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(WXYZ) - Joanne Kock has worked hard her entire life, rarely even taking a sick day.
So when cancer came knocking, it was a surprise but one she tackled with courage and a plan to beat it head on.
If you sit and talk to Joanne Kock, she is a bundle of joy. She launched her own medical billing company 30 years ago in Royal oak and with 25 employees, has enjoyed quite a run of success with her work, always the top priority.
Then, this January while relaxing at her cottage she was stopped in her tracks.
"I've never taken a nap in my life," said Joanne. "I never had a headache in my life-- that weekend I had a crushing, crushing headache."
The pain was so severe, she thought she had a major sinus infection.
She had a specialized MRI, which uncovered-- not one, but two spots on her lungs plus a tumor the size of a walnut in the front of her brain and four smaller lesions on the back of her brain.
"I was upset," said Joanne. "I mean I had smoked for 40 years, it finally caught up with me and I quit that day."
Joanne told us with whole brain radiation, her options were over. If the cancer came back in that location, there was nothing doctors could do. Instead, her tumor was removed from the front of her brain. The others were destroyed individually.
She has now finished her chemo and radiation treatment.
Dr. Ryan Barrett, a neurosurgeon at Saint John Providence performed Joanne's surgery. He says patients with cancers that have spread and are in the 4th stage are no longer always facing a death sentence.
It's now considered living with a chronic disease.
Dr. Barret says this is not a cure for her cancer, but she won't die from the brain tumor and her agonizing headaches are gone-- plus she's back at work with a bright look at the future.