Mom-of-two dead at 34

Melinda Kolodynski visited a doctor to discuss back pain she thought was related to her period. But a year later, the 34-year-old received a diagnosis of a rare cancer that killed her nine months later. She left behind her husband and two sons, a six-year-old and a three-year-old. After her prognosis, she expressed her regret at not being able to watch her children grow up.

“Once again we spend a couple of days with our heads in the pillow, tears streaming down our faces but it’s time to get up dust off, and soldier on because there is a fight to be had and I’m not done here,” Kolodynski wrote on social media after the cancer metastasized to her liver. And the doctors gave her a prognosis she “wasn’t willing to accept.”

Her mother, Tracey McClure, started a gofundme to help with medical bills and make Kolodynski as comfortable as possible in her last moments. But after Kolodynski’s passing, people continued donating to support the grieving family and help with any upcoming financial complications. 

It all began with back pain that Kolodynski easily managed with Panadol. She was able to continue working as an account manager and take care of her family. But after two months, the pain became unbearable. “It was July 2022 and even after taking Panadol again the pain didn’t go away,” said Kolodynski. “By 11 pm, I was in the worst pain of my life. It felt like I was in labor. I was begging my husband to kill me as we waited for the ambulance, it was that bad.”

When the paramedics arrived, they managed to ease the pain. As they approached the hospital, Kolodynski was feeling better and joked with her husband, David, that it was probably just constipation. “I was feeling a lot better but the doctors did CT scans of my pelvis to check,” said Kolodynski. “That’s when they found three masses and said they suspected I had advanced ovarian cancer.”

However, her true diagnosis was much worse. After more tests, she received her diagnosis: angiosarcoma, an extremely rare soft tissue blood cancer. “It’s a one-in-a-million type of cancer which is usually found on the surface of the skin as a secondary cancer,” she said. “Being in my pelvis as primary cancer meant mine was actually a one-in-10-million case.”

But its rare status made it difficult to find effective treatment. She wasn’t suited to any clinical trials. After chemotherapy failed, doctors suggested a radical pelvic exenteration surgery. It wouldn’t cure the cancer but it could extend her life. “But then, at the last minute, the surgeons decided my tumor was too large to guarantee any success, even with this. Now there is no plan,” she said in December 2022. “I know cancer is going to take my life. But I just want more time.”

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