Meet my best friend, Elizabeth (McCollum) Burnett! She is the strongest woman I have ever been blessed to know and love.
Elizabeth was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma (bone cancer) in 2008 after a biopsy was done on a softball sized tumor found on her spine. She was a sophomore in college, studying to be a teacher. (This photo was taken about 3 months before the diagnosis)
She underwent an invasive 6 hour back surgery to remove the tumor. They had to also remove sections of 3 ribs and placed 2 metal rods to replace the missing bone. She spent that year enduring aggressive chemotherapy and radiation.
(Still as sassy as ever in her beautiful wig)
In summer 2010 at Relay for Life (just months of new hair!)
Fall of 2010 she met her husband (cancer free for ONE year!)
Spring 2011 they were married!
After an amazing first year of marriage and being a junior in college... The news came that the cancer had come back in 2012.
She underwent an intense 8 hour back surgery. They removed the second tumor and all the bone around her spinal cord and implanted a cage for stability. While in recovery from the surgery, she went on life support from aspiration. She spent 2 days on life support and a total of 47 days in the hospital.
(First day home after the long, horrible hospital stay)
She recovered amazingly after this time, had a really amazing year, and finally made it to her senior year of college (but decided to switch her major to social work, hoping to work with oncology patients)
Elizabeth and her sister Gabrielle
Then in fall of 2013..... We received the heart wrenching news that the cancer had returned... Again. Round 3 has proved to be the fight of her life .. When the drs found this tumor, they also found that the cancer had spread to her lungs.
With only a 10% chance of being beneficial, She began chemotherapy for the second time. (First day of chemo)
She had to take a break from her senior year of college.
And she became very sick from the chemo, so they stopped the treatment. It was then that we were told that the doctors don't have any other treatment options....
Her metal rods broke in her back and had to be replaced.. And shortly after, Elizabeth began to lose the use her legs.
She is making it through this with the support of her family, friends, and her sweet rescue dogs.
Now Elizabeth is paralyzed from the waist down and fighting excruciating pain from the large tumor on her spine. She was attempting to manage the pain with very strong pain medications that were causing her to be groggy and asleep most of the time. On top of missing out on so much, they were no longer controlling the pain. After begging the doctors to help her get her life back, they did a surgery to implant an internal pain pump. Due to an infection, the pain pump had to be removed. We aren't sure what will happen from here, but we know she needs prayers and support.
Elizabeth and her husband, James, also need financial help to balance the costs of medical equipment, bills from being unable to work, and making her home and life wheelchair accessible.
prayers are always appreciated.
you are also invited to follow her Facebook page
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