Rare Cancer and Shadows
Holiday lights can come in many shapes: candles, stars, or bulbs. Displays can be simple or downright impressive, clear or colorful. No matter how the lights look, they all bring to mind the meaning of the holidays. Joy to the world, peace on earth, and kindness to all – they light up the night and warm the cold. But when someone has a rare cancer, this bright time can seem unnaturally dark. The disease ravages their body and weakens their spirits.
For a cancer patient like Nancy, the lights may as well have burned out.
Nancy has a rare cancer called paraganglioma. Very few physicians know how to treat it. Worse, it doesn’t respond to chemo. “The local oncologists didn’t know this until I had already gone through chemo,” said Nancy. During that time, a large tumor developed behind her heart. After the failed chemo, they tried surgery – which had to stop before it damaged her heart. Even after extensive surgery, the cancer continued to attack.
Nancy’s best option to treat this rare cancer was beam radiation. However, it’s not available in her local area. To receive this treatment, she would have to travel all the way to MD Anderson in Houston, TX. The renowned cancer center is hundreds of miles away from Nancy’s home.
Traveling would be a challenge in itself. “My husband was my caretaker and travel companion. He passed away in June,” said Nancy. Nobody could help her.
“I didn’t know how I would get there.”
Up and Out
That’s when Mercy Medical Angels and the American Cancer Society (ACS) came to the rescue. A long, hard journey was much easier. “They made the problems tolerable,” said Nancy, “and I had a pleasant experience.”
Nancy said that Medical Angels and ACS “relieved me of a lot of anxiety about traveling to Houston.” Although she still has to go for yearly checkups, she feels confident as MD Anderson helps her fight. “They’re on the cutting edge of cancer treatments,” said Nancy.
With the beam radiation, the rare cancer is in remission.
Lights Keep Shining
Mercy Medical Angels and ACS are powerful allies in the battle against cancer. Nancy’s fight isn’t done yet, but she knows that the two organizations will continue to help her – and people like her. “If you don’t have transportation, they help you get there,” said Nancy.
Nancy said that Mercy Medical Angels and ACS “are a godsend.” Thanks to the flights to treatment, her life is brightening up – just in time for the holidays. Even when cancer casts a shadow on life, cancer patients like Nancy can enjoy the lights of hope.