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Helping Andreea Stoenescu

Helping Andreea Stoenescu

October 23, 2017 12:00 AM

My name is Andreea, and I have a rare type of metastatic lung cancer. I am 45 years old, I have never smoked, I eat well, have always looked after myself and I love life. Until this year, I hardly needed to go to the doctor, but in September 2017 I was diagnosed with late stage lung cancer and was given 6 months to live. This was a devastating shock. In February I finished a 10 day hiking trip in NZ and by July, I was diagnosed with pulmonary embolism - which is blood clots in the lung. If that in itself is not life threatening enough, 2 months later I received my cancer diagnosis.

While I was undergoing tests, I remember thinking of all the cancers that I didn't want to have (breast, lymphoma, leukaemia); partly because my symptoms were associated with them, partly because I wasn't seen as a high risk candidate for it (lung cancer affects smokers and the elderly predominantly, the average age for diagnosis is about 70 years old), and partly because lung cancer isn't high profile so my view of its probability was skewed. Even when I heard the test was positive for adenocarcinoma of the lung, I thought to myself "phew, at least it's not leukaemia!". How little did I know about lung cancer (the "silent" killer)...

After a few weeks of waiting for further tests and results, my worst fears have come true: I am at an advanced metastatic stage. The mutant cells have rushed to my bones after a journey around my body through the lymphatic system. Perhaps my cells misunderstood what adventure meant to me. Yes, fun and excitement, but in safe and controlled manner! These mutants are turning my body into a poorly maintained joy ride! I appreciate uniqueness, but not in cancer.

What I found out after my diagnosis is that there is no cure for lung cancer. Ever. So far anyway. I could see this as a death sentence since the chance of 5-year survival is 17% in women (less in men). But, this is not when and how I want to go. I would like to climb a few more mountains, start a new career, fall in love again, grow old with my friends and family, learn acrobatics, play with my friends' kids, help others, move into a mountain cottage, be self sufficient, and finally go to sleep one day and wake up on the other side.

The diagnosis still feels surreal. Lung cancer is still in the top 3 of deadliest cancers, however it appears lung cancer isn't very popular. It loses to breast cancer in life prognosis and especially publicity. Not many talk about it even though it is so common. This isn't because lung cancer doesn't kill enough people. More than 9000 people will die this year from lung cancer in Australia, more than double those from breast cancer. By age 85, about 1 in 17 Australians will have lung cancer. This far outweighs the number of smokers in the country. Yes, it happens to non-smokers, fit and healthy people. We make about 20% of sufferers (out of 12000 diagnosed this year). Only about 2% of people younger than 45 get lung cancer. I fall just in this range.

Despite innovating times and the possibility of breakthrough research, there are limited treatment options available to me. In this situation where the prognosis is poor, a drug called Crizotinib has shown promising potential to extend the prognosis from a few months to years. Unfortunately, the government does not currently fund this medication for my ROS1 mutation type, only found in 1-2% of lung cancers. This medication will cost me $7,300 a month, which most of us cannot afford.

I was raised by a strong, loving, single mother who, unfortunately passed away a decade ago. As a result I have become fiercely independent, always planning for the future, but nobody could foresee that I would ever require this sort of financial help. I am usually a very private person, and have found it difficult to share my story and request for assistance.

As every day adds a new symptom, I can feel increasing pain creeping in and I struggle to accept that this is the beginning of my end. It appears the clots were the main initial symptom but these are followed by secondary symptoms, such as enlarged painful lymph nodes, chest and bone pain, and fatigue. These are severe enough that I have had to stop my employment and further studies. I need to start treatment now.

I appreciate any financial contribution you can provide to help me fund this treatment. If however you cannot contribute financially, I would appreciate if you could, in any way, help raise awareness, both in hope of earlier detection, especially in unlikely candidates as myself, as well as persuading the government to subsidise drugs in all conditions where efficacy is proven.

Anonymous
(6 days ago)
$30
Jo & Richard
(10 days ago)
We're thinking of you!!
$200
Andra
(10 days ago)
Incerc sa ma las de fumat.Banii ce i-as fi dat pe tigari saptamana asta ti dau tie.Bafta la cățărat
$10
Nick & Tuuli
(14 days ago)
Sending lots of love to you!
$200
Craig & Anne
(14 days ago)
$100
Sarah & Mark
(15 days ago)
Thinking of you
$100
Todd and Maryana
(15 days ago)
With love. Stay strong.
$2,000
Malouf Pharmacy
(17 days ago)
We are with you all the way!
$20
Michelle
(17 days ago)
Shine Bright
$20
Kate
(18 days ago)
All the very best Andreea
$30
Catriona Ling
(19 days ago)
wishing you all the luck in the world as you go forward
$30
Judy You
(19 days ago)
Wish you could receive the treatment without worrying the financial problems
$50
Maria and Ioan Rimovetz
(22 days ago)
$100
Wayne Liu
(24 days ago)
Stay positive, be strong, fight illness. pray for you.
$300
Simona Varga
(24 days ago)
$100
Natasha
(25 days ago)
Thinking of you 😘
$100
valentina and cornel varga
(25 days ago)
Iti dorim din tot sufletul sa te faci bine si sa mai poti urca muntii.
$100
Arge
(25 days ago)
Love you 😍 . Stay positive and I pray for the best outcome. 🙏😘
$1,000
Alexandru and Floarea Maris
(26 days ago)
$100
Kent
(26 days ago)
Keep up the good fight, where there is light there is hope.
$100
Alex and Gabriela varga
(26 days ago)
$100
Valerica and Iosif Varga
(26 days ago)
$200
Aurora and Iosif Varga
(26 days ago)
$100
David Morgan
(26 days ago)
$75
Melissa
(26 days ago)
Our thoughts are with you Andreea - you are indeed a strong and wonderful person - keep in touch
$250
nik mulconray
(26 days ago)
All the best, my work recently participated in a fund raising cycle event for lung cancer.
$100
Simona and Napoleon
(26 days ago)
Your courage and strength is inspiring. Love you Andreea.
$100
Kevin
(27 days ago)
So sorry to hear of your diagnosis Andreea - good luck with this fund-raising initiative!
$500
sorina and family
(27 days ago)
$200
Gail H
(27 days ago)
I'm so sorry to hear of this diagnosis. I hope some help can be provided to you.
$100
Shannon, Emi and the boys
(27 days ago)
Stay strong aunty Andreea!
$200
The Gillespie family 💟
(27 days ago)
Sending you love and strength Andrea!
$100
Lucia & Hugh
(28 days ago)
To a dear friend and one courageous lady ❤️
$250
Richard and Kate Vines
(28 days ago)
With our very best wishes. Stay strong!
$250
Category: Patient
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