Em's 2nd Battle with Leukemia

$13,853 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 165 people in 27 months
Emilia Kmiecik
on behalf of Emily Kmiecik
Emily’s Journey started when she was diagnosed in May of 2013 with Leukemia, but her story has taken a detour during her battle with cancer. 

In February 2017, Emily received yet another diagnosis to overcome.  The Leukemia spread throughout the central nervous system via her cerebral spinal fluid.  Emily started chemotherapy to beat this awful disease, so the journey continues. 

Emily's story of her battle with cancer, and the obstacles that she has overcome despite this awful disease, is an inspiration to everyone.  During her 1st battle with cancer she obtained her GED to help her pave the road for her bright future.  In December of 2015 Emily was accepted to a prestigious and very difficult nursing program at Harper College.  She instantly rose to the challenge and became a very successful student.  Until her recent diagnosis she managed the many demands of being a nursing student all the while getting monthly chemotherapy treatments, spinal taps, rigorous medication compliance, and doctors’ visits.  She still has a very bright future, and because of her experiences it will make her an exceptional nurse someday.

Emily has a small window of time to preserve a part of her future.  Emily desperately wants to be a mother some day in the future.  Unfortunately, because of the chemotherapy treatment, her chances of fulfilling this dream will be a challenge.  She has been given the opportunity to preserve some of her eggs to use in the future when she beats cancer again. 

Unfortunately, insurance will not help with this added expense and the fulfillment of this dream.  So, we need your assistance in helping Emily reach her dream of mother-hood.  Most of the money given via GoFundMe page will go to aid in the process of helping Emily preserve her eggs for later use to become a mother, as well as  other medical expenses that her insurance is not covering and bills she can no longer pay because she’s out of work.

Let’s help Emily reach her dreams and give her the support she needs to beat Cancer again and alll the hardships that come with it and come out even stronger than she already is.  Your help is very much appreciated, and there are not enough words to thank each and every donation that is made for this very special woman. 

Because she wasn't responding to Chemotherapy, Emily had an option to participate in a CAR-T trial at the University of Chicago under the care of Dr. Wendy Stock. She accepted the trial which was very excrutiating and left her in the ICU for weeks.. however, it worked despite how rough it was...i.e. memory loss, tremors, seizures; all caused from the trial which ultimately let her go on to have a Bone Marrow Transplant.
The bone marrow transplant was also a huge struggle but luckily Emily did not have too hard of a problem finding an unrelated donor. 

Since Emily and her fiancé are now down to one income the bills are tighter than ever...because recovery from a transplant like this, Emily won’t be able to return to work for at least a year and her and her Fiancé are at risk of losing everything, already gaining a quickly increasing debt.

There’s a reason people say paying for cancer and your lifestyle (rent, bills,cellphones) is more stressful than the actual cancer itself. Emily has never cared about how much money she has but right now without it she's at risk of losing a lot.  Her parents have been huge pillars in her life, but at 27 she has to be able to be independent so they can enjoy their retirement and move on to somewhere beautiful without cold winters like theyve been dreaming about...

Follow this link to hear Emily's story from her, and her journey in pursuing a nursing career to help others that are battling cancer themselves.

  From Lost to Found Emily's story
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Hey guys!

I just got done doing and Adventure Based therapy program in Asheville, NC for 3 months, no phone, makeup, just the basics. It’s one of the best things I’ve done.

Health wish things have been pretty steady. I need a lot of surgery soon to repair some of the scar tissue and damage from chemo and radiation on my reproductive organs so that I can have IVF. I’m worried because it’s very invasive, painful surgery with a lot of recovery time and the worst part is insurance doesn’t cover a lot of it because IVF is not covered but without it I won’t be able to have children. I am really in my head about it because I worry that it won’t work.

On the nursing front, I wanted to go back last semester but I couldn’t because I was too fresh from my transplant and since I had to take a lot of time off I’ll probably have to re do a lot of schooling, unfortunate because I was a semester away from graduating.

I’m currently living in Chicago at another therapy based residence. I moved in two days ago and I feel out of me element especially because I cannot have my beloved Bella here with me.

I am focusing on being in the present moment, working through a lot of trauma but I am hopeful for the future.

Thanks for all of your continued support. I couldn’t have done any of this without you
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On the Cancer side, things are looking really good. I am still having a lot of complications, gastrointestinal issues, sleep issues, physical issues, and a slew of mental health problems. Chemo brain (which is a thing! and can last years post chemo) has changed a lot of me. Not only am I more forgetful, I feel like my passion for life has been numbed a bit. My anxiety of a re-occurrence is unbearable I have heard of so many friends (on cancer support pages) who have made it out of the trenches and then relapse years later, sometimes for the third time and at that point, there really is not anything that can be done. My adrenal glands (the glands that produce cortisol and lie on top of your kidneys) have not been functioning properly which causes extreme fatigue (like sleeping 18 hours and still being exhausted), depression,
pain, etc. They are still trying to figure out what is wrong, I've been taking basically a supplement for cortisol and at first it seemed to be helping but lately, the tiredness and muscle aches have begun again.

