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Angeles’ Story

Angeles Gerardo

It’s a tumor, a giant cell tumor. Those are words I will never forget. I still remember THAT morning when the orthopedic surgeon gave me the news. My mother cried, and I was speechless. It was just a few days past my birthday, in 2011, when I received the shocking “surprise”. My mother and I were in denial, how could that happen? I’m such a healthy girl, never had any sickness other than a cold, but a tumor? A year has passed, and I still question about it.

It all started on the first week of July, I was relaxing, taking a nap, when all of the sudden I moved and hit my wrist on the night stand. Nothing happened and I went back to sleep. A couple days later, I noticed a bump on my left wrist, it bothered me bit but I ignored it. As the days passed, the bump started getting a little bigger and more painful. My mother recommended that I go see a chiropractor. So I did. He did 3 adjustments, I would cry every time but he didn’t find anything wrong and told me I needed a scan instead. Two weeks later, a scan was done. I was a little scared when they told me they had seen something that wasn’t right. The next day I was scheduled to see an orthopedist. I had no idea what an orthopedist did until I researched it online. I felt my life hanging from a thread; I walked in the office and took a seat. My mind was going crazy, am I going to die? Am I going to be okay? All those questions kept me thinking of all the things I wanted to do in life. I was terrified.

As my doctor, Dr. Kelley, explained to my Mother and me what a giant cell tumor was, I was in shock. A giant cell tumor sounds scary, and it is. For a minute I thought it was cancer, but thankfully it was not malignant. The scariest part was that surgery, amputation, was the only option. Again, in denial, I didn’t want that to happen. As the days, weeks, months passed, I was in such pain that I just gave up. That pain was the worst thing someone could ever feel! The tumor kept getting bigger, and I kept falling. Everything was lost. I just didn’t have strength anymore, or tears, as I would cry all day and night because the pain was so harsh. Not even the strongest drug could help me. One day I was in the ER waiting area, I got a call from a doctor in Los Angeles, he was my angel! Dr. Henderfar, from the Sarcoma Oncology Clinical Trials Department in UCLA, explained that they could help me, were going to treat my tumor, and, the best of all, for free! He wanted me to come see them the next day, and so I did. I got to Los Angeles, they talked to me about this clinical trial for a drug specializing in Giant Cell tumors. They gave me a shot and my life took a drastic change! The pain was gone, and finally after 5 months in pain, I was able to sleep! I will never forget the day when I finally rested.

I went for a follow up the next day and was informed that I needed to go back every month for treatment. I asked myself, how am I going to pay for all the expenses? That’s where Lazarex came in. Dr. Henderfar told me that I was going to be in good hands, that Lazarex would help me with everything, and so it has. I am so grateful that there are people out there that care about the sick. I don’t know how I would do this without their help. Lazarex has been a great support, always looking out for me and for others as well. I’m proud to say that I’m a Very Important Patient! God Bless you all for helping out hundreds of patients in need!

– Angeles Gerardo