I was diagnosed with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma when I was 40 years old.
I had just met the love of my life, my husband Bill, and moved to Houston from Los Angeles to get married and live in that "white picket fenced house" I had dreamed of my entire life. My world was now complete! I was going to live "happily ever after."
I set up appointments with doctors in Texas to find new relationships, only to find out at my first appointment that something looked wrong. I never imagined what was to come: You have cancer.
Two months later, I started a chemotherapy program. I was numb inside but determined and focused to "win" the biggest battle I had yet to endure.
It’s been 19 years and over ten different chemotherapy treatments. I’ve lost my hair four times, but I am alive today. I am a survivor with a smile on my face as I write this. There are many of people that I am eternally grateful for along my journey of this very long and winding road.
Last year, I was told I had exhausted all chemo therapy FDA approved drug programs and I needed a stem cell bone marrow transplant. But before this, I had to enter a "clinical" trial to help control my tumors.
This trial was a weekly visit to Stanford Hospital and Clinics, where I have been a patient for over 14 years. I travel out of state because Stanford saved my life and there is nothing more important to me than having the best doctors and staff.
The costs of my medical treatment’s, travel and usual and customary fees associated with any health issues are astronomical. I stress over if I will have money to keep myself alive, have sleepless nights worrying about this and have used every cent I have earned and saved to keep myself healthy.
Knowing that this trial was a weekly and expensive expenditure, I was told about Lazarex Cancer Foundation one day by an "angel" at Stanford. I immediately applied for financial assistance which I had never done in my 17 years of battling cancer and Lazarex accepted me. Knowing I didn’t have to worry about part of the financial burden was a huge relief on my mind and body.
My tumors decreased as my mind was put to "ease" and the stress of finances lessened because of the generosity I received from Lazarex.
Dealing with cancer and all the emotions that go with the illness is one thing but to have a "silent guardian angel" as Lazarex was for me such an important part of my recovery. At one point, the clinical drugs lessened my vision and I was unable to travel alone, and without hesitation, Lazarex was there to help, once again, endure the cost of my husband's airline ticket.
My battle will continue as that is what my type of cancer does, but there will always be a place in my heart for Lazarex Cancer Foundation.
Cynthia Shahian Bussey
April 11, 2014