They want to check a few cysts that have been painful and biopsy them because it is very common for one cancer to lead to another, especially since I had total body radiation. I have another ultrasound scheduled in a few weeks.

Despite all the health drama (which is nothing compared to what I was going through before, so for that, I am very grateful) I am going to school still and Physical Therapy in between panic attacks and depression. I look outside at this beautiful 52 degree day and I find it hard to be happy. That makes me feel so guilty. What is wrong with me?? I look at friends my age who have degrees, are already having children, or have a number of children, own houses, getting married, etc. because they had all of their 20s to accomplish so much and then I look at my twenties and since I was 22 I have been in and out of hospitals. Not to say I am not happy for them, it is just a hard pill to swallow. I had a little over a year break in there where I was happier than ever and I recovered so much quicker and was able to go back to waitressing. I never for one second thought my diagnosis would come back. I pray that this is all one big lesson and one day I can use what I learned to impact lives. But for now, I feel uninspirational and drained of my creativity.

I remember I used to post GoFundMe pages that were funny and intuitive and I would have people tell me "you need to be a writer!" but now they come out so lame and depressing. I'm sorry if you're even still reading this. I really need to have passion again, that burning fire I felt every morning that gave me the desire to jump out of bed and start my day. Always smiling. Always joking.... I pray that girl will be here again because I miss her a lot..

My whole life I took for granted how privileged I am. Now as a 27-year-old two-time cancer patient I realize that I would not be here without those who stayed at my hospital bed; picked up the slack when I needed it, taught me hard lessons because they loved me and still loved me when I was frustrated and took it out on them.

I've also never known what is was like to struggle, which I am definitely learning now. I know my family would never let me end up on the streets, but at the same time, there is only so much I can ask for them. Before cancer happened and I was a waitress I was able to make great money and life was amazing. When I left the hospital my fiancé and I decided we should live together. I had no idea how hard it would be to live with only one income and two people, despite living on my own when I was 21 and waitressing. It's hard pursuing my passion (school and nursing), going to hospital visits and physical therapy, as well as regular therapy while my fiance has to do the rest on his own. I feel guilty like I cannot hold my end of the bargain when in reality it is no one's fault. If it was not for everyone who has donated and continued to donate, the medical bills and IVF bills would not be paid and we would be in a further black hole than it feels like now. Sure, I could always go back to my parents house but that would mean leaving the one I love behind and I could never do that because to me he is family and I could not follow my passion knowing that I let down someone who stuck by me through months of agony at the hospital and called me beautiful when I was far from it... trust me, far from it. Right now life is giving us more than a handful of stress. I had ignorantly assumed that after the bone marrow transplant I'd be back on my feet waitressing in no time.. Unfortunately that is not the case because I still have trouble balancing, etc. Finding a job has been hard because most of the jobs I'm looking at want full-time positions which I cannot offer.

I'm not trying to say "woe is me" for I am blessed beyond words. I have people who love me I am still alive and I am doing very well in school, but how does one ever go a day truly happy when in the back of their mind they worry about not providing enough for their family who was giving them all they can give? My parents can't pay for everything ie rent, phone, internet, insurance, etc. in fact I dont expect them paying for ANY of that. I am 27 and should be able to provide for myself and I've reached a roadblock. Somedays I blame it on cancer, other days I feel like I am not trying hard enough. Other days I feel like I should quit school and work full-time until I can start saving money and paying all our bills.

So I would like some advice for anyone who has suffered like this and how they got out of the tough times.

With that I will go back to my homework and drink my coffee and pray for better days in the future.
Thanks for reading. I've kind of made this page my diary, but one thing I have never lost is my openness and I better get used to it now if I am going to publish a book one day, right?

PS that awful picture is from September... only 6 months ago. About 50 pounds heavier, in so much agony I didn't think anything was possible. I did think things would be easier once I left that hospital room, and although they are still rough I am grateful every time I see the progress i ahve made.
Look at the progress I've made. thankful
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Life has been one stressor after another. Good mews is I’m finally starting to get over the flu. Also. With the help of my dads sales knowledge we used the insurance money to buy a new car. Its so cute!

