everything enough space to ‘un-kink’.


Thats the goal - ‘un-kink’. So I have my NG tube in (as fun as I remember), and we’re looking to remove it tomorrow (technically today based on when I’m writing this) to see if it has resolved the symptoms enough that we can move forward as per usual. If not, we may have to look into a surgerical option.


Part of me is certainly relieved that this wasn’t solely how I react to chemotherapy. While a blockage isn’t ideal, it makes sense, seeing where my disease is and how I’ve had GI surgery recently. Let’s just hope THIS doesn't happen again. And let’s hope we can fix this now without surgery.

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