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Cindy Montague is in desperate need of a
bone marrow transplant. Last month, she
was told it is the only thing that could
save her life in the fight against cancer. The 25-
year-old has been battling Hodgkin s lymphoma
(cancer originating from white blood cells called
lymphocytes) for the past three and a half years.
But she requires over TT$300,000 to do the pro-
cedure abroad, money she just does not have.
It s been quite a burden, the former special edu-
cation teacher, who lost her job due to her illness,
told the T&T Guardian.
"I was advised by my doctors to have the trans-
plant done overseas either in the US or Cuba
because they have better facilities. I could not
choose the US because it would cost near $1 million,
so Cuba is my only option left," she explained.
"I am not one to beg for help and it has been
very costly trying to treat this disease. Since I found
out I have been doing it all on my own. But now
I really need the help because my finances are
exhausted and I am just hoping that people or
somebody out there would turn on their heart s
light and help me in the fight to save my life,"
In 2011, Montague started having itching that
would mainly occur at nights. Then after some
time she realised the itch became constant. She
visited a pharmacist who gave her an antihistamine
lotion which she was to apply after every bath and
an allergy pill to be administered three times a day.
But these treatments brought no relief. So she
decided to see a dermatologist who concluded she
was suffering from dermatitis---inflammation of
He treated her with an antihistamine injection
but this only stopped the itching for about five
minutes. On seeing this the doctor gave her a long
list of medication, including creams, pills and per-
sonal care items. He also informed her that her
diet needed to change. She was to avoid all dairy
products, and foods that had additives and preser-
"I had to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables
and drink more water and fresh juices. He also
instructed me to stay out of the sunlight as much
as possible as the sun irritated my skin."
Despite following all her doctor s orders the prob-
lem persisted and each time she visited him she
would just receive additional medication. What
made Montague more concerned was the fact that
she now found a lump had appeared on her neck.
Displeased with her dermatologist, she visited
another doctor who referred her to an ear, nose
and throat (ENT) specialist at the Eric Williams
Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope.
After a few tests the specialist concluded Mon-
tague had an infection and prescribed oral med-
ication. He also assured her that the swelling on
her neck would reduce in time with the medication.
But when this did not help, she went back to her
dermatologist who told her the swelling on her
neck had nothing to do with her itchy skin.
Frustrated now, on the advice of a friend, Mon-
tague turned to an holistic medical practitioner
situated in Maraval. He also recommended that
she avoid certain foods including all meats. She
was also placed on some herbal pills, but when
that did not work and the itching persisted, she
tried another alternative healthcare institution in
Barataria. His suggestion of a detoxifying pro-
gramme also did not work.
"It was like spinning top in mud because nothing
was working," Montague said.
She went to one more doctor and as she
described, it was that visit that probably kept her
alive this long because it was his advice that led
to her eventually determining what her problem
"This doctor was recommended by another friend
and he saw the lump on my neck which by then
had grown," explained the Arima resident.
The doctor believed that finding out what caused
the growth on her neck was very urgent and referred
her to another ENT specialist at Medical Associates
in St Joseph.
The specialist performed a biopsy on tissue from
the growth and on December 27, 2012, she found
out she had Hodgkin s lymphoma. Montague felt
confused as that term sounded so foreign.
Help Cindy save her life
has been told
that a bone
transplant is her
last option in her
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