My name is Emily Franzen, and I am 37 years old. I have been married to my best friend Chad for 14 years, and we have a 33 month old son, Wesley, that is the light of our lives. We live on a small farm in Merrill, WI.
Our troubles started in September 2016. I was lifting my son and his car seat out of my truck, and felt a pop in my back. Over the next few days the pain got steadily worse, until on the third day I couldn't get out of bed. The pain was excruciating, and shot down both of my legs. I couldn't hold or carry my son, and I was unable to work for two weeks. After some pain medication and physical therapy, things started to get better. I was back to work and able to carefully carry my little boy.
Fast forward to mid December when I woke up one morning and once again couldn't get out of bed. The excruciating pain was back and I could barely move. The medications didn't help, and physical therapy was too painful to provide any benefit. I was unable to work and had to spend the majority of my time laying down to reduce the excruciating pain. My Doctor recommended an MRI, and it found two herniated discs, one bulging disc, and a mass on my right kidney. After another MRI, I was referred to a urology specialist, who ordered a CT scan. At the follow up appointment I found out that there was a 90% chance that the tumor was cancer. I underwent surgery to remove the tumor, and the lab report confirmed that it was stage 1 clear cell renal cell carcinoma. They were able to remove all of the tumor, and I will have to have a follow up CT scan in the fall to make sure that I am still in remission. After surgery, the Doctor told my family that in five years when I started showing symptoms, it would have been too late to save my life. Our son is our miracle rainbow baby to begin with, but if I hadn't hurt myself lifting him, we never would have caught the cancer this early. Some day we will tell him that he saved his Mommy's life!
With the cancer taken care of, and after a difficult two month recovery period, I could shift my focus back to my back problems. I have been unable to work or take care of my son for 6 months. I have gone through several painful epidural steroid injections, multiple nerve blocks, nerve ablations, chiropractic care, traditional physical therapy, aquatic physical therapy and alternative treatment with supplements and essential oils in an attempt to treat my conditions conservatively. All of the conservative treatments have failed to reduce my pain, and after additional painful testing, I am facing spinal surgery to hopefully reduce my pain, improve mobility, and allow me to get back to my life.
We were living paycheck to paycheck before my health problems, but now we are barely treading water. It's difficult for us to ask for help. We have always found a way to make it through tough times, but the thousands of dollars in medical bills are burying us. Between losing my income, and having to enroll our son in day care because I am unable to care for him, we are always zero steps forward and two steps back. We would really appreciate any help we could get!