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About Jesicha Erin Napolitano

Jesicha's florida trip

March 13th 1975 -- August 20th 2011

About Jesicha and her HOPE 

Jesicha was a talented, creative, loving, giving woman. She found joy in all things she did and never missed an opportunity to experience something new.

She was born in 1975, the second of eleven siblings. From an early age Jesicha would delight herself and others creating designs or fashions for her younger siblings. She was destine to be a designer, her eye for design was very evident. True to form, young Jesicha, mastered the art of design and became a master using every machine needed. By her early twenties she was off to NYC, displaying her fashions at the shows and selling into fashion boutiques for children.

Spring line from her Candied Apples line - a capri set with hat in lavender

Her talents did not stop at fashion, she designed her own home and found time to do much of the detail work on the house herself. The gardens surrounding the house were designed by her, marking every planting, constructing stone pathways and seating areas.

Her hands never stopped moving, her mind always a whirl. there was always a dream ready for her to turn it into reality.  When faced with cancer, she never stopped a beat; continued her dreams, continued reaching the top of every mountain she set out to climb. This meant starting a whole new idea in design and fashion; creating a line of fashion and accessories from recycled goods, turning discarded into something new and fabulous. It was a greatly accepted where ever shown. Not to stop there, she decided to begin a pet sitting business, giving clients exceptional care for their pets, whether they be dogs or cats or horses, goats or snakes; she gave them the personal love and care. Her life was full and she had little room for cancer.

Designs from her line: Give them The World - recycling fashions [at Brazen's Betties ]

Most clients or associates were surprised to learn Jesicha had battled breast cancer for three years. Never did she wear cancer on her sleeve, but pushed it to the back, in a deep dark corner, exactly where it need be, for Jesicha has life to live, places to go, things to do and a life to enjoy. Cancer, there was just no room for it.

When the chemotherapy and radiation began to take a toll on her body, and had not accomplished the task of killing the cancer, Jesicha turned to alternative treatments. Perhaps she would admit that decision was made too late; yet she did trust the doctors to tell her when chemo was no longer the answer. She was disappointed that she trusted and did not get what she expected; the truth needs be told, early on, in time for a patient to make their logical decisions. It was then in a clinic in Mexico that Jesicha decided to found - Jesicha's Hope - appropriately named - for it is Jesicha that is giving hope to others and will continue.

Jesicha at clinic

Leaving the clinic in Mexico where she found healing and founded Jesicha's Hope

Jesicha did go for the alternatives finding them tolerable and invigorating to the body, that so craved to be healed.  Her progress was good, the cancer regressed by a good percentage. She had the hope of a new tomorrow, every day was a day to enjoy and live for; her dreams never ceased, always something new moving through her mind, readying herself for the next adventure, accomplishment or challenge.

She found her last challenge in mid August of 2011. Damage from side effects and long term effects of the chemotherapy and radiation to her liver and heart began to weaken her.  Although she never knew the liver was damaged, believing it would heal; and another day would rise; she forged on trying to heal. Jesicha retired after her morning exercises in late August to nap;  she succumb to liver failure within hours, giving her the peaceful end a woman as full of love and life, joy and hope deserved.

Jesicha is sorely missed and it was her hope that one day when she had reached a healing she would give back to others with cancer; showing them that with hope and joy of life always in your heart, cancer would never take over, always be forced to the back corner of your life. She never had that chance to make that dream come true, but we decided the world needed to have Jesicha's Hope in their lives, so we dedicate our lives to doing her work, in her honor, in her memory.

Jesicha's Hope: BELIEVE IN LIFE

About Jesicha's Cancer and Treatment

Jesicha never wanted to be known for her cancer; she hated the very thought the cancer was even a part of her. She was Jesicha the person, the desginer, lover of animals and children; she was more than anything the sister of ten wonderful loving sibllings and the loving daughter of a mom and dad.  But, unless her cancer story is fully told others may not fully understand what she discovered and why she created the organization Jesicha's Hope.  Her  'rude' awakening as she called it came towards the end of her journey; she thought it was the beginning of a lifetime ahead of her cancer free; her cancer free lifetime was not as long as she envisioned. Her dream of Jesicha's Hope was handed over to her mother, who carries the torch for her daughter. 

Her cancer story began in the summer of 2008. She loved animals and the great outdoors. Living outside was not out of the norm, especially in the summer where gardening and hiking about trails with one dog or another was and everyday event.  When her shoulder began to ache and would not go away her first thought was Lyme's Disease, in CT a common occurrance.  After visiting the doctor and expecting to come out with a script for doxy in her hand she came out with an appointment for a scan in hand. Shortly after the results came back she was headed off to yet another appointment and there a doctor told her she had an unusal lump under her breast.  A biospy resulted and it came back with invasive ductal carcinoma ER postive, PR Negative HER2 positive, it was poorly differentiated with intra ductal carcinoma solid - node # 1 postive with tumor clusters, #2 and #3 were negative.  Surgery resulted in a radical mastectomy of the right breast. 

