I have so much to be thankful for: God and my faith, my family, my wonderful friends and amazing students. I am also thankful for my rewarding job as an English as a Second Language (ESOL) teacher as well as for all of my fellow educators who have inspired me through the years to always give the best of myself to the children under my care. Teaching is my passion and I love to help my students and their families; to empower them with the tools that they need to learn English so they can continue to excel in their academic journeys and pursue their professional dreams.
Unfortunately, last April, after a routine medical examination, the doctors found that I had a polyp in my colon and after conducting a biopsy of the tissue, they discovered that it was cancerous. Not long after, the doctors performed a 7-hour colectomy to remove and reattach the affected section of my colon. Subsequently and after conducting other tests, the doctors confirmed that the procedure was successful and that there was no more cancer in my body. However, last month after coming down with severe cramps on my left leg and soon after, suffering with unbearable pain under my right breast, I went to urgent care where after multiple tests and scans they discovered I had pulmonary embolism in both of my lungs as well as multiple blood clots in my left leg. A scan also revealed two large masses in my liver and supraclavicular lymph nodes. After being hospitalized for several days during which more laboratory tests and scans were conducted, a biopsy of the liver tissue revealed that the initial colon cancer had metastasized to the liver and that I was now a stage 4 cancer patient. When hearing these news I felt the life come out of my body. The whole thing seemed surreal. Since then I’ve felt a multitude of different emotions from disbelief to heartache, grief, confusion, anger, fear, and complete emotional exhaustion.
However, I’ve come to a point where I’ve been able to process and digest what is happening to me and I’m thankful to my family and all of the support and encouragement I’ve received from my beautiful friends and all of the kind people in my life. Recently I’ve started chemotherapy and feel hopeful and confident that with the grace of God I’m on the path to recovery. But the road ahead is going to be very hard and it will take its toll on me not only physically and emotionally but most regrettably, also financially. I can’t say that I was ever prepared for anything like this to come into my life but in the context of the COVID pandemic, this couldn’t have happened at a worst time, as my husband has been furloughed from his job since March as a direct result of the crisis and been collecting unemployment ever since. We are now seeing the reality of the consequences from these events as bills are starting to pile up due to the expenses incurred, and the fact that medical insurance will not cover the entirety of my visits, hospital stays, chemotherapy and potential interventions and treatments that my oncologist and his colleagues are considering for my case currently and Lord forbid, in the event that the first level of treatment options do not work to treat the disease. Surgery to remove the liver tumors is currently being discussed to be carried out in parallel to the chemotherapy. My Sick Leave is already exhausted and should the surgery go forward, I will not be covered financially during my recovery period. I want to thank everyone in advance for their consideration towards me and my family during this very difficult time for us, especially now that the Holidays are approaching which is a time when our family, like yours, comes together to celebrate the miracle of the Lord and the sacrifices He made on our behalf. May God bless you all!
- Gina Lizardi
- Heather Bezek
- Debbie Gundersen
- Blanca Palacios
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