At 17, my world was full of fishing, golf, and lacrosse. I spent my hours after school playing with friends on the field, fishing with my siblings and enjoying golf on the weekends. Cooking with my mom and taking care of my 3 siblings is a huge priority in our family. You can see me at church on Wednesday nights and jumping in the lake on the summer days. Now…its all changed.
I am now a WARRIOR. I am fighting for my life. I will win, but I need help. On June 18th, 2017 after 4 days of a migraine, I went into urgent care for help. Upon rushing by ambulance to the hospital, the news hit like a ton of bricks. “Internal bleeding, ulcer, low red blood cells” were the words surrounding my every thought. After 36 hours of blood transfusions and prayer, an ulcer was found. As they went in to repair the bleeding ulcer in my stomach, the doctors were concerned with tissue they had never seen before. You can imagine the horror and surprise when two doctors tell you in all their years they have never seen this before. We stood together, scared, but together.
Over the course of the next few days, news after news came. I was scared but had to stay strong. I fought hard to be brave, but the question, “would I die” kept surfacing in my thoughts. Then it happened. Every kids worse nightmare. Watching the expression on my mothers face as they told me what I had. It was an out of body experience that I can not put into words. GIST Tumors are so rare only 1 in a million teenagers get them. As our hearts sank, I stayed focused. My brain went into hyper drive. I was so scared I couldn’t talk, but I am a WARRIOR. My family has called me a WARRIOR since birth so it was quite fitting that we found “The Young and Brave.” God’s blessing.
Okay so I have cancer, its serious and has infected spots on my liver and my lymph nods are abnormal. Okay. I can do this. My mom crumbles inside but stays strong. She supports all four children with a smile on her face. While everyone is melting she keeps that strong Italian spirit and fights hard. Then we get the PET Scan results. The GIST Cancer has spread to cover my entire liver and the lymph nods all around. I still fight.
Taking chemo everyday for 3 years is more daunting that it sounds. Think about it, 3 years every single day, not one day off for 3 years. This will work, I will heal, I will survive this. I will beat this cancer, it does not have me. Heading home after 10 days in the hospital, with my chemo in hand, its called the “Bullet pill,” I face yet another mountain to climb. How will we afford to travel each week for a blood test so far? How will we afford to only eat protein, fruit and vegetables on such a tight budget? How will we do this?
Through the grace of God, we are strengthened. We will battle and fight. God is with me, I will not fail. I need help, we need help. I am scared but not because I have cancer. I am scared because Mom is only able to now work part time because she must manage my health and the diet that goes along with this chemo which is really strict.
At 17, I am not worried about my first date or the upcoming movie night with friends, but rather how we will afford the gas to travel to my blood test every week? We need warriors like you to help. We need help to fund the specialized diet to work with the chemo to heal my body, funds to offset the cost of bills so we can stay in our house and funds to help the medical and travel expenses we are now accruing. We need prayers for my health and the welfare of my family. We need to pray for all human race to stick together in peace in harmony. We need to change the face of cancer.
#lovebeatscancer I have GIST Cancer but GIST cancer will never have me, ever.