I’ve been friends with Michelle since her junior year of high school at OCHS. We spent several summers as staff at Singing Hills Girl Scout Camp where we lived in a little cabin in the woods – and we’ve been besties ever since!
Michelle discovered a tumor in her breast on 2/14/2002. She had surgery to remove the tumor and several lymph nodes. The tumor was cancerous, but the pathology report came back and said that the lymph nodes were negative for cancer cells. Great news…or so we thought. Michelle received chemotherapy and radiation and was declared cancer free!
Fast forward 13 years. Michelle began to have problems with back pain, kidney pain, and several infections. Many tests were performed, and it was determined that she needed to have her right kidney removed. It was removed and the pain was gone and she was healing quite well…so, imagine her surprise when the surgeon called 10 days later to tell her that the pathology report from her kidney came back and it showed cancer cells – the very cancer cells from her bout with breast cancer in 2002! Michelle was diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer. Cancers cells were also found in three ribs and 2 vertebrae in her spine, but she was very thankful that no organs were involved.
She was started on a Line 1 of treatment at the Cancer Treatment Center of America and the treatments were successful for the first five years. However, in April of 2020, Michelle began to experience pain and weakness in her upper right leg and one day almost fell to the ground when she stood up. After two days of testing, the oncologist told Michelle that she had a large tumor in her left leg and another large tumor in the neck of her right femur.
The next series of events seem a blur as I type this narrative…and I am sure that it was even worse for Michelle. She had to have immediate surgery to totally replace her hip. One short week later, she endured five days of radiation treatment to both legs. Two days after surgery, she developed a pleural effusion in her right lung and a blood clot in her left lung and was hospitalized for 2 days. Unbelievably, she went trough a Thoracentesis to drain the fluid that was causing so much pain and shortness of breath. Thinking the worst was over, Michelle went home only to experience severe inner mouth bleeding and she ended up in the ER. It was determined that she had yet another pleural effusion and had to be transferred to another hospital where another Thoracentesis was performed, and a pleural drain was surgically inserted into her lung. Michelle was finally able to go home…but so much had changed and she found that she needed much more assistance than before with preparing meals, shopping for groceries, bathing/showering, and cleaning. As she was healing and recovering, she suffered another fall and this fall really set her back.
And…. that’s where WE, Michelle’s family & friends, come in! Michelle is no longer able to independently enter and exit her stand-up shower. In addition, she no longer has the strength and stamina to stand in the shower and it’s difficult to utilize the small corner seat. The shower and the bathroom do not have grab bars and is not safe. Michelle is constantly in fear of falling and causing more injuries.
So, what can we do? We can donate to her Go Fund Me campaign. The goal for this campaign is $15,000. With the money raised, Michelle can afford to have a walk-in bathtub installed at home. She can also have the necessary grab bars and safety equipment installed around the home. And, if we raise enough money, a ramp will be built from her driveway area to the house so she can safely enter and exit for doctor’s appointments or just to get out of the house.
Please consider donating what you can. Michelle wholeheartedly appreciates all the support she has received thus far with donations, cards, gifts, visits, and care. I had to ask Michelle 3 or 4 times to “allow” me to launch this Go Fund Me campaign for her. Let’s show her even more support! Michelle truly is my HERO and she has faced what life has thrown at her with determination, style, class, grit, bravery, decisiveness, resolve, love, courage, dignity, and selflessness! That’s MY bestie! She’s the Thelma to my Louise!
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