In 2011, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer called Leiomysarcoma. It's a form of soft-tissue sarcoma, a cancer that only accounts for around 1 percent of all cancers, with leiomyosarcoma accounting for less than 10 percent of that 1 percent. Unfortuntately, the survival rate of her cancer beyond five years is just as rare as the cancer itself. Because of its rarity, my mother-in-law's cancer does not receive the funds it needs to be studied like other more common cancers - no one knows the cause and no one knows of a treatment. But even when given such an awful diagnosis and a poor outlook, Linda kept her faith and was determined to beat it.
And that is exactly what she is doing - she is beating her cancer and she is doing it as gracefully as one can only hope, and she has remained just as selfless as she was before she was diagnosed. Always wondering what she can do for you, helping at the church, taking care of her aging father and being an amazing hands-on Grandmother that is loved and adored by her two (soon to be three) grandchildren, ages four and two.
It doesn't seem that impressive, keeping a positive attitude, at least until you know what Linda went through to battle her cancer head on. Her treatment began with a full hysterectomy, and with the tumor and her uterus removed, the hope was that Linda was cured. But scans showed otherwise, and with the cancer having spread to her lungs, the first line of defense was an intensive 8-week round of chemotherapy. While she remained the same person on the inside, my mother-in-law changed dramatically on the outside. She lost her hair, she lost a tremendous amount of weight and was nauseous on a regular basis.
Six months later, her scans showed only minor spots left on her lungs, leaving her feeling as if she was no longer battling cancer and that she had it beat. And so my mother-in-law was on a mission, telling other woman, not just with her type of cancer but will all cancers, that they can beat it... that there was hope regardless of their diagnosis.. to hold on, to have faith and never give up. She shared her money, she shared her time and she shared her joy of being a cancer survivor.
Come to the present day, and my mother-in-law recently went in for her latest scans where she received the news that the spots on her lungs had grown. A week later and she was in for surgery - a very successful surgery where the tumors were removed. It was during this hospital stay that my four year old son had a very heartfelt conversation with his grandma about her cancer. Quoting from one of his favorite movies, Wreck it Ralph, his advice, "Wreck it!". And "wreck it" she did. Despite all odds being against her, she's recovered from her latest surgery and she's once again beating her cancer. She always tells everyone she's not surviving, she's living, and it's evidenced by the fact she's the same wonderful person she's always been.
Unfortunately, her treatment has come at a very high price. Even with insurance, Linda's medical bills were over $40,000 for her first sets of treatment and the latest round of treatment has so far come in at $20,000 with more bills on their way. Additionally, it's our hope that we can send Linda to one of the few cancer centers that specialize in Leiomysarcoma, where she can receive access to more specialized care for both monitoring and any future treatments
I am asking and pleading with you to help my mother-in-law, not just to help minimize her bills, but also to help minimize her stress level so that she can continue being the same joyful and loving grandmother and friend that she's always been. Help her to afford her everyday necessities that we so often take for granted, and maybe even enjoy a luxury now and then that she otherwise wouldn't be able to. For all the good that she has given the world, I pray that it will come back to her so that she can experience the same kindness that she has shown so many others.
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