I'm Aware that I'm Rare - American Cancer Society Fundraiser
Hi! My name is Gayle.
I have a type of cancer called neuroendocrine carcinoma. It’s also been called some other things as carcinoid or net tumors. This kind of cancer is rare and on average it takes 7.5 years to be diagnosed. In my case it took about 18 years. It also looks like IBS, Crohn's Disease, and food allergies.
The zebra became our symbol because those with carcinoid and net tumors are the unexpected. “Sometimes when you hear hoofbeats, it really is a zebra.”
I was told that I had an anxious stomach, rapid/violent digestion, Celiac disease, pancreatic cancer, or that I was overweight and only if I lost a few pounds I’d feel better. I was only diagnosed by chance on my 19th hospitalization in 4 years due to pain and malnutrition. The doctor said he wanted to try a different medication if I was open to trying something new. I had nothing left to lose.
He comes back the next day and asks how I felt. I replied that I had felt better than I had in years. Then he uttered the words “that means you have cancer”. You responded to a chemotherapy drug and you have neuroendocrine carcinoma. At the time, it was so rare that I had to fly from Florida to Iowa for my first scan.
We have lost many talented people to this cancer. Amongst them are in no order: Dave Thomas (founder of Wendy’s), Steve Jobs (Apple), Aretha Franklin (Queen of Soul), and Dustin Diamond (Screech).
Symptoms of neuroendocrine carcinoma can include but are not limited to:
- Hyperglycemia (too much sugar in the blood)
- Hypoglycemia (too little sugar in the blood)
- Persistent pain in a specific area
- Loss of appetite/weight loss
- Persistent cough or hoarseness
- Thickening or lump in any part of the body
- Changes in bowel or bladder habits
- Unexplained weight gain or loss
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)
- Unusual bleeding or discharge
- Persistent fever or night sweats
- Gastric ulcer disease
All proceeds will be donated to the American Cancer Society. Their mission is to sponsor more birthdays. The funds raised help cancer patients get a free ride to chemo, a stay in the Hope Lodge, and since their inception they have raised over $5B in funds for research towards a cure.