A local nurse’s journey from health care hero to cancer diagnosis
ASHWAUBENON, Wis. (WBAY) - A Bellin Health nurse who’s used to being a caretaker found herself on the receiving end of care after a recent cancer diagnosis.
" I can’t do anything, I can’t do anything for myself basically.”
28-year-old Chelsea Gwitt, a mother, daughter, friend and nurse of five years at Bellin Health Ashwaubenon, started having pain in her knee several months ago.
“I had fallen off a cliff in September in California visiting my sister,” said Gwitt.
“She had been walking around with knee pain for a little while and it just kind of kept going on, and eventually we were like you know, we should probably look at that,” said family practice Dr. Jacob Meyer at Bellin Health Ashwaubenon.
Three weeks ago, Gwitt went in for an MRI for what she thought was a torn meniscus.
“I’m like well what’s torn, what’s going on, what kind of surgery do I need because I can’t walk like this anymore,” Gwitt explained.
To everyone’s shock, her doctors found a tumor in her leg larger than a peach. She was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer that made her very fragile.
Gwitt was put on bed rest and soon heavily relied on help from family and friends before starting inpatient chemotherapy a week later.
“It’s still not real to me, but it’s a really hard place. Like, I want to continue to pay it forward. That’s why I became a nurse because I had cancer once already,” Gwitt said.
Gwitt has already survived cancer once when she was only a few days old. She was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma in both of her eyes and received treatments until she was four years old.
Medical bills became overwhelming very quickly for Gwitt while living with her father James, who’s handicapped and in recovery after being his primary caregiver for over a year.
“I have to let him take care of me, and that’s just so hard because I’ve been taking care of people my whole life,” Gwitt said.
All while raising her four-year-old daughter, Lucy, at the same time, “I have this beautiful 4-year-old and I just don’t want anything bad to happen,” said Gwitt.
Gwitt is unable to return to work for the foreseeable future and will eventually need surgery on her leg, requiring her to be in a wheelchair and out of work for at least 11 months.
Her close friend created a GoFundMe page to help her with medical bills, transportation, rehab, and most importantly for a wheelchair ramp outside of her home.
“It makes me cry to realize that I’ve touched so many people in a positive way,” she says.
Both Gwitt and her coworkers are looking forward to the day she can return to work again.
“Chelsea’s always been like a huge presence here. I’m talking to her all the time, but I’m anxious to see how things turn out and I hope that, you know, the sooner the better to get her back here,” said Dr. Meyer.
If you’d like to donate to Chelsea Gwitt, you can find the GoFundMe link here.
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