EDMOND, Oklahoma -- Journee Woodard, 11, went to the dentist for a routine visit and she is now likely very glad she did.
While sitting in the chair a hygienist named Rachel Stroble noticed something that didn’t look right reported KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City.
But Stroble wasn’t looking at Woodard’s teeth.
“She said you know, Journee’s eyes look yellow,” said Dr. Michael Chandler, Woodard’s dentist . “She asked me to take a look, I took a look and said that does look abnormal.”
Dr. Chandler told Woodard’s mom.
“We took her to the doctor for blood tests and an ultrasound, which then lead to both a CAT Scan and MRI the doctors found a mass on her liver and pancreas,” wrote the girl’s mother Anna Woodard in an online posting.
Within days of her dentist appointment, Woodard was admitted to the University of Oklahoma Childrens’ Hospital where she underwent emergency surgery to remove a grapefruit-sized tumor.
“Surgeons performed a "Whipple Procedure", a major operation that removed part of her pancreas, stomach, gall bladder and part of the intestine,” wrote Woodard’s mother.
Anna Woodard is crediting Dr. Chandler and his staff with saving her daughter’s life. But the dentist says he and his team were just being diligent and doing their jobs.
“I didn’t feel like there was anything I could do to help, which is one of the harder things,” said Dr. Chandler. “Journee’s mother has called the office a few times…she’s been very grateful, she’s posted it on social media.”
“It’s hard to feel like I’m a hero.”
Journee Woodard’s family set up an online fundraising page in an effort to help ease the family’s mounting financial burden.