Sarcoma Survivor: Jody Johnson

Type of Sarcoma: Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor (Neurofibrosarcoma)
Year of Diagnosis: 2006

Johnson-JodyIt all started when I gave birth to my daughter. When I went in for my six-week check, I had told the doctor that I have a bump in my leg. He briefly glanced at it and said, “It should go away in six months.” It continued to bother me, and I made yet another appointment. Only this time he said, “It’s nothing,” and I said, “OK.”

Well, this proceeded for another 12 months, and as time went along it got bigger and protruded out of my skin more. Around this time my family told me to get it re-checked, and I informed them that I had indeed done that. My older sister made me make yet another appointment the day before Thanksgiving, and so I went in and saw a different doctor, only to be told that I was getting referred to a surgeon by the name of Dr. Debra Nowak.

I went in and got some advice from her, and she told me, “More than likely it’s just a fatty cyst and not to worry about it.” I said, “OK,” and she then asked me what I was doing the following Wednesday. I told her nothing, and she told me, “See you on Wednesday; we are going to take this thing out.” It was a relatively easy procedure, just a few stitches and I was out of there.

I called back a few days later to see what the pathology report said; I was put on hold only to find out that it was sent down to the Mayo clinic. A few days had passed, and I again called only to find out it was now at John Hopkins University. This made me a little more curious, but I trusted in my faith to carry me through.

It was a bright, wintery day when I got the call from Dr. Nowak. She asked me if I was sitting down, and I said “No.” To make a long story short she told me that I had a Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor. I asked her what that meant, and she told me that it was cancerous. WOW!! That was a hard hit.

But once I talked to Dr. Steven Rousey from MOPHA, I felt a lot better. I was then referred to Dr. Denis Clohisy at the U. Ibelieve that I have the best team of doctors ever. I underwent five and a half weeks of radiation, followed by surgery to cleanup the margins. After that surgery I needed an additional surgery because I developed an infection at my incision site.

I believe that the hardest part of having cancer is when my kids asked me, “Mommy, do you love us anymore?” When I had asked why, they asked in there very innocent voices, “BJohnson-Jody-1ecause, you can’t play with us anymore.” My mom Mary Kay accompanied me to every appointment and was there through thick and thin. My kids Lucas and Mariah are truly my little “angels” for praying for me when i didn’t think that I could go on.

My older sister Michelle sent me beautiful inspirational messages, and my younger sister Julie made me laugh.The day that my mom and I went back for a re-check with Dr. Rousey and he told us that I am in remission, all I could was cry and give him a huge hug.

To this day I remain in remission and can only give the credit to my God, the ultimate healer, and my team of doctors. I love each one of them immensely.

For more about Jody’s sarcoma story you may call her at 763-913-4558.