Sweet Vanilla Bean. When she got back to us she asked us to share her story ... "That's all I ever wanted to do," Ashley says, " to help people, especially those who also suffer from this awful illness." So her story is below and in case you feel like helping, the link to her Go Fund Me is above.
- - -"At the tender age of 22 is when I first started feeling a lump on my right side. I thought nothing of it and my mother didn't either. But within just two weeks it had noticeably gotten bigger. I went to the doctor had a CT scan, (the doctor didn't even want to show us the CT scan because it would scare us). Instead she set me up a colonoscopy right away. The biopsies taken from colonoscopy came back positive for not just cancer, but a rare fast-growing type called signet ring cell carcinoma. We didn't know what stage until surgery. My surgeon did the best he could, but it had spread to a very difficult area around the duodenum, so he was unable to get it all. He was devastated, as were we when he told us I had a 20 percent chance to live. For 6 months, every other week after surgery, I had FOLFOX chemotherapy (awful, awful stuff). My hair thinned but didn't all fall out, which was one small blessing. After the chemo and Avastin treatments, the PET scan was coming back clear! Fast forward to when I was 27. I had just gotten engaged, traveled across the world with my modeling career and did some amazing things. I started having pains in my abdomen and ended up getting jaundice and running a very high fever. Had to go four times to have a stent placed in my bile duct that had a stricture around it from a “mysterious mass.” All four stents failed. They finally figured out it was cancer. It was all over. I ended up having one of the largest surgeries you can have, plus some more surgery. The 8-hour Whipple procedure took a huge toll on my body. It still does today. Then I had 6 months of chemo again, and a month of radiation. I wasn't the same this time and took almost two years to feel almost 100 percent again. James and I got married and it was wonderful. I was cancer-free and we felt on top on the world (despite the medical bills piling up). Before we were married though, I was asked to be on the show “Say Yes to the Dress” to share my story and they gave me a gown!
Things were starting to finally turn around, when I started having these AWFUL intense pains every now and then. No one could tell me what these pains were. Thankfully they would only last for about 30 seconds. For a year I had these pains, and they were getting more and more frequent. My tumor marker had been going up but nothing was showing on the PET scan. I had to have my kidney removed back in February and it came down a little right after, so we thought that might have been causing it. We were so happy because we thought for sure it was cancer again. Soon after, in April my husband and I were flown to Nashville by the organization Fight Colorectal Cancer. They had a One Million Strong event and banquet and auction and we were asked to speak on a panel called "Media Mavens” because of my career in modeling and TV. Soon after, I had my last attack … but it didn't last 30 seconds, it came and it stayed. I couldn't move I couldn't breathe. I could only pray to God to take me right then just to make the pain stop, that's how bad they were. It makes you drop to your knees. My husband called the ambulance and I had my first ride to the ER in one. Until now, we always drove, but I literally thought I was going to die right on the bathroom floor. He had to carry me to stretcher. The CT they did in ER showed what my routine PET scans were not showing. Cancer again. This time they told me what I feared the first two times—two words that were like bullets to my heart—“inoperable” and “incurable.” The first round of chemo was around my birthday in May (this time they have me on Xeloda), I dropped to 80 pounds (I'm 5’ 9”) and my oncologist told me I was going to die very soon if I stayed like this. So I went on TPN (feeding tube), but then got an awful blood infection and painful swelling in my feet and legs. I had to stop the TPN and chemo for a few weeks. This was just last month. All of that has now been resolved and the times I take my chemo have changed (every other week instead of two weeks straight) so I can tolerate the treatments better. And then we found y’alls “miracle drink” as I am calling it, sitting on that drugstore shelf. It's like we discovered it at just the right time! See, its extra hard for me to gain weight because my body doesn't absorb nutrients as well. Having part of my pancreas out has eliminated the enzymes needed to absorb the nutrients from food. I have even been teaching nutritionists about better things for us sick folks to be putting into our bodies. You would think they would know, but every single one always suggests Boost or Ensure! I refused to drink those because of all the cancer causing stuff they put in them, so I was so happy to see there was an organic kind like Orgain out there. The nutritionists do listen, and always ask where they can get your drinks. Your Sweet Vanilla Bean is so easy for me to drink, even when I’m not feeling well. I have been drinking three to four a day and have been able to put weight back on and am strong again because of it. Your drink has, in a way, been a lifesaver for me. Please keep making organic products like this; they have helped so much! Again, thank you from the bottom of all our hearts! We all will continue to point people in the right direction for organic nutrition. My dad actually works for a pharmaceutical company (has worked for many actually) and he has been telling folks about your products and company as well! We so appreciate the help, and of course all the positive vibes and prayers! Love through God. Ashley McRoy-Disney (Yes, my husband has a awesome last name!)