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Stories From the Heart: Jackie Rogacki

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Stories From the Heart: Jackie Rogacki

This is the first of the Stories From the Heart series, from patients, family members, employees and volunteers who wish to share their stories with the community.

Stories From the Heart: Jackie Rogacki
Jackie hadnandrsquo;t been feeling well for over a year, thanks to what she called “spells,” that just didn’t make her feel right. Then a CAT scan showed a spot on her lung, and a biopsy came back with an accidental find. Jackie had a small spot on her lung which turned out to be aggressive small cell lung cancer. Here is her story, in her words:

I must have spent 2 hours crying when I heard the news. Then I heard about the Peitz Cancer Support House and went to see what they were all about. I was bawling when I entered and laughing when I left. I took the tobacco smoking cessation classes offered free at Peitz. I at first thought they did mostly breast cancerandhellip; I had no idea that they provided educational information and support for all of the many cancers.

The Peitz Cancer Support House has been there for me from the very beginning, whether I was happy or crying, they always know what to say or do to make sure I walk out smiling. Thank you to Melissa (Melissa Hudson, PSCH Coordinator)and the rest of the volunteers. You have helped me more than you will ever know. It is such a blessing to be having a bad day and know that I have a place to go who understands what I am going through and who is willing just to sit and listen to me talk or cry or laugh or whatever the feeling is that day.

After starting cancer treatment I had some other testing done and learned that I have severe narrowing of the spina canal, cord compression, and spurs in my neck. So after cancer treatment is all done, I will go to see my neurosurgeon about what kind of surgery will be good for me.

The caring, compassionate people at the Peitz House were truly there when I needed them. Emotionally, I felt like I was on a roller coaster going through a tornado. Fourteen days after my first chemotherapy, I began to lose my hair; but again, PCSH came to my rescue by sending me to Lacey Willard, a hair stylist who donates her time and talents to men and women with cancer by shaving their heads and letting them know that they are still beautiful. Lacey was so kind and caringandhellip; more crying when I went to see her, but also lots of laughter during this milestone in my life. Another blessing were the massages that I received from Elaine who is a massage therapist hired by CARTI to give cancer patients massages after their treatment. Your body just feels so achy and stressed, and massage therapy was amazing!

After my hair was all shaved off I actually felt relievedandhellip; I was so afraid I would be out in public and have a huge hunk of hair fall out on the floor. I went to the wig room at the Peitz House where they provide free wigs, turbans, scarfs and assistance, but since my husband and I ride motorcycles I decided to stick with a do-rag and hats. Wigs just aren’t for me!

I am done with my radiation and almost done with chemotherapy, but I never could have gone through this without my faith in God. On andldquo;good” days I would write verses that are inspirational to me into a notebook to help me through the “blue days” that popped up. I have my own home cleaning service but had to give up working the business because I was so weak, tired and just did not have the stamina to continue.

My husband, family, friends, and my church family have been such a big blessing for me through all of this. I thank God for them every day.

Throughout this ordeal, I have tried to have a good attitude and keep my spirits up. Thanks to God, the Peitz Cancer Support House and CARTI, I have been able to do just that. I donandrsquo;t know what the future holds but, I know I have been blessed to have all of these wonderful people become a part of my life.

One thing that really sticks out to me is the fact that Dr. Wells, my radiation doctor, plays Christian music while I am getting radiation, and I absolutely love that! It really helps me relax and deal with things. He and his staff are all such great people and I think that is what has helped me keep such a good attitude through it all. Thank you all, Kelly Davidson, Stephanie Osborne, Stacie Jones, Robin Horton, Rachel Luther, Katria Clements, Dan Ryan and Lynnette Haley.

I would also like to thank Dr. Holden (my cancer doctor) and his nurse Penny, along with the girls from chemo, Angela Dinges, Kathy Cox, Melody Hofmann, and Briana. Last but most certainly not least, I would like to thank everyone at the Cancer Diagnosis Center for being so nice to everyone they meet, Ashton McManness, Marcy, Heather, and Cindy.

Without the loving kindness all of these different offices, this cancer journey I am on would be much more difficult. Thank you all for making us cancer patients feel loved and cared about. You all rock!