The Parkway Run & Walk is a 5K Run & 2K Family Fun Walk that benefits pediatric cancer research and care at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, ranked the #2 children's hospital by U.S. News & World Report.
Pediatric cancer strikes 1 in 285 children. Your support will directly fund our cancer research and survivorship programs and make an incredible difference in the lives of children with cancer. Please join me on Sunday, Sept. 30 and help us fight childhood cancer!
As many of you know this is near and dear to my heart because at the age of 28 I was diagnosed with a pediatric cancer. CHOP has been my saving grace, the doctors and nurses there are angels and give such hope to everyone they encounter. It is a beautiful day so I hope to see ya'll there!! Below you see my story and how I got here.
My cancer journey started back in November 2015. I was on a wonder vacation in Bonaire. While I was there I began to get horrible back pain to the point that my hubby had to get me out of bed because I couldn't lift myself up. I didn't think anything of it, i just thought it was the mattress and me sleeping weird. The persisted on and off through the holidays sometimes worse than other times. January 2016 it came and never left. The pain would "move" around my body. I couldn't explain what was going on, nothing worked, it was a constant pain. I went to chiropractors and physical therapist to try to get some relief. Later that month Greg and I found out we were pregnant. We had been trying for a while so we were so happy. The pain began to get worse and i began to get very fatigued and my heart rate elevated a lot. i thought it was just an effect from pregnancy.
February 12th 2016 was one of the happiest days and worst days of my life combined in one. That day we went to get an ultrasound of the baby to find out my due date. We got to see the heart beat and everything it was amazing. That night i miscarried. It was the worst pain i have ever felt. At that time i didn't realize it was a blessing in disguise and that little angel saved my life. two days later on valentines day i needed up in the hospital needing blood transfusions. we all thought it was just from the miscarriage. 2 weeks later i ended up in the hospital again needing more blood transfusions. Let me back up for a second a few years prior to this all happening I had been going to a hematologist because i was always slightly anemic. this was another blessing because this man would be the one who figured out through scans and blood tests and bone marrow biopsies what i had. if it wasn't for him i would not be here today because he went against what everyone was saying because it didn't feel right to him.
April 5th 2016 is when i was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma, a pediatric cancer. Its a very surreal moment when you are told you have cancer. You always hear about people having it or even have people that you know have it but you never think it will happen to you. About a week later I met with my oncologist at CHOP. She went through the whole protocol for the treatment and pros and cons of everything. At this meeting she told me because of my age that chemo would prob not work so don't get upset when it doesn't we do have another treatments we can try. Then her last words that day were "we always have hope". I knew that if I had hope that I would get through this, the Lord would get me through. That month I got my port, GI tube, 4 eggs removed, and my primary tumor removed on my pelvic bone. it was a lot of adjusting and getting used to my new "normal". Beginning of May 2016 I started my first of 5 rounds of chemo. I got scans and bone marrow biopsies at the end of my 3rd round of chemo leaving me with half the disease and then after my 5th round leaving me with 12% disease left. We were all shocked because we thought chemo wouldn't work but here we were. The goal was to go into stem cell rescues in Sept. I needed to be less then 10% so i wasn't quite there yet. We decided to do 2 rounds of immunotherapy (low dose chemo + antibodies). After those 2 rounds i had another scan and bone marrow biopsy.
November 3rd 2016 I was at CHOP getting my check up and levels checked. My mother and I were walking around the hospital. I was out of breath so I sat down and here comes my oncologist. She had just tried to call me to tell me my results of my biopsy. She had this smile on her face that words can't describe. She "demanded" a hug! She said she could not believe what she saw in my marrow. I was nervous at this point. She saw nothing not one neuroblastoma cell! NOT ONE!!! I could not believe it. We just hugged because again words couldn't describe how we all felt, we were speechless. I had defied all odds and research. This was a miracle. 7 months after i was diagnosed i was in remission. I even got an early christmas present, my oncologist told me that we could wait until the beginning of 2017 to start my stem rescues. I have now completed both of them. My first rescue was on January 13th and I was discharged on day 18. My second one was on March 7th and I was discharged on day 17. They were by far the hardest thing I have ever dealt with in my life but I got through it with flying colors and well above everyones expectations. I've completed 5 more rounds of immunotherapy!! I've now been cancer free for over 2 years! If it wasn't for the money we raise in this race that they use for research, I would not be here today!! LETS DO THIS!!