“I choose life. I choose to show up every day to enjoy what is happening and not dwell on what is negative in life”, Ron’Jent says. 

Ron’Jent, 47, a mother of two, was in the final semester of her Master's Degree Program in Public Administration at Strayer University when she received a shocking cancer diagnosis. 

In 2016, she made an appointment with her primary care doctor after experiencing a twinge of pain on her right side, where she noticed a visible bulge. “When I would lean on my right side, I would feel a weird pinch,” she recalls. “I’ve always had different gastroenterological issues, but I knew something wasn’t right.” 

Her primary care doctor suggested that the pain may be caused by scar tissue from a gallbladder removal surgery she had in 2013. Unconvinced, Ron’Jent told her doctor that she wanted a second opinion. So, she was referred to a gastroenterologist. The gastroenterologist performed a colonoscopy, an endoscopy, and after other scans and a biopsy, it was determined that Ron’Jent had cancer in her liver. She was diagnosed with Stage IV Bile Duct Cancer.

“My diagnosis came on 11/11/2016,” Ron’Jent recalled. “11/11 is considered one of those make-a-wish times. During this time, we had a lot of different things going on. My husband is a pastor, so we had church activities, and I was finishing the last stages of my master’s program.” But Ron’Jent wasn’t allowing cancer to slow her down. She chose life and chose to move forward. 

Before treatment, Ron’Jent needed radioembolization,  radiation-filled glass, or resin beads that are put into the small arteries inside the liver. This helped cut off the blood supply to the tumor. Over the next six weeks, Ron’Jent finished the last class of her program and was getting ready to begin cancer treatment. She contacted another medical center for a second opinion, but when they didn’t take her insurance and told her they referred their patients to Oncology Specialists of Charlotte’s (OSC) Dr. Justin Favaro, she knew she was in the right hands.

“Dr. Favaro was my first choice, and he was my last choice,” Ron’Jent says.“ He has respected me faith-wise, family-wise, and treatment-wise.” Dr. Favaro valued my faith and my opinion. He’s always been very compassionate. All the nurses and people I’ve encountered at OSC have been wonderful to work with. They recognize that being there is a ministry, not just a job.”

Ron’Jent’s treatment plans have consisted of different types of chemotherapies, surgery to remove a cancerous tumor that spread to her lungs, and a clinical trial. It has now been seven years since Ron’Jent first began treatment and has since rung the bell twice.

Before her diagnosis, Ron’Jent suffered from high blood pressure, was pre-diabetic, and was overweight in the morbidly obese category. Dr. Favaro introduced her to the Mediterranean diet, which she has adopted as her go-to diet. She stopped consuming meat, and mostly eats fish and veggies. She avoids preservatives, artificial ingredients, and foods with GMO components. She also drinks a lot more water now, and enjoys tea. By changing her diet considerably, Ron’Jent has seen a positive impact on her health, including significant weight loss.

Despite her challenges, Ron’Jent remained prayerful and accepting of her cancer diagnosis. Ron’Jent continued to stay positive and kept moving forward. She even found friendships with other patients. One of which she began quilting with at the church ministry.

“So here we are, two women going to chemotherapy that are now quilting and have something else we get to do together,” Ron’Jent said. “Everything for us was just about living.”

“I accepted this challenge,” she said. “Living became that much more important because you live each day for what each day has to offer.”

Ron’Jent bravely embraced life not only for her own children but also for the students she cherishes as a substitute teacher. Despite undergoing treatments, she prioritized being there for her children at home, meticulously planning her treatment schedule around their activities. Ron’Jent's dedication extends to the classroom, where she finds joy in working with middle schoolers, her favorite age group. Her love for being with kids is a testament to her resilience and commitment to making a positive impact in both her family and professional life.

Ron’Jent continues to stay busy as an active member of the Parent Teacher Student Association and Home Owner Association. She hopes to write a book one day. 

“I choose life,” Ron’Jent says. “This too shall pass; this too has passed.”

published: Feb. 27, 2024, 5:19 p.m.

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