Jennifer Moistner // BRAvo!

Laughing in the face of cancer.

Laughing in the face of cancer.

At age 35, Jennifer Moistner was in her prime.  She had a great family – husband Todd and three step-children – a great job with her husband at DOT Foods and great friends and family near her Dublin home.  She had a strong belief that things happen for a reason.  This belief was about to turn her world upside down.

Jennifer grabbed a stack of mail and headed out the door to the post office.  The wind was stronger than usual that day, and as she stooped to get inside her car, the door blew shut on her.  She was sure she would have a bruise on her chest, but she kept going.  With a little pain, she knew it would pass.

Two days later, Jennifer found a lump on her breast, but again, she brushed off the notion of any major problem.  After four or five weeks of dealing with the lump, she finally headed up to Reid’s Hagerstown Family Practice to see Dr. Scott Marsteller.  He too believed the lump was correlated to the car door, but just to be safe, he ordered a

Jennifer and her husband, Todd, practice for an upcoming 5K.

Jennifer and her husband, Todd, practice for an upcoming 5K.

mammogram and ultrasound to rule out anything more serious.

“The next day, Dr. Marsteller called me at work – he called.” Jennifer said, impressed that the doctor took time out to make the call himself.   He asked her to come right up to his office to meet.  An abnormality appeared in the tests, but Dr. Marsteller wanted her to get a second opinion.  The same day, Jennifer would see general surgeon Dr. Christopher Moore.

“I went back to work that day and met Todd in the conference room,” Jennifer said.  “It was shocking,” Todd said.  “The hardest part was not knowing what we were up against.”

“By the time I got back to work, Dr. Moore’s office called and said I needed to come right away and bring someone,” Jennifer said.  He needed to remove the lump.  “By 3 p.m., I was in surgery.”

Dr. Moore removed a golf ball size mass.  Still guessing it was benign, he sent it to pathology – just in case.

Moinstner-3“He’s been phenomenal – compassionate and caring,” Jennifer said.  “He was great with surgery; He was great with the aftercare.”

Unfortunately, things did not go as they hoped.  Dr. Moore received the report and in disbelief sent it back for a second opinion.  There were cancer cells.

“We have no family history of breast cancer,” Jennifer said.  “It was a shock to know this was for real.”

Jennifer and Todd soon met with the oncologist for an extensive meeting.  They discussed the cause, what was feeding the cancer, where it might have originated.  “He spent an hour and a half with us!” Jennifer said. “He made it so easy to understand the ifs and buts.”

“They have to give you this information – This is an aggressive cancer.  We are going to treat it as aggressively as we can,” Todd said.  “If they would have tiptoed around, it would have been much worse.”

In the end, the overwhelming decision was clear.  Jennifer would have a mastectomy.

Jennifer had four surgeries in eight weeks.  The doctors found another cancerous spot in the tissue which was too small to detect any other way than through surgery.  “We would have had all kinds of problems down the road,” she said.

“So many people were saying, ‘Maybe you should get a second opinion or go to Indy or Ohio State.’ There has not been any inconsistent information to make me question it,” Jennifer said.  “Whether I’ve talked to the surgeon, the patient navigator, or the oncologist, all the information has been the same.  They are so daggone consistent.  It blows me away!”

“I’m so proud to say at Reid Hospital, I’m an individual, and they care for my case,” said Jennifer.

Todd was thankful the clinical team always included him in the care.  “It was us together going through this,” Jennifer said.  “They catered to Todd with warm blankets and something to eat.”

“I felt like I was staying in a hotel,” Todd added.

Jennifer is now visiting Reid every other week for chemotherapy treatments, but seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  Soon Jennifer will be back to her busy life balancing work and family.  She will be running with Todd in another 5K.  But she will face each day with a renewed perspective, perhaps even more thankful for family, friends, and the opportunities that lie ahead.

Reid Foundation’s BRAvo! fund helps ensure all women have access to regular mammograms, regardless of ability to pay.