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Truckee teen hits cancer head-on

Doctors first thought the mass inside Jenny Geresys was a cyst the size of a golf ball. Then it was more like a baseball. And then, well, maybe a grapefruit. But doctors were more than shocked when they opened up the Truckee teen to find a cancerous lump as big as a milk jug.It was like a baby; this big, veiny, red, disgusting thing, Geresy said. I named it Phillip, the alien baby.Geresy, 17, is just fine now. She wears a ball cap to cover her chemotherapy-zapped noggin, but it doesnt seem to bother her. After the removal of an ovary and four-and-a-half-pound tumor, she said the temporary hair loss is the least of her concerns. In February of this year, Geresy, a senior at Tahoe Truckee High School, was diagnosed with a Sertoli-Leydig cell tumor, a rare ovarian cancer of which there are currently only about 500 known cases in the world. Rather than growing upon the ovary, like most ovarian cancers, a Sertoli-Leydig tumor begins growing within and eventually fuses with the ovary, said Ruth Geresy, Jennys mother.For Jenny Geresy, this meant big changes in her future.The first thing I thought was, Oh no, I cant play softball, she said. The next thing was, Oh no, Im going to lose my hair. It never really hit me that I had cancer. After meeting with an oncologist at Washoe Medical Center and other specialists at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, Geresy decided to go ahead with chemotherapy.The tumor had been successfully removed and her lymph nodes and fluids were running clean, but Sertoli-Leydig has a 60 percent chance of recurring in the first year, and the Geresy family wasnt interested in taking chances.The chemo isnt a guarantee with this type of cancer, Ruth Geresy said. And as a parent is was hard; are we really going to put her through this?The answer was yes, but not before the young Geresy, still healing from surgery, hit the softball diamond. She came to practice everyday, even if she couldnt do anything. She would play catch a little and then sit down, said varsity softball coach Mitch Brown. But then she came back full force for a double header. Jenny got cut open and shes out there diving for balls I was pretty impressed. She also kept up with school, went to the junior prom in a spicy new wig to be named prom princess, and stayed fit.My main goal (during chemotherapy) was to remain active and normal, Geresy said. I tried to go to school as much as I could, and I stuck with the softball team.Geresys last round of chemotherapy was in June, and by the time school rolled around earlier this month, the brown-eyed teen was tightening her shoelaces for another season of track practice. All in all, Geresy says shes back to normal and feeling good, but that her whirlwind cancer ordeal will never be behind her. Because of chemotherapy, it is unlikely that Geresy will be able to have children, a big concept to swallow for a 17-year-old who hasnt even had the time to put much thought into motherhood.I can talk about cancer, but thats the part that breaks me down, she said.But it will be a while until that road needs to be crossed, she said. And in the meantime, shes got a homecoming nomination to vie for.


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