Campus junior overcomes Ewing’s Sarcoma
“I think it was probably shock, this can’t be happening again,” Matthew Weimer said, “Especially when they said that the blood test was fine, but the x-ray was not. And then the biopsy was bad.”
As a parent and husband, Weimer’s pain after losing his wife, Heidi, four years earlier, etched deep into his face, threatening his faith.
“Then they mentioned something about a spot on her lung, and that had kind of been the same sequence with her mom,” Weimer said. “I think it was a little bit of that terrible deja-vu happening.”
Daughter of fourth-grade teacher Matthew Weimer, Lindsay Weimer, ’20, underwent one of her most trialing journeys just last year. Lindsay lost her mom, Heidi Weimer, in 2014 to cancer, and she herself was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cancer in 2017. But her father knew from the beginning that Lindsay’s battle would have a different ending than the one her mom had endured.
Matthew at the appointment for the biopsy had begun praying and encountered a conversation with God.
“There was probably a five-minute window where it was just really fierce and back and forth,” Weimer said. “I felt like God said, ‘I’m not here for the same reason this time, I’m not here to collect her.'”
The way the dialogue between them had started left Matthew with confusion, so he clarified what he had heard.
“It was kind of strange though because it had started off with ‘I’m not the same.’ And I shut that thought down immediately because I know that God is the same always,” Matthew said. “So I stopped and said ‘Ok, wait a minute, what do you mean? Because I don’t hear you anymore, I don’t feel you anymore.’”
Once he got an explanation, he felt peace about Lindsay’s condition and what she would have to go through.
“He said, ‘I’m not here for the same reason, that’s what I mean by I’m not the same,’” Matthew said. “Once he said that to me, I had peace and I didn’t really worry about her the rest of the treatment.”
The pain in Lindsay’s right hip began in Dec. 2016. At the time she was playing soccer, so she attributed the pain to a pulled muscle. But over time the discomfort grew worse and worse until she went into the doctor to get some answers.
“I figured it was just a pulled muscle and would just heal,” Lindsay said. “And over the year it kind of got progressively worse so I finally went into the doctor at the beginning of summer, and then after a series of tests and different scans, they discovered there was a tumor in my right pelvis.”
Lindsay found out it was Ewing’s Sarcoma about two weeks after the biopsy. While scared, she turned to prayer for direction.
“I was really scared, because it was obviously one of the hardest things that has ever happened to me, and I didn’t really know what to do,” Lindsay said. “So I was praying a lot in that time, and asking for direction because I wanted to do what was the best thing for me obviously.”
Lindsay told her close friends almost immediately after finding out in early July. Her close friend Danielle Foster, ’20, remembers the day she found out.
“I was actually at a cheer camp when she texted me saying that she had cancer,” Foster said. “I was so shocked, I told my team to be praying for her, the whole team got involved and we all prayed in a big circle for her. Being her friend, it was hard to understand how such an amazing and godly girl could going through something this terrible. I tried my hardest to be supportive and be there for her.”
Lindsay started her first round of chemotherapy treatments, Aug. 15th. Her first treatment was three days long, but she had also gotten her port, so it turned into a four-day stay. Then, every Thursday, she would go to Valley Children’s Healthcare to get her blood counts. If the numbers were right, she would start treatment that day. Her treatments, if the cycle was going well would be a three-day stay, outpatient, and then a five-day visit.
Lindsay’s hair prior to the treatments was very long, but when she started, she cut it to shoulder length, but as she progressed in her treatments she buzzed it off.
“My hair was super long before, so I cut it to about shoulder length when I first started treatments,” Lindsay said. “And as it started to fall out, I just buzzed it, because it was really annoying constantly pulling out little bits of hair. I think it would’ve been harder to just let it go slowly. It was easier to do it on my own time rather than just waiting for it to happen.”
Math teacher, Angie Counts, felt sympathy for Lindsay, as she knew what it was like, and provided counsel throughout the experience.
“I have an affinity with her because I also had breast cancer and I’m a survivor,” Counts said. “I’ve been through the cancer route, I had the wig, I had the head shaved, so I get the whole thing,” Counts said. “I walked her through a lot of it because I had been there with the whole chemo and the wig. And we talked through when she got to take it off. I’m very proud of her.”
The first round of chemo was three months long and next on the schedule was surgery, and then another six months of chemotherapy. Going into the surgery there was some risk, but Lindsay felt very confident in her decision for surgery.
“At that point, there was a chance that if something went wrong, I would lose mobility of my right leg,” Lindsay said. “So that was kind of a big thing, that could change my life so much. I just went in and I felt such peace with the decision I had made.”
He said, ‘I’m not here for the same reason, that’s what I mean by I’m not the same. Once he said that to me, I had peace and I didn’t really worry about her the rest of the treatment. — Matthew Weimer
Recovery after the surgery was a long road, but eventually she began to progress.
“The first time I walked was really good, from there I had my good days and bad days,” Lindsay said. “Eventually I was able to walk down the hall, which was good because the first day I had only taken three steps.”
Coming home from Oakland provided relief to be home, but much more pain. She had to switch from pain meds through an IV to oral medicine.
“I was in Oakland for about a week so it was good to be back home,” Lindsay said. “It was a lot harder than being in the hospital. Instead of having pain meds through an IV I was just on oral pain meds. They would take longer to kick in, so figured out I had to take it before I started feeling bad pain.”
Eventually, Lindsay was walking easily with the help of crutches, and then she went to using one crutch. But after only about six months she got to say goodbye to the crutches.
Lindsay had already endured a three month round of chemo and an invasive surgery but was about to head face on into another six month round of chemo. She had a conflict with her decision to do a second round, and still had a few more miles on the journey.
Check back on The Feather for Lindsay Weimer shares success story of cancer battle, part 2.
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