Nicole’s Journey

Hi everyone. Thank you for taking time to read my story and possibly donate. I entitled the campaign “Nicole’s Journey” because throughout the last year I have learned more about myself and about others than in my previous 35 years. This journey has brought so many wonderful people into my life and has taught me the value of what is truly important. My parents and my son have also been on this journey with me and if not for them I feel like I would have given up many times. Here is the background of my story:In February 2017 I began getting sick. I was initially diagnosed with pneumonia and a systemic infection that left me in the intensive care unit for two weeks and on a ventilator. The doctors could not figure out how a previously healthy 35-year-old woman became so ill with pneumonia and sepsis.The doctors believed I had an autoimmune disorder until other symptoms appeared in early May 2017. I began to feel short of breath, loss of appetite, weight loss, fast heartbeat and extreme fatigue and pain.By the time I arrived at the emergency room in mid May 2017 I was already in heart failure and the medical team also discovered that I had multiple myeloma which is a plasma cell cancer of the bone. They discovered that the heart failure was related to a sister condition of multiple myeloma called cardiac amlydosis. Since February 2017 I have been hospitalized for approximately 55 days most of the time spent in the intensive care unit. Three of my hospitalizations were related to cardiogenic shock and by August 2017 I required constant IV medications to sustain my heart. I have had a home pump and IV medications since that time. I was told in July 2017 that I had approximately four months to live.I started chemotherapy in June 2017 and have completed seven cycles so far of chemotherapy although it has been extremely difficult due to my heart failure.I did not have much hope of recovery or long term survivability until I heard of a protocol at Vanderbilt University in Nashville Tennessee that is willing to perform heart transplants on patients with cancer.I am currently in the hospital at Vanderbilt University awaiting word on whether they will place me on the heart transplant list.The expenses related to my medical treatment over the last year has been significant. In addition, the expense to travel to Vanderbilt University for me and my family has also been costly. If I am placed on the heart transplant list my family and I will need to relocate to TN temporarily while awaiting a heart. We will then need to live in Nashville for several months after transplant due to the extensive medical care after that I will need to undergo. In addition, my insurance has a large deductible. Thank you so much for reading. I am so appreciative of the love and support I have received from family, friends, my medical team and strangers.


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Nicole Lalonde 
Farmington Hills, MI
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