Ashley Williams

Patient Leader

And in an instant, my life changed… I made my way to Miami for a second opinion on a leg injury from a car accident 5 months prior. I was unable to walk, but FULLY expected my diagnosis to be a torn meniscus and a Baker’s cyst. I told myself “all I need is surgery and then this will be behind me”. I will never forget the shock of 11/11/2015. My MRI scan showed something very wrong. A large glowing mass that was all tumor- Active Aggressive Fibromatosis of the left popliteal fossa. A type of desmoid tumor. A type of sarcoma. A type of "cancer". Complete with a nearly strangled artery, that must be treated NOW. A tumor requiring chemo was the LAST possibility in my mind. “I need a biopsy, why?”, “I’m sorry, I have what?”, “What does aggressive mean?”, “I need 24 weekly rounds of CHEMOTHERAPY?” — I’m sorry, I think you have the wrong person, car accidents don’t cause cancer! After two rounds of chemotherapy and relearning to walk through extensive physical therapy, I walked into my orthopedic surgeon’s office 12/11/2018 for a determination on whether or not I would continue with chemo, or be done for now. All I heard was “decreased vascularity”, “increased collagen”, “the tumor is so dense it’s absorbing all the waves”. These comments were soon followed by cheers and thumbs-up from all 8 doctors and nurses. My tumor responded well to the treatment, and it was his recommendation to stop chemo. Cancer doesn’t take a break. It’s been on my mind every day for four years. It’s an everyday choice to fight. I’ve tried my best to not let cancer define me, but instead motivate me to use my experiences to help others overcome their seemingly insurmountable obstacles. We only get one life. I want us all to LIVE it well.

Location

Pompano Beach, FL

Nominations

Best Kept Secret
Ashley Williams

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