Faces of Castleman Disease

Shumekia Pettiford

I’m Shumekia Marie Pettiford, and I battle idiopathic multicentric Castleman disease. I am 36 years old, a mother of 3, and I was told in 2013 I wouldn’t live to see 35. I have had 14 major surgeries in 3 years to remove lymph nodes from my body that’s been filled with this disease.

I work a full time job and go to chemo right after being at work at night. This has been one of the biggest challenges of my life. My body is riddled with pain every day, and the tired, weary moments that this disease brings are beyond me. But I push through anyway. My kids saved my life. Without them, I would have given up. But because I’m all they have, I decided that day I was diagnosed in 2013 that I was going to fight this. And I’ve been fighting ever since and I’m praying for a cure. I’m praying that I’m the one that shows you all that are battling this disease and any disease that #Godisable. I’m a walking testament that everything is mental. “Don’t let the disease challenge you, you challenge it.”

How I handle the outcome of every appointment and endure chemotherapy is the way I beat this. My mission is to be the first patient diagnosed with Castleman disease to beat it–and to stay in remission whenever it should come. “My afflictions are not to be the death of me but to get my attention.” The CDCN has helped me meet people like me, let me know I’m not alone, that I’m not the only one with the “I don’t know what’s wrong with you” disease and more…. I no longer feel alone because of the summits and the community filled with people that are battling the way I am or even on another level. I’m forever grateful for Dr. David and the team. I needed this. Thank you. #castlemanwarriors #Godisable

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