Julie's Story: Against All Odds
The motivation to keep fighting no matter the disasters life throws me makes me a Beautiful Disaster.
I identify with Beautiful Disaster because I myself live with crazy flaws and I've always wanted a brand of clothing that wants to empower women instead of tearing each other down.
My story is surviving stage four cancer due to NF, In February 2019. I had left a very abusive marriage. Before I left, I had accidentally hit myself in the face, pulling up my blankets. I felt instant pain, and it lasted for months, but I thought I had just badly bruised my cheekbone. I went to a walk inn multiple times telling them about the pain in my face, and they kept telling me it was a tooth infection and to take these antibiotics, and it should go away. This went on for six months and in those six months, my health drastically declined. I was unable to get out of bed or eat. I slept twenty three hours out of the twenty four hours in a day my best friends started noticing this drastic change and became extremely worried.
I was taken to Grace Hospital, where they immediately noticed something was very wrong with my face. They did a CT scan as well as an MRI, and that's when they found my tumor, which was already the size of a baseball. They told me they weren't sure if this was Malignant or not and to go home, but if I was to get worse to Immediately go to health science center.
Unfortunately, it did get much worse for me and I ended up in Health Science Center's emergency room where they did a minor biopsy on my face. I remember screaming in pain because they did this biopsy without any local freezing, after my small biopsy was preformed they admitted me into hospital for two weeks and during that time I underwent another biopsy and with in three days the results came back with my greatest fear... stage four terminal cancer.
I was completely alone when they gave me this diagnosis, even though I had mentioned I had one of my best friends Shayla and my mom were on their way. I was told to make funeral arrangements and that they weren't going to do anything for me. I'm thankful for my friends and my family who didn't take that for an answer and helped me fight to get another doctor's opinion, during this time the doctors wanted to study me (kind of like a living cadaver). I honestly felt so humiliated having student doctors poking at my tumor because my cancer was so rare to them. After the humiliation of being studied and put on stage, I was given 33 weeks of radiation to my face.
During this time, I got myself into another very abusive relationship where it tore apart a lot of friendships that truly meant a lot to me. At the time I didn't care or love myself enough to realize I deserved better. All I knew is I didn't want to die alone and have my children find me, so I stayed even though I knew I wasn't safe.
On November 12, 2019, I had major life saving surgery where they removed my whole upper right side of my face they removed my eye, eye socket, cheekbone, sinus cavity, upper jaw, as well as all my teeth. I was in MICU for 1 week where I almost died twice due to my breathing tube getting clogged. It was very touch and go and during this time I some how came to my senses and got out of the abusive relationship I was in and started healing myself.
I've had 10 reconstruction surgeries to try and rebuild my face and during that time I met the love of my life Joey who came out of nowhere and showed me I was truly worth true love and showed me I was beautiful despite hating what cancer took from me.
My life still has its upside and downs I lost my full term baby boy in July, but still fighting and showing love to everyone!
Without the love and support from my friends, who took the time to stay with me and take care of me after my surgeries, I wouldn't be here to say I made it.
So at the end of my story, I would like to name the beautiful ladies that stood by me. Thank you to Callin, Shayla, Krista and my beautiful mother. Without you, I would not be here today - I love you all. I am now three years cancer free and marrying the love of my life in September. Keep strong and never give up the fights worth fighting.