Fall of 2012, I was a typical 21-year-old college student in Burlington, Vermont. I lived on my own, worked hard at school and managed a busy life, out with friends or at concerts when not in the classroom or at work. As such, being a bit more rundown and exhausted than usual did not strike me as anything to worry about. As Christmas break drew near, I wasn’t just tired but in pain. My stomach stopped cooperating. Every time I took a step, my stomach would hurt so bad I would stop moving. I had a large lump under my chin on one side, but not the other. I also found myself sweating even with the windows open at night in my apartment in Vermont.
I came back down to New Jersey, and almost immediately began to see doctors to get myself checked out. As time went on, I began to feel worse and worse and wanted nothing but to lay down all the time. Eventually, I found myself in Chilton on Christmas Eve in excruciating pain, with wild stomach and intestinal issues and no idea why. My mother and I spent a few hours there and were sent home with our first of three incorrect diagnoses.
After a few more hospital trips, a few appointments with specialists and a lot of naps and family time, I found myself once again in the ER. This time we journeyed to Morristown Memorial Hospital. I had a wide variety of tests done, spent a few days on pain medication and awaited some sort of answer. At this point, no one was concerned with what the diagnosis would be as much as finding a resolution. So, when I finally heard the words no one really wants to hear, that I had cancer, I have to say I was in a way relieved. I could hopefully meet with the correct doctors now, and find out what I needed to do to stay alive.
Coming Soon - more about Annie's Journey with The Valerie Fund