Hello everyone <3, my name is Starla and I am here to tell you about how my life suddenly and unexpectedly changed.
July 4th, 2018
I was diagnosed with a metastatic solitary fibrous tumor that was sitting in the middle of my abdomen (I had gone into the ER with extreme abdominal pain). There were a few smaller tumors in my abdomen and then we proceeded to find out that it spread to my liver. There were no indicators before this moment that there were any problems.
I was devastated.
We then proceeded to go through loads and loads of tests and 'what ifs'... even suggesting that a full hysterectomy be necessary, colostomy bag and other life altering procedures. Thankfully, I was able to avoid most all of these things, but on August 10th I was rushed into the ER with extreme pain again to discover that there was a possible perforation in my bowel.
I was admitted and had emergency ressection of the large mass and smaller ones, spending 11 days in the hospital... I have never felt so helpless.
I am lucky to have been surrounded by such support and love during this time... I still have residual digestive issues and struggle to eat well and feel pain nearly everyday of my life.
I am ALIVE. I remind myself of this blessing every day and I have strived to continue to live life to fullest and to love fiercely and to give back to my community as much as I can... it has been a struggle, but I know that one day I will wake up without pain and I keep moving forward in hopes that this day will come soon.
Which brings me to my liver.
Today, I went in to remove, what I thought, was my final tumor. I was so ecstatic to finally be able to say that I am 'cancer free' ... the amount of hope I had was indescribable.
Unfortunately, when the surgeon went in, she found more small cells or nodules outside of my liver, in my abdomen... and the tumor inside my liver grew slighty so the procedure could not be done. She also found a hernia that had to be addressed. Previously, I had attemtpted chemo medication to shrink the tumor, but my quality of life was so drastically altered that we opted for surgery...
Well, here we are. The cancer is still there. I sit here, with tears in my eyes, facing the reality that this could be spreading to other parts of my body. I just turned 29 years old. This is not what I expected to be doing with my life.
I will be getting more tests (MRIs especially) to determine how prominent it is in my body, undergo chemo medication again and will have surgery again in a few months. The cost of all of these procedures, even with insurance, is incredible... I have a very hard time asking for help, but I know that I cannot do this alone.
This has been the most challenging thing I have ever been faced with, but I absolutely have so many wonderful people in my life, including my boyfriend Casey, who has sacrificed so much time and energy to make sure I am OK... my friends and family... there are no words for how grateful I am and I couldn't fight this fight without them.
Thank you all so much for making it this far in my story and to all of those that have donated to my medical costs... you are so amazing. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
My dear friend Audrey wanted to contribute a few words to this cause and I wanted to include that here:
Starla Kilcup. Starla Ann Kilcup. *la. I have been friends with Starla for nearly 20 years, that’s kind of weird to think about.
In the last 20 years I have seen Starla struggle, I have seen her succeed; I have seen her cry and I have seen her laugh until she cried. I have seen Starla broken hearted when she was told she couldn’t play soft ball because of her heart, and then to play as an adult, just to catch one to the face (!OUCH!).
Most importantly I have seen Starla drop what she could in order to help someone in need. Sure, it’s often me in need… but that’s why it my turn this time….our turn. Starla needs our help. She hates asking for it (nothing new there), but she needs it. We know that she would do anything possible for us, I’m asking that we all do everything possible for her.
If I’ve learned anything in the last 20 years, it’s that Starla is like an M&M. Hard and crunchy on the outside and soft and sweet on the inside.
Starla has been out of work for a few weeks now, due to the pain and other symptoms, and is expected to be out for at least a few more weeks. Besides the astronomical medical bills that she will have, even after insurance, she also has her monthly bills that she will need help with. Anything you are able to help with I am greatly appreciative for, and I know that Starla will be as well.
I’ll love you forever and always.