Handling Treatment Planning
- Beloved drag queen Kornbread “The Snack” Jeté, 30, recently shared that she was diagnosed with cancer of the small intestine. Despite her ongoing journey back to health, Kornbread is happy to share that she’s “THRIVING.”
- Small intestine cancer is a rare disease that may cause the following signs or symptoms: pain or cramps in the middle of the abdomen, weight loss with no known reason, a lump in the abdomen and blood in the stool. Surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are the standard treatment options, but immunotherapy and radiation therapy with radiosensitizers are currently being tested in clinical trials.
- A cancer journey comes with a complex range of emotions. Even the most resilient and positive fighters know it’s important to let out the negative emotions too.
- One of our experts says a cancer diagnosis can come with grief. He recommends talk therapy to help people cope with the change that a cancer diagnosis brings to a person’s life.
Kornbread Jeté, also known as Kornbread “The Snack” Jeté, recently announced her cancer diagnosis to fans.
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“I’ll cut straight to the point! Recently I was diagnosed with Adenocarcinoma. A type of Cancer in the Smaller intestine,” she wrote. “I’m 100% fine and everything is in the early stages so I’ll be back to my normal self in no time. Absolutely curable!”
Kornbread, who identifies as transgender, also took the time to urge her followers to “please get regular check ups” “no matter how young you are.”
“I’m glad I caught mine at this stage,” Kornbread wrote. “A lot of health things will be changing for me and I’m grateful for all the support! Ready to get back to the stage again!”
We don’t know too many of the specifics of her illness, but she did clarify on her Instagram story she has “a lot of of down time and healing.”
In a more recent social media post, Kornbread gave followers a promising look into her mental health as her cancer journey continues.
I’ve done so much in such a short time and that’s the reason I’ve kept my head up! Competed on Drag race, became Miss Congeniality, shared the stage and screen with such idols and even got to do ads and commercials. Cancer tried to scare me, but these are the reasons IM THRIVING! pic.twitter.com/35j6VgA3k0
— Itachi’s Baby Mama (@kornbreadTMFS) October 22, 2022
“I’ve done so much in such a short time and that’s the reason I’ve kept my head up!” she wrote in a Tweet. “Competed on Drag race, became Miss Congeniality, shared the stage and screen with such idols and even got to do ads and commercials. Cancer tried to scare me, but these are the reasons IM THRIVING!”
In addition to her success on RuPaul’s Drag Race despite having to withdraw for a rolled ankle, her memorable performance earned her the honorific of “Miss Congeniality” among her contestants as well as a $10,000 prize. Fans can also see her cameo in the Disney+ film Hocus Pocus 2 as a drag version of Mary Sanderson, the witch played by Kathy Najimy in the 1993 film and 2022 reboot.
Learning about Kornbread’s Type of Cancer: Small Intestine Cancer
Small intestine cancer is a rare disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the small intestine – a long tube that connects the stomach to the large intestine and folds many times to fit inside the abdomen. According to the National Cancer Institute, this form of cancer usually begins in an area of the intestine called the duodenum, which connects to the stomach and helps to further digest food coming and absorb nutrients.
Signs and symptoms of small intestine cancer can include the following:
- Pain or cramps in the middle of the abdomen
- Weight loss with no known reason
- A lump in the abdomen
- Blood in the stool
Remember that these symptoms aren’t exclusive to cancer of the small intestine, but you should always speak with a medical professional should any changes to your health occur.
Prognosis and treatment options vary on a case by case basis, but influencing factors can include the following:
- The type of small intestine cancer
- Whether the cancer is in the inner lining of the small intestine only or has spread into or beyond the wall of the small intestine
- Whether the cancer has spread to other places in the body, such as the lymph nodes, liver, or peritoneum (tissue that lines the wall of the abdomen and covers most of the organs in the abdomen)
- Whether the cancer can be completely removed by surgery
- Whether the cancer is newly diagnosed or has recurred
There are three standard treatment options for small intestine cancer:
- Radiation therapy
But new types of treatment options like immunotherapy and radiation therapy with radiosensitizers are currently being tested in clinical trials.
How to Handle Treatment Planning
As you begin your cancer journey, things are very often, and very understandably, overwhelming. There may be a lot of things out of your control, but it’s important to remember that you are not alone and there are resources and people out there who can provide support. No matter what, just remember that taking care of your mental health should be a priority.
“Grief comes in waves,” Dr. Scott Irwin, a psychiatrist and director of supportive care services at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, told SurvivorNet in a previous interview. “They’re grieving the change in their life. The future they had imagined is now different.”
Dr. Irwin stressed how helpful talk therapy could be when dealing with the mixed emotions. It’s important to reach out to your doctor, a therapist or support groups in your community if you feel like you’re struggling.
Ni Guttenfelder can attest to the benefits of therapy. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in October 2017 and quickly decided she needed a therapist to help process her feelings. Her suggestion is to seek a counselor you’re comfortable with – one you trust and can open up to about your cancer diagnosis.
“Initially I went to a session where I just cried and the counselor basically told me what I was feeling was normal and didn’t offer me any type of feedback. But I knew that I needed something more than that. Not just a crying session and a pat on my shoulder,” she told SurvivorNet in a previous interview. “What I have found is that it’s critical to find the right counselor, not just any counselor.”
Once she found a counselor she truly trusted, Guttenfelder began to see some clarity.
“One of the things that my counselor has taught me from the very beginning that has helped me is the concept of acceptance,” she says. “Acceptance is a process. It’s like downloading a computer file in increments. Visualizing it in that way has really helped me.”
Her therapist also taught her how to manage the people in her life. She decided to look into her relationship with her father, for example, because he was resistant to the idea of her receiving chemotherapy.
“It makes it more of an uphill battle and a challenge because we’ll sometimes get into arguments about it,” she says. “My counselor would say, for my own benefit and health that it’s best to limit the time with others who may not be lifting me up during my treatment.”
And know that it’s okay to express the negative emotions that come with a cancer battle. Anger, shame, fear, anxiety – they’re all to be expected. But how you handle all of the emotions that can come with a cancer journey is up to you.
Evelyn Reyes-Beato is a resilient woman who’s also had to deal with the complexity of emotions during her colon cancer journey. She comes from a culture where health issues and feelings aren’t normally talked about, but she found that expressing her emotional pain was a big factor in helping her overall physical health.
“You have to let it out,” Evelyn previously told SurvivorNet. “Your mental and your emotional help your physical get in line. If you keep all of the emotions in, the way I see it, is that stuff is going to eat you up inside and it’s not going to let you heal.”