In partnership with our patients:
“I am the luckiest girl in the world!” Jill Snyder explains. You may not expect these words from a person who underwent intense cancer treatment. In January 2011, Jill didn’t feel like herself. She was easily exhausted and her eating and daily habits were changing. Jill thought it might be a stomach virus, or perhaps an ulcer, and the holiday rush at her job as a retail manger didn’t help her symptoms. At the recommendation of a friend, she went to primary care physician Dr. Girja Jalla, who examined her and ordered blood work. Dr. Jalla found Jill was extremely anemic and needed to find out what was making her iron deficient. Based on her symptoms, Jill was sent to Dr. Ramesh Desai for a colonoscopy. After the colonoscopy, Dr. Desai wanted Jill to get a scan of her colon immediately. This was a lot for Jill to process. The next morning, with support of her boyfriend Chris, family and friends, she went for her CT scan. “It becomes very real, very quickly,” Jill remembers.
Jill and her brother Scott were waiting in Dr. Othon Wiltz’s office for the diagnosis and a treatment plan. Dr. Wiltz told Jill she had colon cancer. “From the minute I met Dr. Wiltz, I felt safe and that we were going to do whatever it took to get me better,” Jill recalls. Her tumor was about the size of a lemon, and they needed to shrink it before surgery to have the best possible outcome. In January 2011, Jill started six weeks of radiation and oral chemotherapy. Dr. Nadim Nasr was her radiation oncologist. He was supportive and informative about treatment and side effects. “Everyone - all of my doctors, the receptionists, the nurses, and my radiation technician, who played great music for me, were all wonderful!”
In June 2011, Jill’s tumor had shrunk, and she underwent surgery to remove what remained. Dr. Wiltz removed the whole tumor. Jill needed an ileostomy and ileostomy bag for 11 months until the reversal surgery could take place. An ileostomy is a surgical opening constructed by bringing the end or loop of small intestine out onto the surface of the skin. Dr. Luis Sanz performed a full hysterectomy as a precautionary measure to avoid any possible future ovarian cancers. After healing from surgery, Jill required 11 sessions of chemotherapy by Dr. Patricia Rodriguez. Then 11 months later, Jill had ileostomy reversal surgery. Jill’s treatment is complete, and she is very thankful to have Virginia Hospital Center in her backyard.
"Everyone at Virginia Hospital Center helped me - I believe that is why I am alive today – it runs on positive energy. I am so grateful to be here and to be able to thank all of you. Every person who crossed my path played a part, the doctors who helped me through my journey were smart and supportive. You were all outstanding and I am thankful for each and every one of you. I am a happier, healthier and more compassionate person because of you. Once again, thank you!"