Chrystal's Cancer Fund

What do you do when you find a lump in your neck?  You get yourself checked out!  What do you do if it's finals week and you're in nursing school? You put it on hold for a bit.

While sitting in nursing school in April, Chrystal felt a lump in her neck.  She decided to get it checked out after the semester was over.  June comes and like any person in the world would do she started to worry... Worry about what on earth the lump could be ("Surely, it could not be cancer" we thought!)  

What if it was?   How can she continue with schooling?  Her last semester of nursing school was upon her!  Anyone who has a nursing degree knows that it is no easy task... to come so close to something you are passionate about and see it slipping away was disheartening.  What about her family?  With two young children in school as well, their focus needs to remain on themselves and not their mother's health.  And lastly, how on earth could they pay for all the new medical bills?  In order to continue her schooling she was not working full time, thus she has no vacation time.  They were keeping their heads above water with her husband's income and her casual status income from the hospital.  So what do they do now?  No one prepared for cancer.  The savings was used to support the family through nursing school, with a plan to rebuild that after she was done with this upcoming semester.

Chrystal went to a local doctor on June 28th who set up an ultrasound of her neck.  The radiologist came into the ultrasound room and Chrystal knew there was something more to this lump.  The radiologist suggested a CT.  So, on the 3rd of July Chrystal had a CT scan.  During a recheck on the 5th, the local doctor said that it needed to be biopsied, but that they could not do it out here as the risk for bleeding was too great.  A referral was made to Oakdale ENT.  Chrystal went down to Plymouth and the ENT sent the reports on to a neurological radiologist  at North Memorial to look at it further to see if they could do anything.  Chrystal went to North Memorial on the 10th of July for a fine needle aspiration biopsy of the lump-8 needles in her neck.   Results were going to be available in 48-72 hours.  Well, on the 11th, 15 minutes before leaving for work, Chrystal got a  call from her ENT doctor.  This call was one Chrystal never thought she would get.  "Hello, Chrystal.  This is Dr. Williams.  I am sorry to have to tell you this, but the biopsy did come back saying that it is thyroid cancer."  Chrystal went to  work that evening and the next day went back to the ENT to set up surgery. 

Surgery was done on July 17th, with a total thyroidectomy and one lymph node removal as well.  The tumor was sitting in a spot that was pushing on her carotid artery.  Everything seemed to go well.....that is until she tried to talk.  Her vocal cords are currently paralyzed.  The doctor is not certain why they stopped working, but he is hopeful they will resume function eventually.

So here we are.... all these new medical bills and no way to pay them.  As Chrystal is not one to ask for help, she was contemplating postponing her last semester of school and working full time until some of these bills are paid.  BUT, I am not going to let her do that! For someone who is so willing to help others, and who has worked so hard to get where she is today I do NOT want this thing called CANCER to stop her from living her dreams.  She's going to make such a difference in the world as a nurse and now having this background she will bring more comfort to those in similar situations. 

She is a survivor! She felt something that was not normal and got it checked out as soon as she could!  Please help Chrystal with her medical expenses in any way you can.   Any little bit helps and, also, keep her and her family in your prayers!  Prayers to strengthen them and to let them know that they are not alone in this!

Thank you so much!


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Organizer and beneficiary

Emily Ann 
Stewart, MN
Chrystal Schauer Milbrandt 
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