On December 22, 2017, my beautiful cousin Perla Hernandez was happily dancing at my sister’s Quinceañera. Perla abruptly fell down due to severe pain on her right knee. Perla had been experiencing chronic knee pain for over a year. Severity of pain would fluctuate from severe to manageable on most days. At the time Perla and medical providers believed it was due to muscle strain or damage to ligaments. On that day her knee gave out and she had to be carried out of dance floor because she was unable to walk from the pain.
After that day Perla was on bed rest for over a month and endured a series of medical exams, MRI and finally a biopsy. The biopsy confirmed a dreaded cancer diagnosis. At only 17 years of age, Perla was given a diagnosis of osteosarcoma, a very rare cancer but it is the most common cancer that starts in the bones. Most osteosarcomas occur in children and young adults. Teens are the most common affected age group, but this cancer can develop at any age. You can find more information on osteosarcoma and risk factors on the American Cancer Society website.
In the months that followed Perla endured chemotherapy to try and reduce the tumor to avoid amputation of her leg and also treat the lung metastases. During these treatments Perla experienced many typical side effects of chemotherapy including weight and hair loss. Words cannot convey the extent of her physical and emotional pain and the suffering of her family. Despite the less than hopeful prognosis, Perla always kept fighting and continued to smile. When I went to Mexico to visit Perla, I was just so grateful to see the hope and positivity my cousin radiated. Perla never ceased to be a bright and joyful young woman that maintained hope all throughout. Cancer did not take away her sense of humor and happiness.
Unfortunately, on July 27th Perla had to be urgently taken to hospital due to severe drop in her red blood cell count from 12 g/dl to 3 g/dl. Due to lack of adequate medical care in her town, Perla had to be taken to main hospital in Guadalajara, which was three hours away to get a blood transfusion. It was during this time that her family was told that Perla probably wouldn’t make it. For my cousin these three hours were a nightmare, where she described experiencing the sensation of death coming over her body. All throughout Perla was on the verge of losing consciousness but describes forcing herself to stay awake because she feared closing her eyes and never waking up again. Once at the hospital, in the course of one week, Perla was given 7 blood transfusions and 10 platelet transfusions. Many friends and family came together to donate blood. Despite this Perla continued to have low blood count and it seemed the transfusions were only promoting progression of cancer.
On August 15, 2018 Perla went into surgery to have her right leg amputated. Forced to choose between her life or her leg, Perla knew she wanted to live at all cost. On that day Perla lost something she has loved for 18 years and that same day her eldest sister (also a cancer survivor) gave birth to a baby girl. Perla was thrilled to become an auntie for the first time and also grieved for the loss of her leg. After surgery Perla’s blood count stabilized and tested negative osteosarcoma and metastatic lung cancer. On August 22nd Perla was discharged from hospital and is happy to be alive.
It will be a long road to recovery and in this process Perla needs help with purchasing a prosthetic leg. Cost for prosthetic legs range from 5,000-50,000 U.S. dollars and must be replaced every 3-5 years. In addition to this, Perla is also fighting to stay enrolled in college to not lose her medical insurance that has covered the majority of medical expenses. In the part of Mexico Perla lives when an individual turns 18 they must be enrolled in college to not lose medical coverage. Perla’s primary focus should be her health and is trying to not lose her medical coverage that would pay for her physical rehabilitation. The family has had many medical related expenses not covered by insurance and any donation would greatly help to also cover this. Please share or donate anything you can. Even a small donation goes a long a way when converted into Mexican pesos.
With love and gratitude,
Familia Hernandez, Jimenez and Banuelos
Traducion en Español
Título: Campaña de donación para prótesis de pierna.
Mi prima Perla Hernández fue diagnosticada con un cáncer llamado osteosarcoma en su pierna derecha. La prótesis cuesta entre $90,000 y $500,000 pesos, y tiene que ser remplazada en lapsos de 3 a 5 años. Ésta es su historia:
· Diciembre 22, 2017: Perla se cayó, de repente, mientras bailaba en la fiesta de quince años de mi hermana por un fuerte dolor en la pierna derecha. Tenía más de un año presentando este dolor que al parecer, según el diagnóstico de doctores, era una ruptura de ligamentos en su rodilla.
· Después de reposo y exámenes adicionales se le diagnosticó con cáncer de osteosarcoma.
· Osteosarcoma es un tumor cancerígeno que se presenta en adolescentes y a menudo sucede cuando están creciendo de manera rápida. Es un cáncer muy agresivo que se trata con quimioterapia. Para más información por favor visita MedlinePlus en Español.
· Meses después Perla comenzó a recibir las quimioterapias
· A pesar de sufrir por los efectos secundarios de la quimioterapia, incluyendo la caída de cabello y pérdida de peso, Perla nunca dejó de luchar y no perdió la esperanza.
· Julio 27: Perla es llevada de emergencia a Guadalajara para recibir una transfusión de sangre.
· Después de 7 transfusiones de sangre y 10 de plaquetas en el transcurso de una semana, su nivel de hemoglobina no se estabilizaba. Poco después Perla tuvo que decidir entre su vida o su pierna.
· Agosto 15: Perla entra al quirófano donde le amputaron su pierna derecha. Semanas después fue dada de alta y recibió la buena noticia de que ya no había más celulas cancerígenas en su cuerpo.
Por favor ayuden con sus donativos para apoyar la recuperación de mi prima y su prótesis. Ella es una persona increíble que nunca se dió por vencida en su batalla contra el cáncer. Nunca dejo de sonreír y hacernos reír con su buen humor. El cáncer nunca le robó su felicidad y gran deseo de vivir. Cualquiera cantidad que contribuya nos ayuda, al igual que compartan ésta campaña con amigos y familiares en todas las redes sociales.
¡Muchas gracias por su ayuda!
Familia Hernandez, Jimenez y Banuelos