Eileen is a fun loving, active, passionate and very involved student who is in her third year at Virginia Tech. She is a Psychology major with a Medicine and Society minor, and is planning to attend Physician Assistant graduate school in the near future. Eileen is involved with many organizations including the Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity, the Pre-Physicians Assistant Club, and the International Service Learning Club. She recently became a Certified Nurses Aid and started working at a nursing home to better prepare for her career in the medical field. She is known and loved for her positivity, strong will, and caring nature. Unfortunately, three weeks ago, life gave us a very humbling turn along Eileen's journey when she was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma.
In early November 2015, Eileen began experiencing extreme back pain. Two ER visits later the doctors assumed that she had torn a muscle in her back after being diagnosed with bronchitis. She was sent home with heavy pain medications to help her recover; however, the pain continued to worsen. Eileen then began feeling numbness and tingling in her legs and toes and walking became extremely painful and difficult. On November 19th, an MRI revealed a mass on her spine that was compressing nerves, causing the numbness and difficulty walking. She was rushed to Lewis Gale Medical Center in Salem, Virginia to undergo emergency spinal surgery. Doctors found a tumor along four of her vertebrae that was compressing her spinal cord. Three and a half hours later, the tumor was successfully removed (the procedure performed is called a laminectomy with a complete resection). Our family took Eileen home five days post surgery. Two weeks later we were told that the tumor was, in fact, malignant and Eileen was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma. This is shocking news that our family is currently still processing.
Ewing's Sarcoma is a very rare bone or soft tissue cancer, predominately diagnosed in children and adolescents. We have learned there are roughly 200-300 new cases of Ewing's Sarcoma diagnosed in the United States each year. There is no direct cause of this cancer, but unfortunately it has a very high risk of spreading (metastasizing) to various parts of the body. Eileen is still in the process of completing all the necessary body scans to determine whether the cancer has spread.
While the last month has been tremendously difficult for our family, we know the toughest days lie ahead. Eileen will undergo 9 months of intense chemotherapy and radiation beginning the week after Christmas at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. While completing her chemo regimen, Eileen will also continue physical therapy to strengthen and regain feeling in her legs. Despite receiving invasive back surgery less than one month ago, it is a testament to Eileen’s strength that she is already capable of confidently walking on her own.
While our family is extremely blessed to have health insurance, there are still many out-of-pocket expenses that we have and will incur on Eileen’s long road ahead. For example, Eileen is in the process of freezing her eggs due to the effect of chemo on fertility. Your contributions will help our family cover the many unexpected (and expected) costs that arise, including transportation costs to and from D.C., fertility treatments, physical therapy, and making Eileen more comfortable both in the hospital and at home.
Thank you for your thoughts, prayers, hugs and well wishes. Your support means more to our family than you know. Happy Holidays.
This long road has taught our family so much, particularly of the profound love and generosity of our community. We are so thankful for each and every person that is reading this update and has supported Eileen and our family through this entire journey. The amount of love we have felt this past year from friends, family and complete strangers has been truly remarkable. To express our sincere gratitude we are hosting a cookout at the Fauteux home on Sunday, September 18th, from 2-6pm. Please, feel free to drop in at any time! Just make sure you come hungry, thirsty, and ready to celebrate the end of Eileen’s treatment and the incredible gift of community.
If you are unsure of our address, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for details.
Robert, Peggy, Vanessa, Lauren and Nicole
In Baltimore the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults gave Eileen a free gym membership to Under Armor which was great! Eileen continued her physical therapy and attempted several new complex exercises, like boxing.
Unfortunately, the chemo has caused neuropathy in Eileen's feet on top of the nerve damage to her legs from the tumor. So, she continues to stay as active as her body will allow in order to rebuild her muscles and stay strong for the chemo.
This summer Eileen will be taking an online Anatomy and Physiology class through Virginia Tech towards her Psychology major. As soon as she finishes her treatment this Fall, Eileen plans to head straight to Blacksburg to join her friends with high hopes of graduating on time next Spring.
Thank you for the continued thoughts and prayers. We are SO grateful to be surrounded by such a strong support system.
Peggy, Robert and the girls
The Fauteux family is incredibly grateful for your unwavering support over the past three months. Eileen is at the end of her second round of chemo and has responded very well with only a few minor setbacks. Eileen’s oncologist, alongside a panel of other doctors, identified Eileen as an ideal candidate for proton beam radiation. This particular type of radiation was chosen based on its ability to protect her surrounding organs and the location of her tumor. Starting in April the radiation will be administered for five and a half weeks, Monday through Friday, at the University of Maryland (UMD). Eileen’s chemotherapy regimen will continue during these five weeks and administered at UMD.
Eileen has not yet regained full feeling in her legs from the knees down; however, she has made tremendous progress with her physical therapy. Eileen has progressed from walking to lightly jogging and her strength continues to build.
We will post periodic updates on this site, but if you are interested in following her personal blog please visit: https://eileenfauteux.wordpress.com
Peggy, Robert, Vanessa, Lauren and Nicole
We are grateful to have you in our lives.
Fantastic news! We continue to keep Eileen and the entire Fauteux family in our thoughts and prayers.
Your story & smile have touched my heart Eileen ♡ I know God will Bless you with a Beautiful life♧!!! I can't donate this exact moment since I don't have a credit card but I also have a Go Fund Me for my daughter Khloë who needs an operation so I'll be getting one soon to help you on your journey back to complete health!!! Keep your Beautiful Soul Bright & Shining on us♡!!!