Pink Arrow Perseverance Story: Jamie Teachworth

Photo by Robin Kyburz

In the weeks leading up to the Pink Arrow game on September 22, 2023, we will be sharing stories from Pink Arrow Pride. Today’s story is from Jamie Teachworth.

My name is Jamie Teachworth. I am 56 years old and we have lived in the Lowell area for 10 years. My husband, Ryan, and I have been married for 27 years. We have three grown children and nine grandchildren.

I have always loved to help others, whether through my job or at our children’s school, the library, FROM or helping with Pink Arrow fundraisers. But suddenly found myself being on the receiving end of others’ help. This was a difficult challenge for me.

In October 2022, I began having pain in my lower back. I started getting regular chiropractic adjustments and massages. The pain continued to increase, so in December 2022, I went to an orthopedic back and spine doctor, who set me up with physical therapy (PT) and requested insurance approve an MRI. In January 2023, while waiting on insurance to approve the MRI, I could no longer sit or lay without severe lower back pain and experienced constant sciatica pain.

On the evening of January 10, 2023, my husband insisted I go to the emergency room, where a CT scan showed a mass within my pelvic bone and nodules on my lungs. We learned this appeared to be metastatic cancer. This news shocked us to our core.

Within 10 days, we had met with the Oncology team at Lacks Cancer Center, who determined my diagnosis to be Stage IV Osteosarcoma. This is an extremely aggressive and rare bone cancer, generally found in children and adolescents, making this cancer even more rare for me at 56 years old.

Targeted radiation treatments started in February. Dr Knol at Lacks Cancer Center and Dr Schuetze at University of Michigan set-up my chemo treatment plan to start March 1st. After four aggressive in-patient chemo treatments that reduced the pelvic tumor and lung nodules, we are very hopeful that we can keep the disease controlled with Stivarga, an oral chemotherapy. Because Stivarga is not FDA approved for Osteosarcoma, insurance will not cover the cost. My oncology team applied to Bayer Pharmaceuticals, who is currently covering the cost of the drug. We are so grateful for this option.

At a recent oncology appointment, I was told to try to work on transitioning from fight mode to ‘living my life’. I have struggled with the loss of my independence, in addition to fighting cancer. With the tumor being in my pelvic bone as it grew, it fractured bone, this has limited my mobility. The mental battle, in addition to the physical battle, is a great challenge. We have learned, you must be your own advocate, if something doesn’t feel right, seek a medical path to get answers and treatment early on.

I am so grateful to have my very supportive husband, family, friends, oncology team and community on my team.

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