Rebecca Grunza RN
Rebecca is a Gastrointestinal (GI) registered nurse who began her 20-year career caring for recovery room patients in NJ, where she grew up. Apart from a stint as a Red Cross volunteer at Heidelberg Army Hospital in Germany in 1997, she has worked in hospitals in New Jersey, Virginia and Connecticut, where she now resides. She is the mother of two daughters, Caroline 8 years and Julia 6 years.
Rebecca’s story begins with a symptom of rectal bleeding that occurred after a family meal February 2010. Although not alarmed, since she had neither family history of colon cancer or contributing risk factors to the disease she sought opinion with a gastroenterologist she knew and worked with. The initial thinking was perhaps hemorrhoids, but she persisted and as a precaution was scheduled for a colonoscopy at her place of employment.
On March 4,2010 Rebecca awoke from the anesthesia to the diagnosis of a “rectal tumor”. A subsequent CT scan revealed a 2.5cm recto-sigmoid mass with extension into fat and adjacent lymph node. Devastated but determined she sought initial consultation with a surgeon and oncologist close to home, but additionally sought expert opinion from the colorectal cancer service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York City.
Impressed with the diagnosis, treatment plan and obvious experience in this field by Dr Jose Guillem, she scheduled her surgery to be done by Dr Guillem and his team in New York. On March 25,2010 she had a less invasive laparoscopic assisted procedure not requiring a bowel diversion( the “bag”). Pathology analysis revealed two positive adjacent lymph nodes necessitating post- operative chemotherapy in 12 treatments lasting six months that she received in Connecticut convenient to her home. She is happy to say today that post therapy analysis revealed neither metastasis nor latent tumor progression.
Touched by her expert care at Memorial Sloan Kettering and the outpouring of support she received during her surgery and treatment therapy by friends, family and co-workers, Rebecca decided to channel her field and personal experience into a platform for helping others with this disease. She was told of the work being done with the De Rosa foundation and wishes to coordinate her time for advice, consultation on process and procedure, or simply as a sounding board for patients just embarking on their own journeys. Her hope is to provide comfort and support to those managing their lives with this illness. Her message is, you can fight and beat cancer. Most of all, you can exploit this disease into your own opportunity for personal and spiritual transformation.
Rebecca can be contacted by email or by phone.