Erica Rose Baird Cancer Fund

This is my beautiful wife, and the mother of my only son. She is my past, my future, my everything and she has cancer. She has recently been diagnosed with a very rare, very advanced, very aggressive form of Uterine cancer, and the prognosis we are getting from the conventional medical community does not look hopeful.

For those that have been following this page already, the below text marks the first of many updates that will be forthcoming. We are seeking every possible assistance, from every possible avenue, with the enormous financial burden we face on the hard road ahead in treating her cancer into remission. For those that are seeing this for the first time, thank you for taking the time to learn about our situation. Erica has taken the time to write her story personally, so I will allow her to speak to you. This is her story. Thank you for listening...

In Erica's own words:
It has been suggested several times in my life that I write well. These compliments tend to come from those hoping to leverage my love of the written word for their benefit. I've written a lot of essays and resumes for others in my life. But, I've won a contest here and there, too. An essay once brought concert tickets as a prize; a poem I once wrote about the color grey was displayed for the entire elementary school to appreciate. I love to write. I could never have imagined, however, that I would be called upon to write a story like this one. The prize at stake is a saved life.

This is the story of the young mother of a perfect little boy that grandparents had secretly wondered if he would ever be, and of a beautiful marriage that both partners thought they would never find. This is the story of big sister who still answers the phone no matter what the time. But, this also the story of incapacitating physical pain, and anguished tears, and questions deflected, and shrugged shoulders, and misdiagnosis, and lost time. I am Erica Baird, I am 39, I have cancer, and this is my story. The life to be saved is my own.

In January of 2012 I found myself in incapacitating, searing pain. I couldn't sit, stand upright, sleep, or get comfortable. I had been to see an OB/Gyn earlier that week complaining of radiating pain that seemed to be originating from my left ovary. My doctor suggested I might be suffering from a condition known as ovarian torsion. Perhaps my left ovary was trying to use its fallopian tube to hang itself. Perhaps we would see if the pain subsided over the next few days. Perhaps we'll see you next week sometime. On the following Saturday morning I begged my husband to take me to the Emergency Room. They scolded me for following my doctor's orders, did a CT scan that found nothing wrong, pumped me full of morphine and sent me home.

My life for the next eight months became trips to doctors who couldn't find anything amiss, lying on the floor crying out to God to make the pain stop, insinuations that I might be developing an addiction to the pain medication they had finally agreed I "qualified" for, a vacation to my parents' home that had to be cut short because I could barely walk, and implications that it might just be "all in my head".
In August of 2012, my OB/Gyn suggested that my problem may stem from endometriosis, which made sense because the pain did seem to be cyclical. Laparoscopic surgery was scheduled for the first week of September 2012. It was discovered upon viewing my abdominal cavity that my left ovary had fused to my bowel, and that fibroids which were undergoing necrosis (dying) had populated my uterus. The understatement of the year sounded something like "No wonder you were in so much pain". Indeed.

At the appointment following the surgery, we asked a dangerous, if not prophetic, question, "What if this condition returns"? The answer was to be prepared for a hysterectomy in the unlikely event that the pain and the internal mess causing it should rear its ugly head once more.

The old adage says "speak of the devil, and he shall appear". The first set of incisions hadn't even completely healed when I found myself prepping for partial hysterectomy the Monday after Thanksgiving 2012. My mother had prepared the holiday's dinner because I couldn't stand. Not only did I not feel like I had had the previous surgery but the view of my abdominal cavity that early November morning suggested that it had never occurred. The entanglements had grown back so rapidly and with such ferocity that even my doctor was shocked. This surgery left me with the right ovary in the hope that I would not, given my young age, be plunged into premature menopause. Finally pain free after nearly a year, we celebrated Christmas and the New Year, thankful for our beautiful little boy, and hopeful that the worst was behind us.

The pain on the right side started as a lightening bolt that would periodically drop me to me knees. It had been three or four months since my hysterectomy and I decided, too incredulous that I might be experiencing the same problem again, to ignore it and not cause my husband and family undue worry. We had just celebrated our son Kieran's third birthday and were considering selling our home for a house in the country near his grandparents and with a big yard. Little boys need tire swings, tree houses, puppies, and bikes after all.

