Gratitude Stories – Jocelyne

Jocelyne’s Journeys: Grateful Patient Shares Two Lifesaving Experiences

Gratitude - Jocelyne

Jocelyne Dolce’s two cancer stories still feel surreal to her.

The first one begins the Tuesday before Thanksgiving in 2012. That day, Jocelyne had a sick appointment for a lingering cough and shortness of breath, which led to a probable cancer diagnosis just eight hours later in the emergency room at Rhode Island Hospital.

A CT scan at the hospital revealed a softball-sized mass in her chest, and she was immediately admitted. A few days later, her preliminary pathology reports revealed Jocelyne had a form of lymphoma and she was transferred to the oncology floor.

On November 28, 2012, she was diagnosed with primary mediastinal large B cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and received her first chemotherapy treatment that evening. After five more rounds of outpatient chemotherapy, 22 radiation treatments, years of follow-up appointments, and the assistance of dozens of people at Rhode Island Hospital, Jocelyne lived a happy, cancer-free life for seven years.

But sadly, that extended period of good health was also upended.

Under the guidance and advice of her hematologic oncologist and primary care physician, Jocelyne received what was to be the first of yearly breast MRIs as a preventative screening seven years after finishing radiation. Unfortunately, the discovery of several discrete masses and a biopsy ultimately led to a diagnosis of breast cancer in September of 2020. Once again, Jocelyne found herself engulfed in the life of a cancer patient and once again turned to the world-class team at Rhode Island Hospital for the care she needed.

Jocelyne first underwent a right mastectomy in early October of 2020. Then, she had a prophylactic or preventive mastectomy on the left breast in July of 2021, which was immediately followed by a reconstruction procedure. Jocelyne says the recovery was challenging, but her care team was “amazing and saw me through every step of the process with kindness and empathy.”

Today, Jocelyne enjoys a healthy, active life. Reflecting back on her journeys, the grateful patient says, “I never thought that I would be diagnosed with cancer at 30—let alone for a second time at 38. The fact that I am a survivor truly is due to the exemplary care I’ve received at the Lifespan Cancer Institute and Rhode Island Hospital. There are simply not enough words to thank the doctors, nurses, and medical team for saving my life . . . not once but twice.”

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