Starting in 2016, in my last year of undergrad I started to notice issues with using the bathroom as well as extreme, almost unbearable abdominal pain. I went to several doctors trying to figure out what was wrong with me and they unfortunately never had the answer for me. Throughout my senior year of college, I went from weighing 180 pounds to a drastic 150 pounds without knowing the cause.
In late 2016, I moved to Charlotte, NC and my primary care physician referred me to a Gastroenterology and Hematology practice. Based on my symptoms and patterns, my Gastro doctor diagnosed me with Chrons Disease in June 2017. Unfortunately, Chrons Disease does not have a cure but patients can receive medication to suppress flare ups. As a college soccer player this lifestyle was different for me: a lifestyle in and out of the hospital, frequent infusion sessions, and unexpected sickness all the while being a full time high school English teacher as well as a full time goalkeeper coach.
For two years, I have had to undergo two separate infusion treatments: Remicade, which is a medication for Chrons Disease and Iron infusions due to my low iron levels. I also endured many colonoscopies to make sure the inflammation caused by certain flare ups did not spiral out of control. On top of unexpected illnesses due to my immune system being very weak.
In April 2019, my doctors found Colon Polyps during a colonoscopy procedure, which they had planned to treat through their care.
Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with Stage I Colon Cancer a couple weeks ago by my doctors. I have been getting astronomical amounts of lab work done, colonoscopies, and second opinions throughout the entire summer. I am in good spirits because I have an awesome Gastro and Oncology team that has presented me with options to beat this diagnosis. The first option my Doctor is looking at is a plant-based, natural healing process before we look at the more rigorous treatments such as Chemo and Radiation.
Although I am a full time teacher, I work two other part time jobs as a Smoothie King Manager and soccer coach to help me pay for medical expenses as well as other expenses . Due to my diagnosis, I have to quit my job at Smoothie King to make sure I am not over working myself and paying close attention to my medical needs.
The money from this fundraiser would be going to:
• doctor visits
•preparation for Chemo/Radiation if needed
•preparation for surgery (removal of part of Colon if needed)
•other unexpected costs
I am not used to “taking a break” or not working as hard as I usually do. Anything, would help me save enough funds to prepare for this battle. Cancer is not a death sentence and I know this is something that I can overcome.
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- Shirley Martinez
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