Before  surgery she was put on a neoadjuvant therapy of Herceptin 6 mg. Taxotere 75 mg and carboplatin @ACU of 6, no raditation was indicated by three top radiologists. She recieved 6 cycles of Taxotere and carboplatin and the Herceptin was planned for one year.  In 2009 of June the Herceptin was stopped and Tamoxifen was started. By Novmber of 2008 the radical mastectomy was performed.

She was complaining for the same shoulder pain during the course of the year and was reassured they got everything and the pain in the shoulder was not the same but replaced due to the surgery and reconstruction of the breast that she was undergoing.  But she still complained and in November of 2009 a scan was done that showed she had hypermetabolic masses on the chest wall and collar bone.

Surgery was again performed in January of 2010  The reconstructed breast was removed; the tumor on the chest wall was removed as well as on the collar bone.  The tumors 4.5 respectively in size.  Jesicha's tamoxifen was stopped and cycles of Zoladex and Armidex was begun. Radiation was recommended and begun on the chest wall. By June of 2010 despite the heavy cyles of chemo a new scan showed boney mets on the spine of L2, L4, T5 and ilicc bone. ; another scan in October showed new hypermetabolic foic on the skeleton at T5, L3, L5, L4, L1. 

She decided to leave her care at Beth Israel and Sloan, to go to a new promising doctor at Dana Farber; she was hoping for one more trial that might make the difference.

In November of  2010 the reports came back for the second surgery; it was TNBC and identified as adenocarcinoma metastic; lymph nodes #3 and #4 were no longer negative, they were postive for metasitc carcinoma. We would not know this information until 2012.

December of 2010 her reports were gathered from NYC and sent to Dana Farber.  She waited for acceptance into a trail program and was told if she were to begin new cycles of chemo her chance of getting into a  trial would deminish. She waited. The doctor told her cases such as Jesicha's could go on for a long time, and she would simply manage her condition, much like a chronic illness of any type. Things she thought might be not so grim afterall. 

January of 2011 she was put back on Herceptin, and several more cycles of chemo using Avastin and Xeloda. By March there was no improvement and the trial she hoped for was not available because the trial she had used previously of the carboplastin cocktail and the subsequent mets deemed her unqualified.  She was devasated. 

She was being treated by the doctor from Dana Farber as well as a former doctor from Sloan that happened to move closer to Yale; she administered all the chemo so traveling to Boston was not needed.  In May she complained of a bump on her head just to the back of her head. It grew, but the doctor claimed due to her headaches from the chemo she must have gotten dizzy and hit her head. A week later we returned for another round of chemo and told the doctor it grew and another appeared. They began to appear daily it seemed and they all grew quickly. She had one just over her eye and another to the right of the eye; her vision was deteriorating. They decided to add Tykerb to the mix.

In June, with no improvement and the tumors now in her jaw invading her mouth, radiation was scheduled. Radiation would begin in mid June.  

Meanwhile at a support group center she over heard another woman wih similar advancement had gone to Germany for Whole Body Hyperthermia and was not doing well.  Jesicha enlisted her mother to do begin research.  A c all to a clinic in Germany resulted in his telling her the probability of her making the trip in her condition was not good but there were clinics in Mexico that he suggested that could help.  She recieved a consultation with one clinic to determine if she qualified and found she was able to do so. She had also tried Dr. Bryzinski in Texas but the FDA had rulings as to who could get into his program and Jesicha had not undergone enough surgery and radiation to qualify. She was declined.  The clinic in Mexico accepted her and arrangements were made to go just after her last radiaiton on her jaw to improve her eating ability.  Jesicha had two treatments and the radiation on her head proved to taxing to her already frail body.  Emergency arrangements made to bring her to the clinic immediately, a week or so short of her appointed time.

At the clinic Jesicha underwent a transfusion, her blood count accoring to Mexican standards were too low, for her doctors here it was a wait and see.  A series of tests resulted in showing another tumor in her right breast, not yet seen in a recent scan in the U. S. The use of extensive sonogram technology and thermography showed areas of high concentration of cancer cells, and showed active tumors, those that were currently using a lot of blood supply to grow.  She began heavy immune boosting and strict diet; a series of treatments including,  and a series of IV theapies that would slow down the blood supply to the tumors and begin the kill off were administered around the clock.  (The treatments are described in detail on our cancer treatment page)

After three weeks, Jesicha who was carried into the clinic walked out; her cancer was dying; there as a huge reduction in the blood supply to the tumors and some had disappeared.  On her skull alone, she entered with near 13 visible tumors on her skull, jaw and face structure; she left with 3 and they were shrinking.  She returned home expecting new and great things ahead. While at the clinic with her mother she was so excited about her progress but very disappointed that such good treatments were blocked from patients, never disclosed to people that have no hope; that rather than give people what they deserved, all information and resources it was being held from them. [ Note:  by federal and state laws a doctor cannot adminsiter, recommend or disclose to a patient any treatment that is not approved by the FDA, no matter if the doctor believes it could work or could be a last hope ]  Jesicha did not know that such laws existed and if she had known she would have deemed that barbaric, that all persons have right to know of all treatments and make such decisions for themselves.  Jesicha's Hope was conceived while at the clinic, to give to others what she thought they should all know and have the right to know.

