Gabrielle Nelson | CaringBridge

Gabrielle Nelson The Rebirth

First post: 10/18/2016 Latest post: 10/20/2016
It feels like it was just yesterday that the pain started in the
groin of my leg. As a new resident to Los Angeles, CA, the only thing on
my mind was work, so I could survive in the expensive
city of my dreams. Hobbling to and from my air mattress, during the
morning and night, became quite comical due to my professional and
social life falling perfectly into place.

Thriving at work during the exciting month of September was a
beautiful blessing. I was quickly on my way to being completely
independent, and I was confident that I was going to make it. In
addition to getting all my ducks in a row, I knew it was time to find a
doctor and with my new (and awesome) insurance, I began seeing a
chiropractor at the beginning of October.

With suggestions on better footwear and sitting positions while
working from my desk, I figured this was going to take away my pain and
get me back on track. I did notice a difference in my body’s behavior
but my chiropractor was not convinced. Still recovering from the loss of
my sister, I knew figuring out medial problems should always be a
priority so I decided to find a doctor to run some tests on possible
spinal issues.

My doctor was able to get me in quickly, which was great considering
all the possibilities of sciatica, pinched nerves and spinal problems
going through my head. With an order of a few MRI’s, I was out the door
with hope that this journey was near its end.

During the month of November, I underwent 4 MRI’s of my full body and
lower-back. Results came back showing that I did indeed have a spinal
issue, referred to as “syrinx”, and would need to see a neurologist for
further testing. I was happy to know that this was the case, something I
was born with that really did not have any serious effects. After the
new year, I immediately got in to see my neurologist to get this taken
care of for 2015.

After seeing my neurologist through the month of January, she came to
the conclusion that I only had a pinched nerve and that muscle relaxers
and physical therapy would get me back to normal. Though I was happy to
hear this news, I was still uneasy that this wasn’t the correct
diagnosis. Needing to get back to a busy life, I took my directions and
made plans to celebrate this small victory on Superbowl weekend.

On Saturday, January 31, 2015, one of my girlfriends and I started
the night out with a steak dinner at a beautiful restaurant overlooking
the pier in Santa Monica. I knew it was going to be one of my favorite
nights because of how it was starting out and the plan to go to some of
LA’s biggest nightclubs during such an exciting weekend. It did not take
long for us to finish up dinner and head to our first stop in West
Hollywood.

The bathrooms were slowly filling up with girls taking selfies as we
took in the bass rumbles of our favorite songs and made our way to VIP.
My friend hopped up on the booth as I grabbed the bouncer’s hand for
some help. With one lunge, I jerked back in pain and quickly got
nervous. I was wearing wedge heels so I wasn’t sure what the problem
was. As soon as I grabbed my leg and the bouncer asked if I was okay, I
nodded and proceeded to take a seat. The pain was excruciating and I
just knew I had broken something. It did not take long for me to realize
that a few swigs of vodka wasn’t going to cure this, so I decided to
end this awesome night early and tell my friend I had to head home.

All my friends know I am always trying to keep it classy
so I was more than thankful that this particular club wasn’t packed and
very, dimly lit that night. My friend then asked me, “are you sure you
can walk?” which led to a whole other ordeal of having to be carried out
of the club by a very helpful bouncer. Though I was disappointed that
going home had to be the answer, I assured my friend to stay out and
that we’d hit the town tomorrow for the game.

On the 15 minute Uber ride home, the pain still had not faded.
Luckily, the doctor had prescribed taking 4 Advil, so at that point I
knew I could be strong once I got a hold of the bottle. Pulling up to my
apartment was all fun and games until  I realized how many steps I was
actually walking up everyday. By the grace of God, the Uber driver
carried me up two flights of steps and to my door. At this point, I was sure
something was strained and pushed myself on the floor of my apartment
to my room to avoid putting anymore weight on it. It took about 10
minutes to get myself into bed, about 20 minutes to down the prescribed
Advil and 90 minutes to realize this pain wasn’t going to go away.

Calling 911 wasn’t something I wanted to do at all. The first and
last time I had done so was for my sister Jillien, and the outcome was
not an experience I wanted repeated in this case for my family or
myself. I tried waiting it out for 45 more minutes, even calling the
hospital to see if they could just send me an ambulance lol. Unable to
even change my clothes, I knew the phone call had to be made. Within
minutes paramedics were at my door, racing into my room and asking me
questions. I gathered as many items as I could and sobbed as they rolled
me out of my bedroom and apartment for the last time as a “normal”
girl.

On the way to the hospital I couldn’t help thinking about the
ambulance bill, how much trouble I was going to get in for being
dramatic if this wasn’t a serious issue and how I felt like I was being
kidnapped because I was alone. I had pretty much calmed my own nerves as
I arrived into the ER and was given a room with nice nurses and
immediate pain meds.

The immediate request of an X-Ray came and went, and while waiting I
called my oldest sister to give her an update. We both decided that this
was probably Sciatica and that I would be out and fine to get back to
my weekend social events. As countless nurses poked my arms searching
for a vein, the X-Ray results came in, showing a “cyst” in my left leg.

“oh so it’s just a cyst?” I asked.

“No. It’s not a cyst. Here’s the phone, you’ll need to call someone” she replied.

With other patients screaming behind their curtains, I called my
sister back on my low battery phone and told her the news. With our most
recent family history, there was no way I could tell my parents,
especially since I didn’t believe it myself that I could have been
growing a cancerous tumor this whole time.

Within 8 hours my Dad was at my Burbank hospital and continuous tests
were being run. Under intense pain meds I had no idea what was going on
and was having to quickly adjust from being out and partying with my
friend to asking for help to use a commode in the hospital room. With
one t-shirt and one pair of pants, my dad and I moved on to Cedars-Sinai
Medical Center in Beverly Hills, California, a few days later.

It was a wonderful blessing that the hospital and my surgeon, Dr.
Allison, heavily requested a bed for me, because with the rarity of my
case, there was nothing the previous hospital could do. With family
members slowly trickling in, it took about two weeks for my doctors to
find out that there was a 4 inch malignant tumor in my femur capable of
being Rhabdomayo Sarcoma or Osteosarcoma. My incredibly shocked family
continuously spoke of the odds, due to my sister losing her battle to a
rare kidney disease just 2 years prior. All conversation set aside, my
femur and hip was replaced February 17, 2015, just beginning my journey
with this disease...

PART II

When I found out I had cancer for the second time, I knew something had to change.

My first experience with the disease taught me how to sort through my
life and see what else was eating away from me, besides my tumor. There
were so many lessons I had overlooked learning, so many practices I had
been avoiding and so many things I was forgetting to be thankful for.

However, the fact that this second battle has presented itself has
alerted me that there is something else I must learn. I can tell you
that in 1 week, I have learned more about my body than I ever have. I
have also made bigger promises to myself than I ever have.

As a recent cancer survivor heading to her second battle with this
disease I have vowed to end this war once in for all. I have decided to
adopt a fresh perspective, a deeper faith, a completely pure diet and
acceptance...acceptance that I can win this fight and dedicate it to
someone who could not do so.

I would like to invite all of you to watch me do so. Please follow me on
Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest and watch me beat this
disease in #90Days.

Though I have the support of my faith, family, friends and my amazing
network in #TeamFusion, I need your help spreading the word that this
disease can be defeated.

Join me.

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