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Jeanette McGill

A Walking Miracle

Holy Name Cancer Patient stories - Jeanette McGill

Jeanette McGill believes through her faith in God, that she is a miracle. From the day she was diagnosed with advanced cancer, she knew she was going to beat the disease and use her survival to offer hope and support to others.

"I told everyone not to tell me anything negative – I only wanted to hear positive things," she said. "I fought every day. I am going to be a miracle so other people will be inspired."

With a diagnosis of stage 3 endometrial cancer, she admits she had days when she questioned, "Is this really happening?" but she never lost her focus on remaining upbeat and positive.

Jeanette, always joking and laughing, was also determined not to lose her sense of humor or play while going through treatment. She smiled with aides who prepped her for surgery, joked as she was hooked up to chemotherapy IVs, and bantered with technicians lining her up for precise radiation doses.

"I couldn't allow myself to doubt that I was going to be okay," Jeanette said. "And I wasn't going to change who I was, no matter how tough things got."

Jeanette's journey started with symptoms she thought were insignificant. At 51, she attributed her irregular bleeding to peri-menopause. Then she felt a lump on her pelvis that she thought was a fibroid tumor. It wasn't.

After the shock of hearing she had cancer, she found an oncologist near her Tom's River home, but he "wasn't a good fit," and she prayed to find the right doctor for her. Looking online, she discovered Dr. Sharyn Lewin, Medical Director of Gynecologic Oncology at Holy Name.

"I've never met a person so compassionate," Jeanette said. "As soon as Dr. Lewin came into the room, she made me not afraid – like she would do anything to keep me alive and never give up, which made me feel like I couldn't give up."

Jeanette said the rest of the Holy Name staff also made her feel like they were fighting along with her. Her treatment included a hysterectomy to remove as much of the cancer as possible, chemotherapy and radiation. The cancer had spread to her lymph nodes but removing all of the affected nodes would have been life-threatening so two were left behind. Still, she remained positive.

"I never felt like I was fighting alone – they are all such blessed people," she said. "Whether it was around my surgery, during chemo or radiation, they were always checking on me, laughing with me and making me feel like my comfort was all that was important."

She suffered few symptoms from treatment, a little nausea and some fatigue. She lost her hair but said that was a small price to pay for keeping her life. And then the day she heard those miraculous words: "Your cancer is gone," she grabbed her mother, who lives with her, spun her around and screamed.

"I was just so happy," Jeanette said. "I'm cancer free and I have so much to say. I was put through this trial to help others and that's what I'm trying to do. I'm a miracle and I want people to know they should never give up hope."

Learn more about Jeanette's Gynecologic Oncologist at Holy Name