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Jennifer Scott – Benign Tumor Success Story

A chance worth taking

Jennifer Scott’s tumor was deemed inoperable, but one surgeon was willing to take the risk at Methodist Richardson.

Why me?” Most of us have asked that question at one time or another, but Jennifer Scott has not, even in the face of a devastating diagnosis.

“God gives everyone their battles; this just happened to be mine,” she says.

Jennifer’s battle was a stage II liver tumor the size of a cantaloupe.

She went from a healthy 41-year-old who loved hiking and being active to a woman fighting for her life in a matter of months. In June 2016, Jennifer and her partner, Shawna, had just moved from Dallas to the mountains of New Mexico. She had a few unusual symptoms, but she brushed them off as overdoing it from the move. The one symptom she couldn’t ignore was the pressure in her chest.

A physician in New Mexico referred her to a cardiologist and a gastroenterologist. Several tests were inconclusive. Even a computed tomography (CT) scan, which is a series of X-ray images, was not definitive, but it did show an abnormality within her liver.

This prompted Jennifer to seek a second opinion — several hundred miles away — from hepatobiliary surgeon D. Rohan Jeyarajah, MD, FACS, on the medical staff at Methodist Richardson Medical Center.

Called back to Texas

Jennifer Scott – Benign Tumor Success Story Jennifer wants to live life to the fullest. She
is now back in New Mexico, enjoying summer
in the mountains, but Methodist Richardson
will always have a special place in her heart,
because where hope grows, miracles can bloom.

After reviewing the CT scan, Dr. Jeyarajah wanted Jennifer to immediately come to Methodist Richardson for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of organs inside the body.

“Everything was like boom, boom, boom,” Jennifer says. Two days later, Dr. Jeyarajah had answers — news Jennifer had dreaded to hear.
“I remember him saying, with my whole family sitting there, ‘You have cancer,’” Jennifer says. And that wasn’t the worst of it. This was a rare cancer that is usually secondary and spreads from another part of the body.

Jennifer had more tests, including a mammogram and a positron emission tomography (PET) scan. A PET scan uses a special dye and radioactive tracers to create a 3-D image. Much to everyone’s relief, the tests showed no other cancer, but Jennifer wasn’t out of the woods just yet.

“This tumor was sitting dangerously close to a major artery and vein, which had to be preserved to sustain life,” Dr. Jeyarajah says. “I consulted with colleagues all across the country, and half of them told me it was inoperable.”

After careful consideration, Jennifer decided surgery was her best chance for survival.

“To me, it was the only option,” she says. “I just had a feeling it was going to work out.”

The impossible made possible

Jennifer had surgery to remove the tumor on Sept. 22, 2016. Her large extended family gathered in the waiting room, and after an hour and a half, they got the call that Dr. Jeyarajah would be out in a few minutes to talk to them.

“When he came in the room, he was in tears — but they were happy tears,” Shawna says. “He hugged me and said, ‘We got it!’ It was the best news ever.”

Another PET scan following the surgery showed no signs of cancer, but as a precaution, Jennifer underwent five weeks of radiation therapy.

She will continue to have scans every few months to make sure she’s in the clear, but she says the experience has changed her life.
“It really opens your eyes to paying it forward,” she says.