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Reaching Milestones Because of GBMC

November 30, 2020
“Since my diagnosis in 2019 and with the guidance of my medical team at GBMC, I have worked full-time since my surgery. I took vacations with my family. I traveled to Illinois for my soon-to-be daughter-in-law's bridal shower. I walked down the aisle with my son at his wedding. I traveled with my daughter to lacrosse tournaments and college visits. I coached my students to win state and national contests.”

The words above are from an extremely grateful patient who, to this day, is still battling her diagnosis of late-stage ovarian cancer. Kathy Wojik, patient of Dr. Kimberly Levinson, never thought that her pelvic pain was of any concern. After a visit to her GYN, multiple rounds of imaging, and a visit with Dr. Levinson, Kathy received her diagnosis. Like many, her biggest fear was not for herself but for her family. She didn’t want to leave her children without a mother. She knew she wanted to get started on an aggressive treatment as quickly as possible.

Dr. Levinson was quick to schedule Kathy for surgery and start on chemotherapy treatments right away. Shortly after surgery, Dr. Levinson informed Kathy that she qualified for a Clinical Trial. After many hesitations from her family and friends, Kathy decided to move forward knowing that this was her best chance to beat this cancer.

The information was scary and confusing but the nurses and care team in The Sandra and Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute at GBMC walked her through every detail and eased her concerns. Kathy spent many hours at GBMC for her treatments. She came every three weeks and spent 6-8 hours in the infusion chair during each visit. She quickly lost her hair and didn’t hesitate to shave it off. She continued teaching, although there were days that she was completely exhausted.

After her treatments, she moved forward with genetic testing. She received good news that her cancer was not genetic, calming her fear of passing it onto her children. Through this testing, she learned that her tumor had the BRCA2 mutation, which was good news. This meant that she was in the open arm of the trial and able to receive all of the drugs at no cost.

Kathy felt optimistic as she finished her treatment and began to gain her energy again. Her imaging showed that the treatment was working, and her blood results showed the levels of cancer had dropped into the “normal” range but could have been lower. After 3 weeks of medication, there was another drop in her markers - another small victory!

After her treatments ended, she was asked if she wanted to continue the medication. With little hesitation, Kathy said yes. She still has another year of oral medication and six months of infusions left but she is feeling blessed and grateful for her care team at GBMC.
“I have a great medical team, including Dr. Levinson, the research nurses, and the infusion nurses, leading my way. They have all been a great support system and have helped me stay positive throughout this journey.”
Kathy is happy to report that she is back to teaching full time and has been a part of many milestones with her children and family. Kathy is an example of just one of the many patients that make multiple trips to GBMC for their treatment, often lasting more than six hours at a time. You can help ease the burden of these patients by contributing to our Giving Tuesday Campaign to benefit The Clinical Trial Program in The Sandra and Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute and give more patients, like Kathy, the hope they need to continue their fight.
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