Over the last two and a half years, Lisa Sellers and her family have endured multiple heartbreaks and tragedies.
In just two years time, Lisa lost her sister to an illness, her father in a fire, and also fell ill herself.
Prior to enduring life’s unpredictabilities, Lisa was a travel agent for 30 years, owning her own agency alongside her father.
In an interview with Dearly, Lisa also shared that she and her husband were granted custody of her grandchildren.
She told Dearly:
“I’m hardworking, I had to take custody of my grandchildren that put a lot of stress on a situation where my husband and I, one of us having to watch the kids while the other one works. So we were just working hard when my sister died about a year and a half ago. And that’s kind of when things went bad.”
“I noticed that my fingers, I had like alien fingertips where they all swelled up. I thought, ‘That’s kind of odd, but maybe I’m just dehydrated.’
I continued to work. I was Uber-ing at night, while my husband worked during the day. I noticed I started feeling bad back in November, like the entire week of Thanksgiving in 2017. I had migraines. I never had had headaches, maybe once a year, so it was kind of odd to have this for an entire week.”
After Lisa started feeling better, she began working again. However, it was while she was Uber-ing down in the DC area one night that she fell ill again:
“I stopped in Arlington and took a little break and decided ‘I’m not feeling that great,’ I’m going to go home. So I got on Route 66 and I started seeing double on the signs and everything. I had to drive the whole way to Leesburg with one eye covered. It wasn’t good at all.”
Once the double-vision subsided, she took herself to urgent care where doctors told her they believed she had a stroke. But that didn’t seem right to Lisa, who didn’t feel like she had a stroke, but rather vertigo.
“I tried to diagnose every possibility, other than cancer and brain tumors. It just didn’t work out.”
Not long after her visit to the ER, Lisa lost her equilibrium and her ability to walk. It was then that she knew it was time to visit a doctor:
“I took my own advice. My sister, on her deathbed, was refusing to go to the hospital because they couldn’t get healthcare for another five weeks. She said, ‘You know we don’t have insurance.’ I was like, ‘This is your life, go. It’s only money, money or your life.’ She refused to go. And I let her husband kick myself and my mother out of the house and she died that night.
That was basically the drive behind everything and not go down without a fight.”
It wasn’t until the day after Christmas 2017 that Lisa learned what was causing her to feel ill. She told Dearly:
“I went to the hospital and they looked at me and said, ‘How long have you had cancer?’ And I said, ‘Cancer?’ I didn’t know anything about having cancer.”
Lisa was diagnosed with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer, which had spread to her brain.
By New Year’s Eve, Lisa underwent 12-hour brain surgery to remove what they could of the tumors.
Shortly after the surgery, the grandmother began radiation before undergoing seven months of chemotherapy.
Unfortunately, the chemotherapy wasn’t working the way it should have, so she began a treatment called immunotherapy.
As Lisa’s sister, Jenny, wrote on her GoFundMe page, Lisa was forced to pursue other treatments she couldn’t afford after being told immunotherapy wasn’t working either, until doctors took a second look:
Her doctor called her and told her that his assistant was looking at an old scan and upon a second look the immunotherapy IS working! Her lung tumor showed shrinkage so she was again invited back on the trial she had previously been kicked off of. The treatments DO also reach the brain so we are hopeful that the ten tiny tumors will also shrink with further treatments.
However, although her team of doctors has continued with immunotherapy, they are still looking for other options as Lisa continues her fight.
Yet despite being diagnosed with cancer and enduring her sister and father’s deaths all in the span of just two years, Lisa has vowed to keep fighting.
She told Dearly:
“You got to keep fighting. If you give up, you’re done. I’ll do whatever I have to do.”
She added, “Don’t give up, is what I say. We’re just fighting.”