Grandma Nadia and I have been very close since I was a child. I used to love taking the drive to her house so I could come play and raid her pantry. As I have gotten older we have grown even closer, despite the fact that she lives much farther away than she used to.
Originally from Russia, she and my mom worked hard to make it to the United States twenty-five years ago and there's no question that she brought her young, adventurous spirit with her. She seems to take every opportunity she is given to make life interesting whether it be through travel or simply by meeting new people. She is so outgoing and is great at making friends wherever and whenever the opporunity arises.
Grandma's love of scuba diving opened a new door of memories to be made between she and I. After I got certified she was able to show me the ropes, all the while making happy memories of the fun experiences we hadve had on the water. She has always fantasized with me about the day when we may have the chance to go dive somewhere far away when I am older.
I noticed a change in my grandma's health last winter when we had the chance to spend some time together. She appeared sick at dinner one night and said she had a pretty bad ache in her stomach. Nobody thought much of it until we heard that she continued to have those same pains for the next month. She finally went in to the doctor; I don't think anything could have prepared her for the news she received.
In February 2017, my sweet grandma was diagnosed with stage II stomach cancer.
The doctors suggested she begin chemotherapy right away, followed by the removal of the cancerous part of her stomach and a subsequent round of chemotherapy.
During her first chemo session, grandma had to be rushed to the emergency room showing signs of a stroke. Tests later showed that she has a rare hypersensitivity to chemotherapy drugs. With chemo out of the question, the doctors moved on with the surgery. The clinical analysis revealed that her lymph nodes were also affected by the cancer, so on May 9th, her entire stomach was removed. In a normal situation, a patient would undergo another series of chemo as directed by the doctors, but that was out of the question .
Many of my grandma's friends sprung into action in order to help her find a new solution to her problem. They found a clinic that offers a new series of non-chemo therapies. On top of that, the survival rate of patients after treatment is 60% - much higher than the rate after chemotherapy. After a consultation with Dr. Tony Jimenez, the clinic director, he suggested Virotherapy treatment among the other therapies offered. This type of treatment appears very promising and restored her the hope that she was losing fast due to her condition. (https://hope4cancer.com/how-we-treat-cancer/our-therapies/treating-the-cancer/rigvir-virotherapy/)
As fast as this all began, I hope that together we can bring this awful cancer to an end. She hopes to begin treatment within the next 2-3 weeks as time is of the utmost essence. Having exhausted her savings on medical bills, the generosity of others will be the only way that my grandma will be able to return to her happy, healthy state. With the $13,000 needed to pay for this treatment, I am confident that we can reach our goal.
I'm seventeen now, and I still look forward to the day when I will have the chance to dive with my grandma on a tropical island.
I cannot express gratitude enough to anyone who makes even the slightest contribution to helping my grandma get better.
- T+E F
- Michael Ohsawa
- Yvette Patko
- D M
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