“I am "Life" cancer is my life situation not my life. My driving Force is survival! Living, Loving, and enjoying Family and Friends, fully present and aware of 'I AM’ “
In 1991, at the age of 34, I was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer called synovial cell sarcoma and was given the prognosis of five years’ survival. This year (2014), I’ll be 58 defying the odds by outliving my initial prognosis and beyond. Nevertheless, survival has been met with multiple surgeries, countless rounds of chemotherapy, radiation, and participation in clinical trials, and yet the cancer returns. A very wise surgeon specializing in sarcoma (now retired) once told me that this cancer would keep coming back, so the goal would be to control it.
After having several metastases and enduring several treatment options, in 2005 I began traveling from Hayward, CA to Santa Monica, CA to the Sarcoma Oncology Clinic, which specializes in sarcoma cancers. This went well for five years, but during this period my husband became unemployed due to company closure. My doctor told us about Lazarex Cancer Foundation and their willingness to provide financial assistance with the costly travel. Lazarex Cancer Foundation’s process was very streamlined and the staff was very warm and caring. This was my first encounter with the program, and unfortunately, I had to discontinue due to my becoming ineligible to continue in the clinical trial. After the trial, I was administered a variety of chemotherapy treatments which either did not work or presented with adverse side effects. We needed to find something fast to replace the failed treatments.
Fast forward, four years later after being off the clinical trial, I am blessed to be back in the same clinical trial I was in back in 2005. I was elated to be accepted, but we were faced with a familiar challenge: how we could financially manage the travel expenses? My doctor reminded me of Lazarex Cancer Foundation and the assistance they provide for those in clinical trials. Words cannot express my gratitude with the response and caring culture of the foundation. Not only did they still have my records on file from previously, but they qualified me expeditiously. Not having to deal with the financial stress allows me to concentrate on healing from treatment. I am thankful for the gift God has given me to continue with my survival so I may be a testimony to help others with such a devastating disease and offer them hope. I am very excited to mention that after my second cycle of chemotherapy on the trial, my CT scan revealed shrinkage in one of my tumors, which has not happened since I was off the trial. I am truly blessed to be back at the Sarcoma Oncology Clinic, where I am receiving the best quality treatment known for this disease and I thank Lazarex Cancer Foundation for providing me the financial assistance to get there. My driving force is survival and keeping hope alive. My goal is to help others do the same!