Kris Molnar – Head and Neck Cancer Survivorship Clinic Patient Story

Kris Molnar

After returning from a trip to France, Kris Molnar, an Executive Director for a non-profit in Wheeling, WV, went to the hospital with an extremely swollen face. After an MRI, a local physician diagnosed Kris with a benign tumor on the vagus nerve. Unfortunately, when surgeons got her in the operating room, they discovered it was cancer. Kris went back to her otolaryngologist and asked for a referral, as she was originally misdiagnosed, and she was referred to Jonas Johnson, MD.

“We talked about a lot of things when we first met, she said. [Dr. Johnson] impressed me with how quickly things happened.”

That same day, Kris met with medical and radiation oncology. She decided that they had one shot, and she would do whatever it took, and she did – Kris underwent a clinical trial regimen that combined chemo and radiation.

Although she suffered many side effects such as weight and hair loss, Kris completed treatment and is currently 14 years cancer-free. She continues to see Dr. Johnson and his team through the Head and Neck Cancer Survivorship Clinic, for which she is extremely grateful for.

“I’ve gone through physical therapy and got my mouth to open much wider than before, I’ve had hearing tests, addressed my sleep problems, and saw the dentist. I have learned a lot of things that have helped me since I first started as a patient in the clinic.”

One of the most beneficial aspects of the clinic for Kris was the support she received.

“The process is strange, and you don’t know what’s normal. The Survivorship Clinic helps facilitate discussion about what you’re going through,” she said. “Dr. Johnson and Marci make you feel like you’ve known each other for years, and they truly listen to you.”

Today, Kris is living a fulfilling live with her husband, spending time with horses, volunteering, and traveling.

Kris’s advice to future head and neck cancer patients and survivors is to take advantage of every opportunity, and always remain positive. “Step through it with grit, knowing life will be better on the other end.”