I want to begin by expressing my most sincere gratitude for all of the prayers, emotional support, genuine kindness and true understanding that I have been blessed enough to receive as I go through this unexpected battle with cancer. A battle I didn't see coming but that I have been fighting for 2-1/2 years now And I am not giving up. Even more, what helps me so very much is the never-ending faith all of you have had in me. It is what keeps me strong and up for this fight. Believe it or not, every note and word of encouragement helps my family and me. It really does.
On December 26, 2015 at the age of 42 my life came to a grinding halt. I had been having unusual pain in my stomach every time I ate for several months. I tried every remedy - both over the counter meds and holistic teas. The pain came in waves. I can remember standing in the toy section at target trying to purchase some last-minute Christmas stocking stuffers and having to sit down on the floor because the pain was so crippling. I went to the ER in November and they said it was nothing to be worried about. They couldn’t find anything and sent me home. Advance a month to December 26 and there I was in excruciating pain and calling 911 for help. The ambulance came and swiftly got me to the hospital.
I had an MRI and CT scan and then learned that I had advanced stage Colon Cancer. I was diagnosed at stage 3b, I had a massive cancerous tumor in my colon, and 8 of the 22 lymph nodes they tested came back tested positive for cancer. The only good news was that it had not spread to distant areas yet so there was still a battle to be fought.
I was prepping for a fight for my life. I always dreaded this horrible news. My family has a history of cancer - my grandmother passed away at age 69 from Multiple Myeloma so I always had this feeling that I would be fighting this battle myself someday. I was right. It is not typically an aggressive cancer, in fact if caught very early it is 100% curable. But since screening is typically at age 50 it wasn't even a blip on my radar. Mine was caught late stage and the trend these days in changing at a radical speed to my age group. So it was an aggressive cancer for me. The excruciating pain I had been in for the past few months was due to a tumor the size of a grapefruit I'm my colon. So large, that it was blocking my intestines - I was told they needed to act on this immediately. Thanks to the amazing surgeons at Penn, they were able to save my life and remove the tumor. All by laparoscopy. I then learned that I had stage 3c. This means it had perforated the wall of my colon and there was a good chance that "seeds" were released during surgery therefore chemotherapy was a good idea as a preventative measure. I then underwent over 6 months of chemo. It spread anyway. This time to my ovaries and my peretenium (my abdominal cavity wall).
Since then, my life and the lives of my children and family would never be the same and I knew it. To date I've undergone 37 chemo treatments, five surgeries, countless months of hospital stays, ten rounds of radiation...and that's just the tip of the iceberg The "big stuff" if you will. Since then, my cancer has become Stage 4 - it metasisized to my ovaries, peritoneum and more recently my liver, which I will get treatment for in April. So, for right now its getting worse but with treatment it will get better
In the midst of this, the boys father decided to move half way across the country to live with his parents. This meant he abandoned his children and left my parents to carry the responsibility of not only my care but also care for our sons ages 9 and 15. This has taken a huge emotional toll on the boys. If not for my parents I don't know what I would do. They are amazing people and stepped in when I needed them most as I fight this monstrous disease.
One of the hardest parts of fighting this is being unable to work for now. I have always had a career and been a motivated and hard worker. In fact, I was hired for the perfect job right before my cancer metastasized. Based on the chemo I had ahead of me, according to my doctor work wasn’t a good option. Not being able to be self sufficient has been one of THE most difficult parts of this battle. But like everything else this too shall pass and I believe a god has a greater plan for me.
Asking for help:
So as hard as it is to not be supporting myself it is all that much harder to ask others for help during this time. But we are at that financial point where we are exhausting resources and I decided it’s time to most humbly ask for help. We have insurmountable hospital bills for treatments that are not cheap. The financial piece of this has taken on a life of its own and everyone is stressed by how overwhelming this has all become. So I am asking for help with offsetting the bills that are piling up to allow them to be paid and alleviate the worry as they continue to send bills for many things I thought I were covered.
I know that money can be tight, so please know that even $5 helps me get closer to my goal! And if you are unable to do something on that level I would ask that you please consider spreading the word through social networking. I’m using Facebook as my platform. Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll be happy to answer them.
Again, thank you for taking time to read this - your support means so much to me. I wish you and your Family all of God's blessings during this beautiful Easter season.
- Aimee Potash
- Jeanne Annarelli
- Jay Hurst
- Mike Fanto
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more