Courtney's Fight

Hey everyone,
My name is Courtney. I am a mother of 2 wonderful boys. Brayden who is 10 and autistic and Cael (pronounced Kale) who is 5. I have been married to my amazing, wonderful, supportive husband Robert for 12 going on 13 years in March of 2018. This all started around the end of July 2017. I had a sore throat for about 24 hours and all of a sudden had this lump which I thought was just a enlarged lymph node on my left side of my neck. This was an extremely unusual symptom for me. I made a Doc. Appointment on July 26th and went in for a exam. The initial doctor told me that it was normal to have an enlarged lymph node if I was fighting off an infection or virus. He went ahead and gave me a script for a zpack and sent me on my way. I finished that round of antibiotics and still had the lump. I then got sick with a really bad intestinal virus which required another script for some stronger antibiotics. The lump was still there. I felt okay, just had this weird lump or enlarged node that appeared to be getting slightly larger. I went in for another appointment and was told that yes... this should not still be enlarged. They ran some blood tests and my workup did come back abnormal for a autoimmune disorder of some kind. Everything else appeared normal. I was sent in for a ultrasound of my neck and those results came back as "inconclusive". Hmmm... again strange. After that, they ordered CT scan with contrast. That did come back showing more than 1 lump which they were now referring to as a "tumor". Yikes!
I was then referred to a ENT. (Ear, Nose, and Throat Doc.) To review the scan and do a FNB (fine needle biopsy) in the office. He discussed my scans with me and did the in office biopsy. He told me that I would get 1 of 3 answers back. 1 would be that the results would once again be inconclusive because they couldn't get very much tissue from the tumor just through a tiny needle. 2 would be that it's a infection that formed a couple of masses and I would have to see a infectious disease doctor and do more blood work to find out what kind of infection and then do IV antibiotics through multiple visits. 3 would be that it looks like cancer and will need to do a full in hospital day surgery biopsy to get a chunk out of what he though was the main tumor that was where my tonsils used to be and test it. Well, turns out it was answer 1. Not enough tissue to tell. So he just went ahead and referred me to the ENT specialist at Baylor Dallas that mainly does surgery and specializes in neck tumors etc. I did end up getting that day- surgery biopsy and was pre-diagnosed with Tonsil Cancer. It has spread to 1 of my lymph nodes. My official diagnosis from my Oncologist is: Stage IVA Oropharyngeal Cancer and is considered locally advanced. Which means I have advanced throat cancer localized in my tonsil region that has spread to 1 of my lymph nodes in my neck. The prognosis is good... the Doctor said that I have a 98% cure rate. Awesome news! Now, the tricky part...
The treatment: I will need to do radiation and chemotherapy to get rid of this monster. Having insurance helps with some medical stuff, but not much. Definitely doesn't help with missing work and paying bills, or paying our portion of the many hospital bills. Ughh.
If you can help in any way, even if it's giving a $1. We would GREATLY appreciate it. Thank you in advance for your generosity, kind hearts, prayers, and support! I love you all!! I'm gonna fight this and win! My hair is going to fall out and it's going to be a rough ride but I will survive! Just have to remember Yes, it's definitely going to suck. For sure! But I will make it. Hair grows back, nausea won't last forever. Pain is temporary. God's got this and he's got me! Love you all!!

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Organizer

Courtney Schmidt 
Organizer
Plano, TX
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