Jesicha was doing fine until mid August of 2011;  her scans in early June compared to her July scans showed the cancer was dying off rapidly.  Despite these good scans, her condition began to show signs of being sluggish and it was noticed the Lyme's disease of 2010 was resurfacing again with pains to her knee joints.  Her oncologist here would not believe it was Lymes'  and would not give her Doxy, but insisted it was bone mets, though no PET scan showed mets to the knees. Again she called the clinic who sent a collegue assocated with the clinic to see her in CT.  He arrived shortly after Jesicha arrived home from the hospital where she went on an emergency to acquire some relief from the Lyme's. She did get the relief through an IV of Doxycyline.  The hospital due to her nausea from the doxycycline  used two anti nausea medications resulting in a side effect of heart paplatiaions; causing another trip to a hospital further away, thinking she was having a stroke due to radiation damage to the heart. There she was forced to undergo hours alone without her mother able to be present, of pressuring her to go into hospice with heavy morphine. Jesicha determined to live; refused. She was returned home under the direction of DNR stipulations. An attorney had to remove it once she was save at home.  The doctor from the clinic arrived on August 15th. 

Her condition began to improve under the care of the clinic doctor and he ordered all recent records from the area cancer clinic; they gave them to him over the phone as he needed the quantities and names of all chemotherapy in the last chemo cocktail given.  He asked for all liver test results. After reviewing the records, he determined from his exam and the results of past and recent blood work her liver was failing and failing fast.  The liver began to ' relax ' on August 19, it completely engulfed her tiny belly; it felt like jelly not like the hard tight liver she had had only a week before. On the afternoon of August 19th she complained she was very tired after she did all her therapies. She asked the doctor if she could take the afternoon off; she fell into a sleep, only to wake confused and unable to understand some of what was going on. In spite of Jesicha's refusal to use hospice her siblings insisted,  knowing what was approaching.  The nurse arrived in the evening.  Jesicha would be lucid often but slip back into a dream state. Jesicha asked that her mother hold her hand and wait until she  ' got there' . Her mother never left her side.

At 2:50 am on Saturday August 20th 2011 Jesicha succumbed to liver failure due to chemotherapy poisoning. Her mother, her sister Natasha and brother Ethan were by her side. At 2:50 am Jesicha let go of her mother's hand forever.

Notes: Because her doctor in NYC refused to continue to treat her [ she was not a classic positive case] she had gone to Dana Farber. The surgical biospy report went to her NYC doctor, he in turn order the report sent back to the lab without having the office send it to Jesicha or finding out where she was recieving treatment. All of her records were sent to Dana Farber - minus the new report showing this cancer was TNBC. You will see her treatments from Dana Farber were all based on her first diagnosis of being HER2 +.  Hormonal treatments did nothing for the TNBC and allowed it to grow expodentially.  It was not until later that her doctor at Dana Farber discovered the second biospy report was not there, they requested it and finally obtained it from the lab. Jesicha by this time was already in Mexico. She never knew of the mistake and it was not discovered until after her death.   During this research her mother discovered that although her liver was failing the nausea drugs given to her for her Lyme Disease stressed her heart.  Although Jesicha had complained about feeling out of breath after her radiation on the chest following her second surgery, the complaint was followed by a cardiology exam and report from her oncologist telling her she was fine. It was subsequently discovered during this research the cardiologist report showed damage to the right portion of her heart; her oncologist felt Jesicha was going to die anyway and the added stress of knowing she had heart damage was not necessary, she kept it a secret.  While this added information cannnot undo what has occurred, it can give cause for others to beware and understand your oncologist is not your friend, they are there to do a job and do it as they are instructed; your life is yours and only you can save yourself.

 

 

 

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FOR ALL UNITED STATES VISITORS: FDA Required Disclaimer For Sites That Do Not Endorse Chemotherapy:
This web site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for the diagnosis, treatment and advice of a qualified licensed professional. This site offers people medical information and tells them their alternative medical options, but in no way should anyone consider that this site represents the “practice of medicine.” This site assumes no responsibility for how this material is used. Also note that this website frequently updates its contents, due to a variety of reasons, therefore, some information may be out of date. The statements regarding alternative treatments for cancer have not been evaluated by the FDA.