From Patient to Mom: Meet Maeci
When she was 10 years old, Maeci Ray’s parents picked her up from school. A typical bus-rider, Maeci knew something was wrong. As the thoughts of what it could be were running through her head, they arrived home and told her to have a seat. With a deep breath and a shaky voice, they told her; she was diagnosed with stage four Hodgkin Lymphoma (HL).
This type of cancer impacts the part of the immune system called the lymphatic system. It causes white blood cells to spread and create swollen lymph nodes and growths. In stage four, the HL cells have spread to organs outside of the lymphatic system.
The first question Maeci asked was, “Is it curable?” After her family gave her a vote of confidence that everything will be okay, she held her head up high and repeated her motto in her head: “God’s got it.” Maeci didn’t question anything else after that.
The next nine months consisted of chemotherapy, a inpatient stay at Riley Children’s Health, and creating friendships with both staff and other patients. Maeci especially bonded with Lori Luke, a nurse in the oncology unit, and Cheri Lee, her nurse practitioner, among others. “They were always there and so encouraging. It was nice to have someone to talk to,” she recalls. She also met one of her best friends, Gracie, during her stay. As they continued on this journey and recovered together, the two girls created a lasting impact. Maeci and Gracie hosted a hospital tour video created by Riley Children’s Foundation. Maeci had a blast filming the video and wanted to welcome kids who may be experiencing something similar. Maeci also participates in the annual Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) open house and bowling event to give back to Riley.
In the beginning of her path to motherhood, Maeci struggled to become pregnant. Then, during pregnancy, she experienced heart complications that her team of doctors believed to be an effect of chemotherapy. “During pregnancy you have a lot of extra fluids pressing on your heart,” she explains. “A chamber in one of my ventricles wasn’t pumping blood correctly.” Eventually, this led to her leaving her job for seven months while on bed rest. As Riley Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialists followed her closely, she regained strength towards the end of her pregnancy.
Now 23 years old and married, Maeci has welcomed a baby boy, Sutton. She has returned to her job as a processing clerk at the Hendricks County Courthouse, and continues to soak up the joys of being a mom. To Riley donors, the Hodgkin Lymphoma survivor wants to extend her appreciation for their generosity: “The donations help more than they know,” she says. “We are forever grateful for the support and kindness.”