The offer on our home came in after being on the market for just five weeks. We signed a contract to sell on July 30 and made arrangements to move in with my parents while we found our new home. The first few days of August 2013, however, brought pain and a miserable sensation that I could no longer ignore. I consulted my family doctor this time because even to me it made no sense that my problem could once again be gynecological. I was rushed through a battery of tests that told me they suspected either my appendix or a problem in my colon. The CT scan report, and the subsequent ultrasound, however, told us what we had all feared. There was a mass where my uterus had been and we would have to operate once more.

We closed on the contract to sell our house on the 23rd of August thankful that my surgery had been scheduled for the following Monday. How nice to be moved out of our house and looking toward the future as I convalesced. After the two previous surgeries, I felt like I knew what to expect, so we planned to stay with my parents for about a month, and then buy our new home.

I woke up on the 26th of August 2013 in the Oncology ward. In my anesthetized state I picked up one crucial bit of information. I didn't hear the nurses around me talking about my doctor, the OB/Gyn who I had discussed my surgery with that morning. The nurses were using the name of a doctor I knew to be an Oncologist. I turned my head to see the brave faces of my husband and parents trying to smile reassuringly and said' "What's going on?! Are you trying to tell me I have cancer?" My husband burst into tears, my Mom averted her eyes, and my father turned his back. "NO, NO, NO!" I cried, "My Baby! Kieran!" and I fell back to sleep.

The details came as the week in the hospital marched on, and this is what we learned: I have an extremely rare form of uterine cancer called Endometrial Stromal Sarcoma. It occurs approximately once or twice in every million cases of uterine cancer. Very few oncologists have ever seen it, including mine. The research on it is almost nil because there aren't enough incidences to form a test group. My primary tumor is residing in a tricky and dangerous spot called the Douglas Sac, which is at the very bottom of the abdominal cavity in the female body behind the reproductive organs and in front of the bowel. The risk this presents makes my tumor inoperable. The primary tumor, which is about softball size, is one of a legion of sarcomas that have metastasized throughout my abdominal cavity. Small enough to be called nodules, at this point, but expected to grow as aggressively as the large tumor. And of course, the most unkind cut of all; we're a year behind in our fight because the pathology reports on the samples collected during my first two previous surgeries were, in a word, wrong. It always was cancer, and nobody caught it.

It has been two months since the day we got the news that no one wants and we're still trying to come to terms with our new reality. I think back to when I was looking at the calendar, planning our future, and now I wonder every day if I will ever be out of pain. Every time my husband and I arrive home from one of the myriad doctor appointments that now consume our days, our son Kieran asks me to pull up my shirt and show him my incision scars. "Did the doctor make your tummy better yet, Mommy?" he asks. We have identified a course of treatment that we are very excited about, and believe will be able to help me, but it's all out of pocket and due at the beginning of each treatment week. A week's treatment costs about $8,700 and is expected to last eight weeks or more. We need at least $70,000 in very short order. Naturally, the money we had for a down payment on our new home is now being redistributed. Once the treatment concludes and I am declared cancer free, we will find we are broke and homeless. What's that snarky bumper sticker about "life is what happens when you have other things planned"?

Above and beyond my hopes for obtaining funding for my treatment, I'm desperate to spread awareness about my kind of cancer. Everyone knows that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, but Breast Cancer is not the only cancer threatening women's lives. How many women with Endometrial Stromal Sarcoma go undiagnosed because their doctor has literally never seen it in their career? Do they know what to look for? Do women know to push for an answer when something hurts? If I hadn't taken charge of my own health and demanded an answer, I hate to imagine where I would be. Remember, it took nine months for anyone to even start listening to me, and another year to realize I had cancer! That's a lot of lost time.

My husband Shelby and I just celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary. All I want is to stay married to the man of my dreams for a very long time and to see my little boy grow up and become all he's meant to be. Please consider investing in a beautiful life that has everything to lose. I am Shelby's wife; I am Kieran's mom. I am an older sister and my parents' daughter. I am an aunt and a sister in law. I am a music lover and a friend. I am Erica Baird, I am 39, I have Endometrial Stromal Sarcoma, and this is my story.
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Shelby Baird 
New Richmond, OH
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