Stomach-less sisters: Why two women decided they could do without
It's been just over a year since Jessica Sasser's life-changing surgery.
"They just completely removed the stomach, pulled the esophagus down and attached it to the small intestine," said Sasser.
It wasn't her first choice, but after learning the breast cancer that took her mom when she only ten was genetic, she did some testing.
Sasser and her sister found out they had a genetic mutation that put them at risk for a very rare stomach cancer.
"[It's] called Hereditary Diffused Gastric Cancer and my percentage chance of getting that cancer was 83," said Sasser.
She and her sister made the choice to remove their stomachs together.
Jessica says one of the deciding factors for her was remembering what it was like growing up without her mother.
"You're marked for cancer, it's coming for you and all I could think about was, I cannot let Andy go through that. I can't let him be alone at graduation. I cant let him be at his wedding and just in the back of his mind be thinking I wish my mom were here. And that's when I was like I've got to do whatever they tell me to do," said Sasser.
When they removed her stomach, they found stage 1 cancer.
Now, she is free from that burden; her sister has already taken steps to prevent breast cancer from spreading, and Sasser is considering the same.
"I'm going to meet with a surgeon in a couple weeks and just see if that's the path I want to go ahead and go down too," said Sasser.
As far as eating, that's pretty normal, only they eat smaller amounts and have to chew the food really well before swallowing.
Sasser and her sister run a blog called The Stomachless Sisters to raise awareness, especially since this genetic mutation has a 50-50 chance of finding a victim.
"Most people don't know you can get tested for these things. It's not out of the ordinary and for him specifically with CDH1, I want science to have moved so far forward in this time that this seems barbaric, that having a gastrectomy is like the last thing that he has to do," said Sasser.