“I thought she was just bitten by an insect”: mother’s grief when her daughter died after her 21st birthday

A mom spoke of her devastation after her daughter died just months after her 21st birthday after discovering what she thought was an insect sting.

Jenna Patel was enjoying life to the fullest and preparing to become an elementary school teacher when she discovered what she thought was an insect bite on her shoulder. But just four months after her 21st birthday, she died of an aggressive form of cancer.

Jenna was in the middle of school when she noticed a bump on her shoulder after gardening with her mom and brother in the spring of 2021. She assumed it was an insect bite, but just in case, she visited a therapist to check the bump. outside.

The general practitioner assumed the tumor was a cyst, according to the Manchester Evening News, but sent Jenna for an ultrasound, which was inconclusive. Jenna was placed on a waiting list for an MRI and continued to work at Devonshire Primary School in Bolton.

Meanwhile, the bump on her shoulder continued to grow very rapidly. In July, Jenna was sent for tests to the Royal Infirmary in Manchester.

When Jenna and Preity’s mom were sitting in the hallway looking at posters about sarcomas, they both suddenly realized that she might have cancer. While Jenna was diagnosed with a rare cancer called Ewing’s sarcoma, her father Manish was near Christie’s Hospital receiving treatment for lung cancer.

Jenna was referred to The Christie and immediately put on chemotherapy, which included daily treatment and returning home in the evening with chemotherapy drugs attached to her. Manish was undergoing chemotherapy at the same time as his daughter.

Because she had made such progress in the fall, doctors told Jenna that she would be fully recovered by March next year, and she assumed she would return to Edge Hill University in Ormskirk to complete her senior year next October.

Unfortunately, as soon as Jenna stopped chemotherapy and had to take a break from treatment before starting radiation therapy, the tumor began to grow very aggressively again. She had more shots and plans for radiotherapy had to be cancelled. She was referred to a specialist at the Birmingham Royal Orthopedic Hospital, and just a few weeks before Christmas, she underwent surgery to remove the tumor. Brave Jenna was warned that she could lose her arm, depending on the size of the tumor.

The operation went well. But the tumor that was removed turned out to be much larger than anyone expected. How Jenna prepared for her 21st birthdayst. birthday early last year, she started having trouble breathing and was sent in for another scan. Unfortunately, the scan showed that the cancer had spread and was now in her lungs.

Despite such bad news, as always, Jenna kept smiling and enjoying her special birthday. Because she was still recovering from such a major operation, chemotherapy had to be postponed.

Jenna then faced a second course of chemotherapy that seemed effective at first, but then became ineffective each time, until last April she and her family received word that her cancer was terminal and there were no more treatment options.

She planned her entire funeral, insisting that mourners should not be sad or wear black, and even asked to play Stormzy. Jenna also wanted her friends and family to enjoy the after party and remember the happiness they shared with her.

Jenna died at home on May 13, 2022.

Her family is now supporting the Cancer Research UK campaign to bring hope to future generations this World Cancer Day (Saturday 4 February). Jenna’s mom Preity, her father Manish and younger brother Liam are encouraging people in the Northwest to give regularly to charities to help fund long-term research projects that could lead to new breakthroughs.

A life-saving cancer treatment has been made possible through months and months of testing, testing and learning. But monthly progress in research requires monthly donations.

Her brother Liam, 18, is taking an A exam this summer and hopes to study biomedical studies at university after Jenna encouraged him to make a difference for people like her. Manish, 52, of Canon, continues to receive monthly cancer treatment.

The family is committed to keeping Jenna alive and fundraising for cancer charities, including raising more than £6,000 for Cancer Research UK after participating in Shine’s night out in Manchester last fall.

Preity, 49, said: “In absolutely everything, Jenna never stopped smiling and people always think of her beautiful smile. When we were told that she had cancer, I was numb. The news was too much to take in, knowing that her father was only a few miles away and also undergoing cancer treatment.

“Jenna remained so positive and determined that she inspired us all. Her death left a huge hole in our lives and we miss her very much. But she wanted Liam to have a brilliant career and go into medical research to make a difference. And we want to keep her memory alive to help others and raise as much money as possible to get rid of such a terrible disease.”

About 43,600 people were diagnosed with cancer in the North West last year, but advances in research have shown survival rates in the UK have doubled in the past 40 years.

UK cancer research has resulted in more than 50 anti-cancer drugs used in the UK and around the world, from widely used chemotherapy agents to next-generation precision therapies. Charity-linked drugs are used to treat more than 125,000 patients in the UK each year – that’s 3 out of every 4 patients receiving cancer drugs on the NHS.

Cancer Research UK Northwest spokeswoman Jane Bullock said: “On this World Cancer Day, we want to give a heartfelt thank you to amazing supporters like Preity, Liam and Manish. Their generosity of heart in fundraising and boldly telling Jenna’s story is incredible. Regular donations are critical to our work because it means we can fund long-term research—research that can lead to new discoveries about cancer and open up new ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat it.

“One in two of us will get cancer in our lifetime, but we can all help beat it. So, we hope that more people in the Northwest will donate monthly if they can. We are working to create a world where we can all live longer and better lives without the fear of cancer.”

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