Pregnant with her first child, 24-year-old Ilene joyously prepared to be a new mom. But in her eighth month, tragedy struck and Ilene lost her baby. That loss may have saved her life. Ilene didn’t know it, but a massive sarcoma was quietly and steadily growing within her.
Two weeks after her dreams of motherhood were shattered, Ilene would receive more devastating news. Leiomyosarcoma had invaded and was taking over her body. Enduring four surgeries and months of chemo and radiation, Ilene lost part of her, liver, breastbone, and her entire diaphragm in the battle to save her life. It was a miracle that they were able to remove the tumor without touching Ilene’s heart.
Ilene fought and struggled for over a decade, but is at last cancer free. The treatments available to Ilene at the time were harsh and unforgiving. “While in treatment, to save your life, you never think about the long term side effects that treatments will have on your body,” Ilene said.
Ilene knows first-hand that there needs to be increased and more current treatment options available. In this day and age this is unacceptable and needs to change! “With the help of organizations such as the Sarcoma Foundation of America, this can be changed, but only with the help of funding. We must find better treatment options and cure for this devastating disease,” said Ilene.
In addition to being the SFA Wednesday Warrior, Ilene was also featured in the Sarcoma Awareness Month letter sent to all SFA members. You can view that letter here.
If you or a loved one has been impacted by sarcoma cancer, we encourage you to share your story. Sharing your story can be such an inspiration to others who are dealing with sarcoma in their own life and remind us all of the urgency to find better treatments in order to make an impact on the devastation that sarcoma cancer brings. Let your experiences help others become involved with raising awareness!