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Vanderbilt nurse in COVID-19 unit now battling rare form of cancer

rachel dill
Posted at 8:27 PM, May 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-23 06:58:54-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The country is just starting to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic, but for one COVID-19 unit nurse, her most important battle is just getting started.

As a Vanderbilt ICU nurse, 27-year-old Rachel Dill is used to being there for her patient's ups and downs. But nothing can prepare you for being diagnosed with cancer.

Just last month, Dill found out she had malignant peritoneal mesothelioma. It's an exceptionally rare form of cancer.

"I have upper abdomen pain, it feels like a crushing feeling," Dill said. "I've been having abdominal pain since 2018 and I knew something was wrong."

She's getting ready to start facing treatments of her own. In order to beat cancer, she will have to undergo several aggressive treatments, including chemotherapy and surgeries to get the tumor removed.

She will start chemo next week for about 21 weeks before she can get her big surgery.

"Hopefully I'll be a candidate for HIPEC surgery," Dill said. "It's this big abdominal surgery to help with the chemo in your belly. I'm not afraid of the needles, but the unknown."

Dill says the next year will be a tough year, but she knows she can get through it with family, friends, and the community support by her side.

Her mom will be moving to Nashville and she's the oldest of three sisters.

"That's keeping me going right now," Dill said.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help her with medical expenses and recovery. If you're able to help out and want to donate, click here.