All the things I have achieved in my life and all that I have overcome has shaped the person that I am today. And with the support of compassionate non profits like Ann's Place I can continue living a full and productive life as a Cancer Survivor. Although I have experienced immense adversity in my life regarding my health, I have been blessed with the support and courage to thrive in its wake. At the age of 14 I was diagnosed with “bilateral renal cell carcinoma” stage 4, hypernephroma. During my diagnosis, it was also discovered that I suffered from “tuberous sclerosis" (TSC) which is a rare genetic disorder that causes benign tumors to grow in the brain and on other vital organs such as the kidneys, heart, liver, eyes, lungs, and skin. In my case, I developed malignant tumors on both of my kidneys and doctors removed my right kidney and part of my left kidney. In scientific terms, a right nephrectomy, left heminephrectomy and lymph node excision were performed. My team of doctors were nothing short of spectacular. I am alive today because of their incredible efforts and dedication to saving my life. Beginning in 2000, when I was 31 years old and until 2005 at the age of 36, I suffered excruciating abdominal pain accompanied by excessive bleeding on a daily basis. I was diagnosed with a severe case of endometriosis that left me bed ridden for 5 years. I could not work nor exercise, my social life was non-existent and I was in constant pain every day. Throughout this time period I underwent multiple conservative surgeries and procedures with a series of OB/GYN physicians. Unfortunately, nothing provided relief or a solution. Ultimately a family friend and client of my mother's who witnessed my suffering convinced us to seek out yet another OB/GYN. This was a turning point in my struggle and I am still a patient of this wonderful man to this day. He performed thorough examinations and implemented a wide battery of tests. As with the other physicians, he recommended surgery. This time however was different. My new doctor cautioned me that once the surgery was under way he may have to make some necessary decisions and take immediate actions in order to provide relief and a solution. This was discussed at length and I whole heartedly agreed to accept whatever decisions he made during surgery. I was ready to get back to the joy of living. During the surgery my doctor discovered I had the beginning stages of uterine, cervical and ovarian cancer. A complete hysterectomy was performed that day. It was the beginning of my healing and of getting my life back. Five years later in 2010 and after one of my regular visits with my nephrologist I was informed that my remaining left kidney was failing and I needed to have a kidney transplant. My kidney function was declining significantly and my creatinine level rose high enough to qualify me for a transplant. In that moment, I felt complete panic and fear. It was as if a truck had just run over me. I was completely devastated and in shock. I had done so well living with just 1/4 of a kidney for 34 years that it never occurred to me that I would ever need a kidney transplant. After 6 long years of waiting for a deceased donor, I was blessed to have found an altruistic donor who was willing to donate one of her kidneys in order to save my life. Today and with much love and support from family, friends and places like ANN'S PLACE I am living a full, happy, productive - and most importantly - healthful life!