N.J. Mom Makes Desperate Plea for Help After Receiving 'Grim' Diagnosis of Stage 4 Colon Cancer
"Dean’s life without me is not a thought that my husband or I can swallow," Mimosa Selimaj wrote of her 2-year-old son after her diagnosis
A New Jersey mom is bravely speaking out and sharing her story after she says she was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer.
Mimosa Selimaj explained on a GoFundMe page that the devastating news came a few days after her 35th birthday and less than two years after she and her husband welcomed their first child, a little boy named Dean.
"On July 13th of this year, my entire world was turned upside down," Selimaj wrote on the fundraiser. "I have Stage 4 colon cancer. It has spread to my lungs, liver and remaining ovary. As a statistic, I am grim."
"I am a young mother, and a short life span of suboptimal quality simply will not do," she continued of her diagnosis. "We are telling you our story because we need your help."
According to the New Milford resident, her health ailments began over the summer when she was rushed to the emergency room "with severe pain in my abdomen."
There, Selimaj said doctors discovered a large mass on her ovary, which they initially believed was from ovarian cancer following "a whirlwind of tests."
"[Doctors] said they had to remove my ovary and I was rushed in for emergency surgery," she recalled, noting that the heartbreaking news also came as she and her husband were planning to expand their family.
"I was horrified because my husband and I had just started trying for our second child," she explained. "The doctors gave us hope by explaining that I could become pregnant with one ovary, but our hearts were heavy."
"As it turned out, this was far from the worst of our problems," Selimaj went on. "Days later, I received a diagnosis that will forever shake me to my core."
According to the American Cancer Association (ACA), colon cancer affects the large intestine and rectum and is slightly more common in women than it is in men.
The ACA reports that the average person has a one-in-20 chance of developing colorectal cancer and that approximately 148,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with this specific type of cancer each year.
Upon hearing the news, Selimaj said she was "paralyzed from shock" and "in a constant state of tears," especially at the thought of not being able to see Dean grow up.
"I thought about my baby, who needs his mother. I thought about all of the milestones I have witnessed in his short life, and the many more which lie ahead," she wrote. "I thought about our delightful, ordinary days. Seeing his eyes light up at cars and trucks. His hugs. Dean’s life without me is not a thought that my husband or I can swallow."
In the time since that day, Selimaj has been undergoing chemotherapy and transitioned to a vegan diet "under the direction of a nutritionist who challenges traditional approaches to cancer and food," according to her GoFundMe.
"My husband is becoming an expert in my care," she noted on the page. "I also continue to be an active mom to Dean, who is blissfully unaware."
However, the mother of one explained that she is still very sick from her treatments and recently learned that her insurance won't cover critical parts of long-term care, including alternative and integrative therapies and experimental trials.
"In the coming months, I need to travel nationwide to get treatment from doctors who don’t accept my insurance and receive medicine that is not covered either," she explained. "I will undoubtedly need primary care from my husband, who will have to take time off without pay."
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"The financial costs we face are staggering, but we are strong and determined," added Selimaj. "We will not give up without a fight that will make our son proud."
In order to assist with those expenses, Selimaj created the GoFundMe page, which has raised over $320,000 so far.
"If you can make a financial donation to help us, we will forever be grateful," she wrote on the fundraiser. "Our son will grow up knowing the goodness in others, who gave his mother a chance to continue fighting to be here for him."
"Every little bit helps," she added, asking others to share her fundraiser if they are unable to donate at this time.
Those interested in helping Selimaj with medical expenses can so do here.