I still remember the day it started. Mid March 2019, my mom and I left the doctor’s office. My sister and I, along with her primary care doctor, had thought she’d just torn a muscle in her knee, from the gym, or a long run. We had never expected to hear the diagnosis: osteosarcoma cancer, stage 3.
From there, she spent six months undergoing intense chemotherapy that took her hair, her energy, appetite, creativity, joy, along with many weeks spent in hospital beds getting emergency blood transfusions, treatments, and painful recoveries. In the process, I saw my mom suddenly become an artist without the energy to create, a dancer too fragile to leap around, a hiker, traveler, adventurer, who could not leave her bed. She had surgery involving a full knee and distal femur replacement, and then more chemo.
We reached October and were given the best kind of news: clear margins and 100% tumor death. She had survived. Exhausted, we went home celebrating, and began to piece our shattered lives back together.
Fast forward to April 2020 during Colorado COVID lockdown. I was sitting in the dining room working through my math homework, when my mom asked me to come look at her knee. It was swollen. We prayed it was a post-op infection and nothing else, but in the back of everyone’s mind lurked our worst fears. The doctors confirmed an aggressive recurrence of osteosarcoma. Plans of my mother writing a new book, my sister’s wedding, plans for us to take our celebratory trip to Spain once it was safe--all came to a stop. I felt anger, confusion, horror.
This time, the recommendation was a more intense chemotherapy, radiation and hip disarticulate amputation, all with a 22% survival rate. After surviving an already traumatic six months of treatment and surgery, the thought of going through chemo again and losing a leg, with significantly smaller margins than before, my mother determined this was not a road she would take.
That is where we are today; her illness is considered terminal, 6-8 months. She tried a clinical trial that had some potential, but the side effects were so severe she was forced to quit. She has a chemo pill intended to stabilize, but it is not a cure. We are running out of time.
Enter Sanoviv Medical Institute, a hospital located in northwest Mexico that offers conventional, alternative, and integrative medicine. We found it through mutual friends and fellow cancer survivors. This treatment center offers a beacon of hope. They have given my mom a new prognosis of her disease, with a synergistic approach of anti-cancer treatments. They have experience treating aggressive cancers and strong patient outcomes.
Every cancer patient is unique. Each person reacts differently to the same treatment. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. It’s based on an individual’s health, genetics, state of mind and what their cancer cells consist of. Sanoviv knows this and studies tumor cells in a patient through biopsy and designs a medicine specifically to treat their cancer. Our mom spoke with terminal cancer survivors who opted not to do chemo but instead went through Sanoviv’s cancer treatment regimen and have gotten years of their life back.
Our mom sees tremendous promise in Sanoviv as it is a holistic approach that aligns with her values and offers a chance at a quality of life. She is hopeful that it will rebuild and strengthen her immune system, help heal her leg and shrink or kill her tumors, allowing her to be able to bend her knee and walk better with little to no neuropathy, energize her -- and give her the chance to enjoy more precious time and laughter with family and friends.
She has overcome many challenges in life that most people would have a hard time even conceiving — both parents passing away at a young age, being widowed at a young age, raising my sister and I as a single parent, struggling to find work and make ends meet, surviving chemo, and now continuing the fight with cancer.
We don’t want to lose our mom, and we need your help to make this chance possible. Insurance won’t cover the cost of treatment, and my 24-year-old sister and I (27) do not have the resources to cover the expenses. These times have been tough, but my mom is 100% A FIGHTER and with your help, she can get the treatment she needs and get back on her feet.
All donations will be used to pay for her treatment at Sanoviv Medical Institute, for me to come with her as her primary caretaker, medical bills not covered by insurance, and housing bills to keep us afloat while in treatment.
We hope to go as soon as possible in early 2021. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts!
- Anne Ross
- Mike Blystone
Organizer and beneficiary
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