It's a little weird to be writing this here as a fundraiser for myself but my therapist has said that part of my healing includes realizing when I need help and asking for help when I need it – so here I am and here goes :)
About halfway through my pregnancy, in January 2018, I began having some serious back pain. Everybody chocked it up to pregnancy, but when I gave birth, it got progressively worse. At this point, all the specialists I consulted chocked it up to postpartum pains. At the time, I was 32, took great care of myself (ate organic and plant-based, worked out 5x/week, meditated, etc.), and overall considered myself very healthy, as did all the professionals I consulted. Nobody ever suspected that I could have a serious health issue.
After about a year of being in serious pain (couldn't sit in a car for longer than 5 minutes or at a chair at the dinner table to eat, couldn't get pain relief no matter what I tried), in December 2018, hospital scans confirmed that I had a large spinal tumour (10 cm in diameter) that was eating away at 3 of my vertebrae. The diagnosis was aneurysmal bone cyst, an extremely rare, aggressive and destructive tumour. The tumour was the largest both my oncologist and surgeon had ever seen. Because these tumours are extremely rare, the optimal treatment plan is still not known. The initial plan was a surgery that would fuse together 5-6 of my vertebrae to stabilize my spine (that was at high risk of fracture given I only had a sliver of vertebrae left) and remove the tumour. However, the risks of surgery included paralysis (due to size/location/vascularization of the tumour) and hemorrhage, and I was instead put on chemotherapy to shrink the tumour and allow the bone to rebuild.
From that moment on, I was instructed to wear a back brace, not hold my baby, stop nursing and rest as much as possible. I had to hire a babysitter to help me at all times because my medications made me dizzy and because I couldn't lift/hold my dear baby (not gonna lie, this was pretty traumatic, as a new mom). I was not eligible for any financial aid (sick leave/extended parental leave/unemployment insurance, etc.). Though I had to pay for this help and though the cost was steep, our family was able to manage these costs. Luckily, the cost of the medication was covered by insurance. These were extremely challenging times.
I have since come off the chemotherapy as per my oncologist's orders (being on the particular medication for too long is not recommended). He has stated that there is nothing else he can do for me, and surgery still comes with all of its risks.
I have thus decided to consult with a naturopathic doctor who has given me an amazing protocol, which is...... drumroll please.. working!!! :) Despite being off the medication for about 5 months, the tumour has shrunk another cm or so (with the alternative protocol). However, the treatments are not cheap (over 2000$/month). That is why I am here. I have not worked in almost 2 years and therefore could use some financial help to afford my treatments. My GoFundMe goal has been set to help me get through the next year. Of course, anything and everything helps.
The type of tumour I have is not cancer but behaves like cancer and, though it is not life-threatening, is quality-of-life-threatening. They are known to grow fast, and if it continues to grow, it could fracture my spine and I could be paralyzed. I am a dance teacher and I will not let that happen :) Dancing is my joy.
Any help is deeply appreciated and I will be eternally grateful. I will continue to update this page as my condition hopefully improves :)
Much love to you all!
P.S. I have blacked out my baby's face on the campaign picture as I value their privacy.