In a tweet posted on Friday, Rose O’Donnell revealed that her longtime girlfriend, to whom she got engaged last December, is battling a rare and potentially fatal disease.
“b4 the tabloids run it,” read the tweet, which included a link to a poem that appears to have been penned by the former talk show host. In the poem, O’Donnell reveals that Michelle Rounds, nicknamed “Mish,” is currently recovering from surgery remove desmoid tumors, “a non cancer that acts cancerous.”
According to the Desmoid Tumor Research Foundation, the tumors arise from connective tissue and are locally aggressive. Though they do not have the capacity to metasize, or spread distantly, throughout the body, they can grow into and destroy adjacent normal tissue, including bones. Most doctors consider desmoid tumors to be benign, not malignant, though tumor-related destruction of vital structures and organs can be fatal.
“Only 900 cases a year in the U.S., an orphan disease – beyond rare,” writes O’Donnell. “Only 3 people per million get this. Michelle is one of them.”
Rounds is apparently “getting stronger every day” since undergoing surgery in June, but the unexpected medical drama has forced the couple to postpone their wedding to next summer. “Life changes in an instant,” says O’Donnell.
O’Donnell and Rounds are now asking for donations to the Desmoid Tumor Research Foundation in lieu of wedding gifts. Read more about the disease here.