Unfortunately. I am not allowed to use it yet which has put a big strain on our money situation as both me and Jason need to find jobs, or in Jays case a better job. We aren’t even making it paycheck to paycheck these days. I have $600 to contribute per month and that covers bills and that’s it. I’m trying to keep my head above water but I feel like I’m drowning. Had I not had cancer twice in my 20s, I could have my career now, or at least waitressing still and this wouldn’t be a problem. When I got engaged a year ago I was on top of the world not anticipating the battle in front of me. now marriage is the last priority as we are just trying not to live on the streets at this point.

I’ve realized I need to grow more. I’m 27 but never had the opportunity that most young adults have; finishing college, going out, making money. Instead I had cancer twice, unable to make money, completely reliant on others... I feel like I was never able to grow and to mature into my own person. It’s hard, too, at this stage because people think you’re 100% again but I’m still recovering. I know people who are years out and still mentally recovering and dealing with a whole decade they missed out on because of this whole disease. At the rate we are going I may never be able to afford a house let alone kids unless some miracle happens.

I understand money issues now and how so many people have to live.

Anyone know of any secretary jobs open for me? I’m very responsible and healthy enough to be able to preform the needed tasks just message me on fb it would make a world of difference.

I just want to have a week where I feel carefree and happy not worrying about life and bills and my health and being a burden and not being able to afford having children.... I know this is life but I am starting to lose faith.

Mi want my next update to be happy but I feel like happiness is so far away. I’m so grateful I’m alive but what’s the point of I’m stressed out and worry allll the time ??

Thanks for listening to me ramble I just need to get it out and my therapist is gone this week hahaha
I don’t ever forget, won’t ever forget, all the support I have received it is truly humbling and overwhelming

Xoxo Emily
If I could afford a tattoo
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It’s been awhile since I posted bc life has been crazy and I was hesitant to share anything. Lately my life has been when one door opens another closes I got a babysitting job and the next day I got in a car accident. I was in a left turn lane and the older gentleman thought he was going straight... so when the left arrow turned green he was looking at the straight lights which were still red and slammed on his breaks. Obviously I saw the green arrow and assumed he wouldn’t stop so I slammed on my breaks and hit him. His car was absolutely fine bc he has an SUV and my poor lil Ford Focus needed to be towed. It’s not totaled but it’s going to be weeks before we get it back. I’m pretty sure I will lose my babysitting job because I’ll have to über which I can’t afford. And I can uber the kids anywhere if they need to go somewhere. Because of the crash Jason has to take a leave of absence because he doesn’t have reliable transportation... my car was our only vehicle also he works til 3am and Uber has will make us lose our rent money. I have no idea how we are going to be able to get by. I just hope our landlord will give us a break.

Good News is that I started school again and it was a really good day. Also I had an awesome trip to Cleveland in December with my best friend to see our favorite band,Chimaira’s, reunion concert. Chimaira Christmas ! It was a great trip, concert kinda killed my body for a few days but it was So worth it! Amazing. Sounded the same. Had the time of my life. Got to visit Rachels grandmother who was one of the most interesting and inspiring, beautiful people I have met. Unfortunately she passed two days later which really broke my heart even though I only met her that one time. She was just one of those people. I know she passed peacefully and my heart goes out to the Hogan family. May she Rest In Peace.

Other bad news is I had PT after school (I love PT) however. I learned Medicare coverage for PT is almost over and I just feel like I’m starting to see a ton of improvement... I’m just starting to get good at walking up stairs (with a railing) and my body is only at about 50-60% what it could be at physically.

It’s just been really stressful. I’m over 100 days post transplant and was really excited about life and now all these obstacles pop up right when life felt comfortable again. My body was acting weird so my Dr put me on a gluten free/dairy free diet which I wouldn’t be able to do without my mamas help. Gf/lactose free is hard and expensive.... I feel like I’m always hungry and I miss sweets even though I never was a big sweets person....
Depression finally was lifted. But it is pretty hard to fight it now. I just need life to be easier at LEAST for a few months...... please? SUCH IS LIFE. Ughhh

Sorry I’m just venting! I do love my life. I’m grateful every day I wake up. Right now my bone marrow is 95% donor cells which is really good! I have parents and best friends who support me (Rachel)... and I’m alive. Just so stressed out and worried. But I will make it and become stronger. #staybrutal #survivor
#wecandothis #thestruggleisreal
Thanks for everyone’s support, love and good vibes. I truly appreciate everything. Much Love
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$13,853 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 165 people in 27 months
Created February 10, 2017
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mary justus
3 months ago

You will succeed Emily! I admire your spirit, courage, and determination. Sending you so much love!

Jennifer Zirngibl
10 months ago
14 months ago
14 months ago
Courtney Novotny
14 months ago
Elena Coughlin
16 months ago

Thinking of you, Emily ♥

16 months ago
17 months ago
Cliff & Diane Higley
18 months ago
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