Welcome to the fundraising page of Simone's Soldiers! :-)
My story: Late June of 2011 I was hospitalized with a kidney infection and a small kidney stone. During the hospital work up, a "strange mass" was found on a CT scan, so further testing was ordered. A second "strange mass" was found on an MRI. I was told both were located either on or around my pancreas. Worry and panic set in immediately, I was only 22 years old, and life was just starting for me. I had a new baby, a new job, I was living a "normal life." After a week in the hospital seeing many different doctors and specialists, talking about all types of testing, I was told "unfortunately we are not sure what we may be dealing with so you should see a specialist in Philadelphia for this." I began my journey at The University of Pennsylvania where I met the man who saved my life, surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Drebin. We met and he reviewed all the imaging and hospital records. He said he was not sure what the masses could be. I broke down and cried. He was the best of the best, the head of that division and I thought my life was over now. He told me based on my age, it could most likely be something benign and would perform a small procedure to get a better view and remove it if need be. We talked about a minor laparoscopic procedure, and I left with the thought that everything would be ok, it's just a small procedure. July 5, 2011, the day came for the procedure. What started off as a laparoscopic procedure turned into a major surgery, The Whipple Procedure. During the laparoscopic procedure, the doctor discovered those masses to be spreading and he was very certain it was cancer (which the biopsy results that later came back did confirm) This was all so unplanned, it was never talked about, it was traumatic and unexpected. It was unfair. I never got to process anything or make any decisions. The worst part was not knowing what even happened to me while I was under anesthesia for what I believed was just a "small procedure". I had most of my pancreas removed, my spleen and gall bladder both removed along with what you could say was a reconstruction of my entire GI system. Yes, I am sooo thankful that it cured me of my cancer, but it also left me with many chronic health conditions, left me with so much physical and emotional pain. I am diabetic and have to take pancreatic enzymes in order to eat food since I have such little pancreas left. My health has never been the same, but I am alive! I was almost given a death sentence. It will be 12 years that I have been cancer free. Many surgeries, struggles, and triumphs later, I am thriving. I have 3 wonderful kids who are my world, I have gone on to continue with my college degree, and I work in the mental health field counseling and supporting others going through hard times. Life has not been easy, but I am blessed!
Simone's Soldiers walk in stride!
PanCAN PurpleStride is for everyone, and we’d love for you to join our team! Just click the Register button at the top of this page and follow a few easy steps to get set up. And anyone who registers and raises $50 will receive an official PanCAN PurpleStride 2023 T-shirt!
Thank you for your support!