Cancer team gives Plainfield patient faith and hope to fight

November 01, 2017 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health

When your health gets in the way of living your life, you are often reminded to take a step back, laugh more and love more. The beginning of flu-like symptoms for 64-year-old Plainfield resident Jeannine Becker forced her to slow down and put her health first.

In February 2017, Becker visited the Edward-Elmhurst Health Center and Immediate Care in Bolingbrook with an upset stomach. She immediately was sent for a CT scan which found a bowel obstruction and coincidentally discovered large mass on her kidney.

Born with only one kidney and an inflammatory bowel disease called Crohn’s disease, Becker was told to visit Edward Hospital as soon as possible.

“I felt devastated,” she says. “I had no symptoms of kidney cancer and sure enough, I could see the tumor on the scan clear as day.”

Friends told Becker to go outside of the state for her cancer care, but she wanted care she could trust and care that was close to home.

Becker’s primary physician, Dr. Joseph Giordano, recommended Becker meet with Dr. Matt Siegel, hematologist and oncologist with Edward Hematology Oncology Group. Dr. Siegel ended up being her best advocate. He took her case to a cancer care team and they came up with the best solution, with the ultimate goal to keep her solitary kidney.

Becker’s treatment began with chemotherapy in the form of a pill. This type of chemotherapy had less side effects for Becker and it proved to work. Two months later, the pill had shrunk her tumor by 25 percent.

”As soon as I met Jeannine, I could tell she was a fighter. And as her physician, it was rewarding to know that we could offer her the level of care she sought,” says Dr. Siegel.

Next up was phase two of chemotherapy. “The tumor shrunk again after another round of chemo, but nowhere near the amount,” Becker says. “We figured out the next step was to either take the kidney out or take the cancer.”

Becker and Dr. Siegel made a plan — avoid dialysis, keep her solo kidney and take out the tumor. That’s when Dr. Siegel brought in Dr. Ranko Miocinovic, a urologist with DuPage Medical Group.

“I instantly liked him,” she says. “I could see the confidence in his face that he could help me and remove the tumor, which gave me hope.”

Dr. Miocinovic discussed removing the tumor using the da Vinci Surgical System, one of the most advanced surgical technologies available.

“I was relieved when he mentioned robotic surgery,” she says. “I knew cuts would be cleaner and I’d have less side effects. That’s when things officially turned around for me,” she says.

With no hesitation, she underwent surgery in July. After three hours, her tumor was removed.

“I never thought there would be a problem. That’s how confident I was with my care team,” Becker exclaimed.

Now cancer free, she has nothing but high praises for Dr. Siegel and Dr. Miocinovic. She says they are like sons to her and they will be her best friends for the rest of her life.

“They are wonderful men. They gave me back my life.”

Becker and her husband, Dave, celebrated the end of her treatment with a nice dinner on their 40th wedding anniversary.

Learn more about the da Vinci Surgical System.

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