I am a young mother of two who is struggling to recover from urothelial carcinoma, which is, in short, bladder cancer. I was diagnosed at the age of 28, sometime in late May/Early June, about three months after the birth of my daughter. At the time I was still on maternity leave from giving birth and was about to go back to work, which soon became an impossibility as I was in an incredible amount of pain (also I quickly became unable to urinate and had to have an indwelling catheter and later nephrostomy tubes, as the tumor began to completely obstruct my urethra). Eventually after being in and out of the ER for weeks I was hospitalized at Emory University where I underwent a 7 hour surgery on July 12th to remove my bladder, uterus and a portion of my vagina. This is the standard procedure for a woman who has bladder cancer. I now have a urostomy and am now infertile all before the age of thirty. Due to the fact that my cancer came at the beginning of June, we were unable to celebrate my son's third birthday (June 26th) and instead he has had to bear witness to my traumatic illness. I lost crucial bonding time with my daughter who was only three months old at the time. Our bond is only now becoming what it used to be and it has taken nearly four months to get here. While I was hospitalized I had to drop out of school, where I had just begun my journey to becoming a nutritionist the previous fall. Due to the fact that I have not been able to return to work, we have no current source of income. My husband is, and always has been, our children's primary care giver, while I worked part time at a local Babies R Us store.
Daddy helping Conall feed his new baby sister Anya
The next step in my journey as a cancer survivor is to make sure that my cancer never comes back. In order to do this I have decided to make some major changes to my diet and my outlook on life. I was lucky to have a good pathology report after surgery, but the type of cancer I had is very aggressive and there is concern among my doctors that it will make a comeback (see: perineural invasion). My particular cancer is known for making a reappearance before the patient has even reached one year out from surgery. In the spirit of making feasible goals, my current goal is to reach my one year surgery anniversary and be cancer clean. This is where you come in, potential donors! In lieu of pulling a Walter White a la Breaking Bad , I want to fund my cancer goal and support my family through the help of thoughtful donations (you know, instead of dealing narcotics). My intention is to follow a strict cancer fighting diet, along with other therapies that have been proven through research to fight cancer. Along with my goal of remaining cancer free, I would like to return to school so that I can continue pursuing my Bachelors in Nutrition Science. Basically I will be living and breathing nutrition 24/7, which is not necessarily a bad thing when you consider what I want to do for my career! In addition to funds that will help me pay for treatment supplies, my family needs help with the cost of every day living while I am focusing on my recovery and unable to return to a regular 9 to 5 job. We have had a hell of a year and I would really love to be able to give my kids a nice Christmas (not from a materialistic standpoint, but from a family bonding standpoint), especially my son who never got to celebrate his birthday due to the fact that Mommy was very sick.
ANY donation amount is so very much appreciated, be it $1 or $100. If you took the time to read my story, thank you so much for your consideration. Even if you can't spare a dime, please share this page with others. The more people who spread the word the more likely our goals will be met. Be assured that any donations received are going straight to my families' financial needs. No shady activity here!
I also have a link to my cancer fighting Amazon wish list, in case you wish to contribute directly to the cause through a purchase. Everything on this list has been chosen by me based on the protocol I want to follow while battling the cancer:
Conall and Mommy being silly
Conall and Anya having fun together
I had a PET scan in December and the results showed that I have two masses in my left lung, presumed to be metastasis by the radiologist. One mass is 2.8 cm and the other is .10 cm. It seems that my cancer has spread and very likely it had already made the journey to my lungs around the time of my bladder removal surgery. This is very disappointing news as the prognosis for a person with metastatic cancer is never very good and in my case, the cancer is very aggressive. We are talking with the doctors to see what my options are now. I am feeling scared, but I am struggling to remain hopeful. I am going to continue with the protocols I have established for myself and listen to what the doctors have to say and go from there.
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- Lauren Giddens
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