Teriana Marie O'Malley is organizing this fundraiser.
My name is Teriana O’Malley, I am 24 years old, and have recently been diagnosed with Stage 2B Hodgkins Lymphoma. I work from home for Apple, and in October I was put on a leave of absence due to debilitating migraines and headaches. I went days where I couldn’t eat without throwing up, I had bloody noses very frequently, I couldn’t use a computer, tablet, or phone, for extended periods of time, and mostly, I was just exhausted. I could sleep for 10 hours a night, wake up, move to the couch, and nap for another three or four hours. The frustrating thing was that my doctor couldn’t see anything wrong, therefore, declared I wasn’t really sick. That’s the fun thing about being 23, no one seems to believe you can get sick. “You’re just so young” they say. And I could see it in my doctors faces, and even in the faces of some of my friends, but I know my body and I knew something was wrong. I kept going back, I was in the doctors office 4 to 6 times a month, plus getting different tests weekly. I got MRI’s and CT’s and so much blood work done, still nothing. Finally, in late November my primary referred me to a neurologist. Fun thing about American health care, I couldn’t get an appointment until mid-January. So that left me miserable all of December. I gave up a majority of things I enjoy and, still being out of work, slept most of the month.
Right before Christmas, I got a cold. I didn’t think much of it because it seemed like EVERYONE I came in close contact with got it. Husband, his sister, my friends; it was just really contagious. But, come Christmas Day there was this weird lump thing on my right side, above my collarbone. I figured, well I just got over being sick, so it had to be nothing. Evan didn’t have a lump, nor did his sister, or my friends. After a few days the pain got so bad that I couldn’t turn my head. So, back to my primary doctor I went. I could tell immediately that it wasn’t good. He felt the lump, measured it, and of course, more tests. December 28th.
I had another MRI and a CT scan on January 5th. On Friday the 12th I got a call from my doctor, referring me to another doctor. An oncologist. The coming week was a mess of appointments, MRI’s, CT’s Echocardiogram, even more blood work, PFT, bone marrow biopsy and a pathology; it was a lot. I went back in to the oncologist on the 30th, and it was confirmed.
I have stage 2B Hodgkins Lymphoma.
Going in to the office, I already knew that. Endless Google searches, WebMD look ups, and just being not stupid; I already knew it was cancer. For some reason though, it still sent my body into complete shock. I don’t remember much of what was said (praise the LORD for Evan, he actually remembers all of it.) I just knew what it did mean. What it translated to for me was, “no, you can’t have a baby now.”
Evan and I had began having those discussions prior to Christmas. It was apart of my Christmas gift. We were going to start trying to have a baby in March. So this conversation with this doctor, was an attack on my heart. She had to explain that I not only have cancer, but it’s also “highly likely” that the chemotherapy we need to use can cause loss of fertility. So my month went from planning baby showers and nursery ideas, to planning where to get chemotherapy (there are a lot more options than your original oncologist.) To say this news becoming real came out of left field is an understatement. This ball came in from another ball park.
I spent the day i found out about the cancer sleeping, crying, sleeping more, crying more, sleeping again, crying again. There were people I had to tell, so later that week, I began the text messages, and phone calls, and even had to write one person a letter because telling them in person hurt too much. I sat in my car outside of a Starbucks on the phone with my sister, and what a huge blessing she is, she helped make the decision that Evan and I didn’t know how to swing, to freeze eggs or just adopt down the road. So we began the process of freezing a few eggs, which has been nothing short of frustrating. That’s a whole story in itself so I won’t bore you with that now, but I will tell you my soul is exhausted from trying to figure it out. The process has taken so much longer than it’s supposed to, so the cancer has spread, but until we are done harvesting the eggs, we won’t know if I am still stage 2 or if it has progressed to stage 3. There is still a lot of unknown among the known.
Doing all of this without my mom, is also the worst thing I think I could ever imagine. I have so many questions for her, and have even called her old phone number. To no avail, of course, but my heart is just screaming for my mom. I lost my person, and this diagnosis makes it hurt that much more.
So, currently, we are still working on the freezing process, but I should be starting chemo here in two or three weeks. I am still out of work, 6 months without pay is insanely taxing. And I have realized, life doesn’t stop for cancer, no matter how hard you press on the breaks. Time doesn’t give a shit about you losing your hair, or losing your fertility, or even possibly losing your life.
We are starting this page because not working since October has left us very tight on cash. Our incoming debt highly out weighs our actual income.
Any money donated will go towards the following;
The biggest thing will be the cost of egg preservation. This procedure costs about $25,000 and my insurance covers most of it, but there are still a lot of expenses with it that won’t be covered.
Additionally, we will use money towards paying our regular monthly bills. Things like rent, phones, car insurance, food, etc. Evan is still working but it’s not quiet enough to cover everything.
Medical bills. Wow this one is a heavy one. I am very blessed to have phenomenal insurance through Apple. It covers 90% of everything I need done, but that 10% is really beginning to add up.
Currently, my egg harvesting should take place the week of April 8th, and chemotherapy should begin the week of April 22nd.
We are so thankful for everyone who is led to donate, and to pray. We will post updates here as they come through.