Eighteen-year-old Abby Thomson lives in Fillmore, and goes to school in Montmartre. However, her life has taken a turn recently, with countless medical appointments, a 16-day hospital stay, and chemotherapy around the corner. The soon-to-be-graduate was in pain for more than nine months before being diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
To help out Abby's family, a Facebook group, 'Rallying for Abby' has been created, along with a GoFundMe, and an online silent auction on Friday, February 15th* for which items for donation can be dropped off at Cowtown by February 14th. *UPDATE: this date has been changed to February 29th. Read the full update HERE.
Abby spent 16 days in January in the intensive care unit at Regina General Hospital. With no diagnosis prior, and only one form of treatment for this type of cancer, she begins chemotherapy in Regina next week and will be making regular trips to Saskatoon for PET scans in the MRI machine.
Her mom, Andrea Sigda, said they were lucky to catch the cancer at stage two.
"The cancer is contained to her neck, her upper chest, and her lymph nodes. They believe it is going to take two to six months - six months being on the higher end," she noted.
The fundraisers will help with travel, parking, accommodations, and food while Abby goes through the treatments.
"My doctors here in Weyburn, kept sending me for ultrasounds and telling me to go back every three months and see if anything's changed. That's all that was happening until I started getting pain under my ribs, in my upper chest, and then they sent me for a CT," shared Abby.
"The CT showed the mass of fluid as well as the mass of fluid that was surrounding her heart," explained Sigda, noting the doctors marveled at how Abby was still standing given the amount of fluid that was discovered in her chest. Her spleen and her liver were also very enlarged.
"We're very grateful for everything Regina General has done for her and our family. I camped out in her hospital room on a mattress," said Sigda.
Abby said the lumps originally showed up about nine months to a year ago, and for most of that time, all of the testing done was ultrasounds until January 15th.
"They dropped the ball on me that I had a huge mass of fluid that we didn't know existed."
The CT had been ordered by an ER doctor in Weyburn.
"At this point, we've easily had over 20 doctors involved in her care and well-being," said Sigda. "It's not something that I can say has been easy. Our family, as well as the Regina General Hospital staff, I can't express how much thanks and gratitude we have for everyone involved. I've got four daughters, and you don't realize how close to brushing death we actually were."
"We have no idea what the future holds or how long this battle is going to be ahead of us. But she's got the love of a family and a great community behind her."
"Being this young, especially, like, I've had multiple doctors say, 'I've never seen this in such a young person'. It is scary, to say the least, being an 18-year-old receiving chemo every two weeks for four to six months, and then every two months," shared Abby.
"The amount of CT scans, the amount of x-rays, heart rhythm tests, echoes that she's had in the month of January, we've lost track. It's actually the cancer pushing on her upper chest as well as her neck and her armpit area."
Even before bonding with the nurses at the Regina General, Abby said she had always been interested in a career in the medical field.
"I either want to be a paramedic or a nurse," she shared. "My nurses said to me, 'hopefully this doesn't push you away', but it's going to be helpful in my career path because I know what people go through."