Help Maria Beat Cancer

UPDATE!!



On October 3 I had my first operation to remove the tumor from my arm that had at that point grown out of the biopsy scar and was visible on the outside of the skin. About 6 inches in circumference. That went well. The next day I had reconstruction. They took my latissimus Dorsi flap from my back and left all the nerves and tendons connected to the muscle and basically flipped it over to go down my arm. I have a scar from the middle of the side of my back down my arm to my elbow where the tumor was removed. And I had skin grafts taken from my left thigh to cover the site. After a few days in the hospital i was sick and developing a fever and we noticed a foul smell coming from my arm. The plastic surgery team came in and removed the wound vac and upon taking it off they immediately knew the muscle had died and the area around was infected. The very next morning I went into surgery again and they removed the muscle and skin grafts. Leaving me without a muscle and wasted skin grafts. Within the next two weeks I had 4 more smaller operations to clean the site and the surgeons put a bio synthetic material where the muscle should have been called integra. It has grown into my 1 1/2 inch by 6 inch wide indentation in my arm and will continue to grown until it completely looks flat and the large indent is gone. On November 8 I will have more skin grafts to cover. I spent 22 days in the hospital under great care of all the nurses and doctors at UCSD. I got out on October 24. Since then I have been wearing a wound vac and I have a picc line in my right arm ( a constant IV that does not need to be removed) that is attached to antibiotic. I can't move my arm very well due to the fact that my muscle is gone in my back as well as part of my arm where the cancer was. I work on the movement of my arm hand and fingers everyday by doing various exercises. 

When all the surgeries are done and I am healed I will be doing chemotherapy. Not sure about more radiation yet but that was what was planned but I'm not sure because of the chemo now. 



Maria Federiconi is a 22 year old girl who is working part time to make her way through college.  She was diagnosed with spindle cell sarcoma in June 2012.  She has been accruing a lot of hospital bills over the last few months and they will only continue to add up from here on out.  She has been going to radiation over the last few months in order to shrink this tumor on her arm that the cancer created.  She will go into surgery shortly to remove the tumor snd she will be in the hospital about a week. She has worked as a waitress for all of her professional working career and the tumor she has makes it unsafe to work in the food industry.  She is the most fun and outgoing person any one has ever met, with the cancer taking most of her energy lately it has been hard for her to be here lively self. Please help donate anything you can to help ease her recovery process and in the long run make it so she will not go into debt with the prices of medical coverage these days.  

 

Maria's Story:

I noticed a small bump near my elbow around February. Since February the bump continued to grow. Because of the fact that I live on my own and work 2 jobs to pay my way through school and bills, I had no insurance. Right after I quit one of my jobs, due to the fact that I was so stressed out and exhausted (the cancer turned out to be the culprit of the stress and exhaustion) I never thought the results would turn out to be what they were. I had a biopsy done on June 8th after my friends and family practically begged me to go see a doctor. Less than a week later I received a phone call telling me the news of my biopsy. The results were a rare form of cancer called Spindle Cell Sarcoma.
Spindle cell sarcoma is a type of connective tissue cancer. The tumors generally begin in layers of connective tissue such as that under the skin, between muscles, and surrounding organs, and will generally start as a small lump with inflammation that grows.
Spindle cell sarcoma can develop for a variety of reasons, including genetic predisposition but it also may be caused by a combination of other factors including injury and inflammation in patients that are already thought to be predisposed to such tumors.
We don't know why or how this tumor started. I am athletic and I love trying new things so I started mountain biking in January. I had a pretty big fall down a rocky hill one day while riding. I had a few cuts and bruises. One large scrape on my elbow. We think that may have something to do with it. Spindle cells are a naturally occurring part of the body's response to injury. In response to an injury, infection, or other immune response the connective tissues will begin dividing to heal the affected area, and if the tissue is predisposed to spindle cell cancer the high cellular turnover may result in a few becoming cancerous and forming a tumor.
Since then I have gone through a whirlwind of problems trying to get insurance and get everything taken care of as fast as possible. My first consultation with a doctor out of UCSD Medical Center at the Moore's Cancer Center, was $550 to talk to a doctor for less than 5 minutes. That same day I had lab work done. Two weeks later I received another bill for $378, for the lab work. After two months of almost begging on my hands and knees, and crying in chairs of social workers, and being denied insurance benefits, I finally received insurance, which is helpful but does not cover the cost of all of my bills. No doctors would even schedule me an appointment without insurance. In those two months I did not have insurance or the money to see a doctor the tumor grew from the size of a golf ball, to the size of a baseball. I was ordered to do all kinds of tests. The results proved mostly good. My cancer has not spread to my organs or to the bone. Although the tumor has invaded part of the muscle in my arm. The cancer itself is in stage 3, and is extremely aggressive. I am very lucky, because I could have lost my arm. You would never think that this would be so difficult but, on a daily basis I have to wrap my arm in gauze and medical tape and changed about 2 times a day, which I have learned to do all by myself one handed because I am mostly always at home just by myself. The size of the tumor makes it impossible to wear long sleeze shirts, sweaters, or anything that is tight on my elbow area.  I have been going to radiation therapy for the past 25 days (Monday through Friday). My last day of radiation is September 27th. After surgery I will receive more radiation to make sure everything is good.
My surgery is scheduled for October 3rd. The first surgery will be the extraction of the tumor, part of the muscle and surrounding tissue that could possibly still have cancer remnants.
I will be in the hospital under observation for a number of days until the 2nd surgery. The 2nd surgery will be the reconstruction of my arm. I am having skin grafts taken from my thigh and larger sections of skin and fat from my back to cover up the open wound of skin that was affected by the cancer.
Through this entire time I have remained positive and hopeful that I will be healthy in time. My family and friends have also been great factors in keeping me in good spirits. This is just a bump in the road for me and I know that I have a long prosperous life and I thank everyone for donating. All the money we receive will go to help pay for my medical bills
And anything left I would be honored to donate to cancer research.
Cancer is a devastating disease and together we can all help to find a cure!
Thank you everyone! Any questions or comments I would be happy to answer.
My email is: [email redacted]

 

This is a picture from about 2 months ago. You can see the progression of the tumor since the day of the biopsy(top left corner), to what it was about a month later. Since then the tumor has grown aggressivley and I don't want to post any gory pictures of what it looks like now.

Click here to view the picture

 

I will continue to update this page everytime I have something new to share :)

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