On April 16th 2011, Allison spent her 34th birthday in LSU's University Hospital ER with unimaginable back pain and a 103 degree fever. An X-Ray was taken of her back and that's when they discovered cancer. That day she was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer/ hormone receptor positive. The cancer had severely spread from her original site (breast) to 80% of her bones including her spine, skull, pelvis, both hips, ribs and femurs. Since that day, Allison decided that she would FIGHT, no matter the odds stacked against her. She lost her private insurance two months prior, due to missing too much work but at that time she did not know what was going on with her body. Allison has been fighting this monster with serious lifestyle changes, diet, prayer, positive attitude, and most importantly, help from all of YOU! This April 16th 2013, on her 36th birthday, she surpassed her 6-18 month prognosis. She is still in the fight for her life. She could not have done it without the support from her mother, close friends, new friends and even complete strangers and she will continue to need our help to keep fighting.
Allison is still on the combo of Afinitor (oral chemo) and Exemestane (hormone blocker). Estrogen feeds Allison's cancer, along with other things, which resulted in the decision to remove her ovaries in February of 2012. Allison is unable to have children now. Despite her amazing efforts to fight, it is still spreading. This March, a 7 mm lesion was found on her liver, though too small to biopsy she prays that it stays that way. A recent bone scan in August revealed that the bone lesions had spread to her extremities. Her entire skeleton is affected and there has been more bone degradation in her hips, spine, pelvis, and neck. You can imagine the pain Allison endures daily, which is why she currently takes 300 mg of morphine sulphate each day, just so she can move about. Although her tumor markers are still high and above normal, they are slowly going down, sometimes fluctuating. But as long as they go down that is good. Like all drugs, this combination of oral chemo and hormone blocker will plateau and her doctor will have to find another treatment, perhaps intravenous chemo again. The doctors have been trying to keep her off of intravenous chemo because her immune system is weak and that is also why she does not have a port yet.
Recently Allison’s doctor in New Orleans contacted her to ask her how she was doing and also invite her back into his care to participate in a clinical trial that she is a great candidate for. It will be ready to start next Spring. This is where choices and decisions get harder. Allison moved back to Iowa in late April of this year to be with her mother because she could not afford to live on her own, nor would it be safe. Allison has also been switched over to Medicare, which means they cover 80% and Part B 20% is up to her so now she has even more money taken from her already small disability check. Iowa medical care is not what she and her mother thought it would be. Allison is very depressed and it is becoming financially harder for her mom. Allison has an amazing physician in New Orleans and Allison would love to go back to New Orleans and the city she feels is "home”. Allison is very independent and just wants her health and happiness. She feels she has lost who she is coming back to Iowa and feels best with Dr. Boulmay in New Orleans and the city where she would like to spend the rest of her days. Driving to three different hospitals in Iowa , dealing with the cold because it is painful on her bones, and the financial drain on her mom, was not what we expected would happen. Now this opportunity arises to go back to her caring doctor in New Orleans and be where she feels she is free. She is also closer to M.D. Anderson, a hospital that deals with hard cases like hers.
Right now Allison still needs our help. She needs help getting back to New Orleans and she is going to need help with just plain living. She is aware that everyone has their own lives and personal issues and she does not expect you to donate if you cannot or already have, however, perhaps you know someone who can. Perhaps you would rather help an individual, as opposed to a large organization, and if you do you should know that you are helping a young woman get the proper care she needs, the happiness she needs to feel alive, and the independence back that Allison is so well known for. Allison continues to help others by volunteering, she writes blogs for various cancer sites, and she was a team captain this year for Relay for Life. She helped women receiving chemo for the first time in New Orleans and her drive to help others is part of what helps her through this. Allison believes in paying it forward, because if it weren't for wonderful supportive people like yourselves, Allison doesn't know where she'd be right now. You are all very important to her and her journey towards physical health , mental, and emotional stability. So please, donate what you can, there's no such thing as too little. You are helping a young woman stay alive and be happy. Allison always says she wouldn't have gotten this far without the hope, strength, support, prayers and donations from YOU. Just imagine for one second how extremely hard this has and is for her and her mother. Thank you all so much and may God Bless You.
Allison Sturgill email@example.com
916 N. Central Ave.
Burlington, IA 52601
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