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Mallory Cox: Different Roles, One Common Goal

“At all times, I had a team of people helping me to understand.”

Mallory Cox
Ovarian Cancer

From the moment Mallory Cox was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 32, she felt her life begin to move very quickly. After Mallory was admitted to the hospital with swelling in her abdomen, a CT scan revealed fast-growing tumors on each of her ovaries. She was diagnosed with serous ovary malignancy, which caused fluid to build up rapidly in her abdomen. She’d undergo surgery just days later.

Getting Aggressive with Treatment

Mallory was introduced to her gynecologic oncologist Monique Spillman, M.D., Ph.D. of Texas Oncology–Longview Cancer Center on December 18, 2018, when it was initially recommended she undergo three rounds of chemotherapy, followed by surgery, and three additional rounds of chemotherapy. But Mallory’s tumors were too aggressive. Dr. Spillman called Mallory just hours after their first meeting suggesting immediate surgery. Three days later, after having pounds of fluid drained from her abdomen, Mallory underwent a hysterectomy with removal of her fallopian tubes, ovaries, and as much of the tumor as possible.

Facing Obstacles Together

Mallory experienced several challenges throughout her cancer journey that tested her confidence in fighting her disease, including a severe allergic reaction to chemotherapy and fluid buildup in her chest cavity that interrupted her treatments. Mallory’s care team, including Matei Socoteanu, M.D., and physician assistant Devin Brecheen, PA-C, guided her through the process of adjusting to the chemotherapy, and ultimately, removed most of the cancer from her abdomen. Mallory responded well to the remainder of her treatment plan. Although her journey wasn’t without obstacles, her close-knit relationship with Dr. Spillman and her entire care team at Texas Oncology gave her hope. 

For Mallory, it was Devin who became a close confidant and guide throughout her journey. Devin helped Mallory through the process of undergoing genetic testing, from which she learned she was positive for the BRCA-1 gene, like her grandmother and great grandmother on her father’s side, who both died of ovarian cancer. “I saw myself in Mallory. We are the same exact age, young kids, and I could not sleep at night knowing the extent of her disease,” Devin said. “I wanted to do anything I could to alleviate her fears.”

Devin was there to comfort Mallory and clarify aspects of her disease she found difficult to grasp. “I didn’t always feel smart enough to understand all the concepts – and the staff were there to break it down for me,” Mallory said. “At all times, I had a team of people helping me to understand.” 

Tough Conversations, Better Outcomes

Some of the conversations she had with her care team were difficult. There were times when Mallory said she felt overwhelmed or misinterpreted aspects of her treatment. In these moments, the team made Mallory feel comfortable asking questions and confident she’d get sincere answers. “Every member of the Texas Oncology team was always open and honest – the good, the bad, and the ugly. I knew they’d always take care of me, to the best of their abilities.”

Mallory completed chemotherapy, rang the survivor’s bell at Texas Oncology–Longview Cancer Center, and will continue maintenance therapy. She attributes her positive outcome to each member of her care team.

The information included in this testimonial is based on one patient’s unique experience and is not intended to represent all patient outcomes or expectations.