When Shaundra was 16 she was diagnosed with MS. At the time she was the youngest person to have that horrible disease.
As the years rolled along I watched the family cope with problem after problem, never losing their faith.
About 8 years ago Shyam ( or Rana as most of us called him) was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer. He, ultimately, lost his hard fought battle in 2012. Michelle lost her job during the Great Recession and was unemployed for much of the time. The family struggled to keep their heads above water while mourning Rana’s death.
In 2014 Michelle was diagnosed with Colon cancer. It took a while but she was able to finally beat it. She also secured employment and was feeling pretty good about life considering that Shaundra was, by then, confined to a wheel chair.
Friends and family helped out through the years to keep the Rana home in working order.
This past March Michelle started losing her voice. She went to doctor after doctor being told there was nothing wrong with her.
In desperation, Michelle visited her old Oncologist. Not only was she not OK, she had thyroid cancer. About two weeks ago she called me-she had to whisper because she could not talk normally. She told me that the cancer was throughout her throat and that the doctors thought they would have to take her thyroid, trachea, esophagus and vocal chords.
When I asked her how she was doing she replied: “Right now I just want to cry. I am being told we need a new air conditioner, I need to get my air ducts cleaned, the upstairs toilet is messing up, we need a new car, the dryer is broken, and Shaundra backed into the patio doors with her wheelchair and broke the stationary glass. I am also so scared about the results of this surgery. It is all hitting me”.
Michelle has been driving her 1972 Toyota Carina that she bought new when she graduated college.
I need to say here that through all the trials she has been through over the years I have never heard her say “poor me” or in any way feel sorry for herself. Her faith has been unshakable.
On July 30th she had surgery. It went better than the surgeons hoped for but they weren’t able to get all of the cancer and still leave Michelle with a portion of her trachea and her esophagus. She started a 7 week radiation program yesterday, Sept. 17, 2018 and later she will be taking a pill with radiation iodine in the hopes of killing the rest of the cancer. She has a rough road ahead of her with this treatment regimen. She will need Botox injections for the rest of her life because she only has one vocal chord, the cancer paralyzed her other, and it must be inflamed in order to produce the vibrations needed to talk.
Friends are helping to take care of the issues in her house but there is still the problem of transportation for her and Shaundra.
Michelle is not able to drive the Toyota anymore because she can’t use the clutch due to arthritis in her knees. She desperately needs a new vehicle. It would be great if she could find something that is wheelchair equipped. The van she uses to transport Shaundra has no air conditioner and the windows don’t roll down.
Please donate if you can, anything will help. And please, please share this fundraiser for an amazing woman.
Update: they found 2 types of stage 4 cancer in her throat. She really needs a reliable vehicle and any help is appreciated greatly.
The toilet has been replaced and new glass was installed in the patio doors by friends recently.
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