Profiles of Sarcoma: Apryl

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My name is Apryl Dixon. I just turned 25-years-old on May 2nd, 2014 and I have cancer. Just writing the words are almost as stunning and surreal as the diagnosis that confirmed my new reality on May 20th, 2014.

Before May 20th I was a typical fun-loving 25 year old, with a free spirit and a creative mind. I had a career that I loved as a Respiratory Therapist, I travelled, enjoyed the simple pleasures of life, loved exercising, dancing, spending time with family and friends and caring for my beloved pets, Shadow, Mocha and Titanium.

My positive attitude and my faith has always been the mainstay of my life. I relied on that strength after I moved to Virginia in early 2012 and I began to experience leg pains with increasing intensity. Throughout that year I visited various doctors ranging from orthopedic specialists to acupuncturists. All had the same diagnosis, a sports-related injury or sciatica. An MRI conducted in late 2013, while I lived in VA, showed no serious problems, which seemingly confirmed this diagnosis.

My return home to Atlanta in 2014 was bittersweet. While it was wonderful to be home again with my beloved family and friends, the increasing pain in my hip radiating down to my right leg began to make my mobility very difficult especially at work as a respiratory therapist. As the months passed my pains became debilitating and nothing relieved it. I also felt a palpable mass in my gluteus muscle, which seemed to be growing. My new doctor in Atlanta ordered an MRI with the hope of finally diagnosing the problem. The MRI result of May 7th, 2014 was shocking. It showed a large tumor growing in my gluteal/hip area which was causing the excruciating radiating nerve pain down my right leg into my toes.

The next step was a biopsy, but my family and I remained optimistic that this was a benign mass. On May 20th, 2014 my world turned upside down when I heard the words that literally took my breath away and changed my life. I had a high-grade synovial sarcoma, which is a very rare type of cancer. The tumor was so large that I needed possibly months of chemo/radiation to shrink it in order for it to be removed surgically.

The awful reality of this devastating diagnosis cannot be understated. I had just started working after relocating to Atlanta and now I find myself in this battle of wills to survive this life-threatening disease. The unique nature of my cancer and its location inhibiting my mobility has made working impossible. In order to focus on healing, I have decided to seek help with the cost of treatments (chemo and radiation), surgery and other medical debts that will be incurred during this challenging time.

My family, friends and I are uniting to raise funds to help with my battle against synovial sarcoma. My focus will be on getting well with both conventional and holistic approaches and the power of positive thinking. I will be documenting and sharing my journey with everyone. I hope you will join me in the fight, because with your support I know I CANCERVIVE sarcoma!

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