Rhonda Reeve’s Patient Story
Married at age 18, Rhonda and Jay Reeve were high school sweethearts who raised three daughters. Rhonda is a CPA and Jay is an attorney. After their daughters left home, they began working together in Jay’s law practice in Gun Barrel City, TX. They also were able to spend more time pursuing their favorite hobby, crappie fishing. In 2007, as a couple they began tournament fishing, participating in numerous crappie fishing tournaments all over the state of Texas and the southeastern United States. In March 2014, the couple weighed in the largest 7-fish stringer of crappie ever in a national tournament in Grenada, Mississippi – seven crappie that weighed 20.54 pounds! In September 2014, they achieved their dream of winning the Male/Female National Crappie Championship.
The next year, in November 2015, Rhonda was puzzled that she continued to gain weight despite an active workout schedule. She went to her personal care physician and gynecologist seven different times complaining of bloating, pelvic pain and lack of appetite. Both doctors blamed menopause for the symptoms. Rhonda finally went into the emergency room. Her CA 125 measurement, normally 0-30, was over 3000 – an indication of cancer. After further tests, she was diagnosed with Stage IIIC ovarian cancer. Over the next months, Rhonda spent 73 days in the hospital, undergoing five surgeries and 13 blood transfusions. She had 16 doses of chemotherapy until her body could not handle any more. At this point, her scans showed NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE.
Before the debulking surgery, her physician had recommended a clinical trial at Mary Crowley. When Rhonda learned the statistics for the recurrence of ovarian cancer, she agreed that participating in a clinical trial was her best HOPE to have a better chance of avoiding a recurrence. She decided to move forward, comforted by the confidence that if the trial was not effective for her, the knowledge gained by physicians would help future patients. In April 2016, Rhonda enrolled in an immunotherapy trial designed to educate and boost her own immune system to fight the cancer. She received a personalized vaccine made from her own cancer cells that had been gathered during the debulking surgery; the vaccine was administered once a month for a year. As of October 2017, Rhonda’s scans still reveal NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE!
Rhonda says she could not have had a better experience at Mary Crowley. “It’s like going home, everyone is so friendly and welcoming. Mary Crowley is truly an incredible place!” Rhonda, Jay and their family are grateful for her good health, and they continue fishing together. At each tournament, Rhonda has an opportunity to speak about early warnings signs of ovarian cancer, and she provides information about treatment options and research. She and Jay proudly sport the colors and logo for the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, and their boat is wrapped to match their tournament uniforms.
Rhonda’s recovery and return to fishing is great news for everyone — except for the fish. We hope the fish keep biting for Team Reeve Fishing!