Update postedThe good news is (May update, a bit long since it has been awhile and there is much news this time) ....... This past Thursday I started chemotherapy cycle #6, and fortunate to be able to. Some people cannot go past cycle 3 or 4 without having major problems.
This past week though, some of my good luck ran out. Blood work done a week ago Friday showed a low white blood cell count but that was back up again by Wednesday. However, Wednesdays blood work showed a very low red blood cell count. Mine was 83. Normal for women is around 115 to 140, so a blood transfusion has been ordered. The nurse told me on Thursday they are happy when a chemo patient is at 90 and until now my count has never been below 90. Explains the exhaustion I have been feeling much of the time anyway. Hmmm..... Can affect mood too, and explains a few other things like headaches and most days the inability to remain active for any real periods of time. Don't get me wrong. There were some really good days and even up to a week at a time of feeling strong the past 5 or 6 weeks! But even on the strong days if I were quite active as in doing a photo shoot I literally passed out on the couch for a longish power nap after. Now I am told with this low blood count to be inactive and do only necessary things until it is brought back up.
Cycle 6 is bringing me to the end of five months since diagnosis so I am currently going through multiple tests (at least one per weekday till May 30) that will determine how effective or not the chemotherapy has been and provide the information that will be used to determine what comes next. Included are blood work, PET scan, CT scan, X-rays, a pulmonary test, etc.
A BIG change coming up is the switch from the Richmond, BC Cancer Agency to the Vancouver location. I will tell you more about this later so this does not get too long, but this is very positive.
I can only explain the ups and downs of last 5 months as like riding a monster roller coaster! Those who know me best know that even the tamest of roller coasters are just NOT my thing! I am hoping some of that will change and I can find a better sense of normal when I am off chemotherapy. Cycle 6 brings the treatments to an end for a while.
There have been days when I feel so strong and ready to get out there ready to do just about anything that I cannot help but tell everyone I am about to get back to work, only to find myself flat on my butt the next day. Some days I feel so good it is difficult to imagine I am actually sick but a day or two later my body gives me a reminder that I am unable to ignore. Often it is the support I receive from all of you that gets me through those tough days.
By the way, THE biggest UP has been the outpouring of prayers, kindness and generosity from so many that was so unexpected. I know I would not have made it this far without that.
The biggest negative and toughest obstacle outside of fighting cancer itself has been the financial end of things and it remains so for the time being. I originally had details in here but it gets way long and I am happy to discuss with anyone here.
Please also see my PS at the end, please let me know if I can help you by doing some work for you. Much can be done long distance as well.
So thank you all again. I am and will remain eternally grateful for all and any support you have and are able to continue to offer.
Love, Beth (and from Gracie and George too - for helping to keep us three together)
PS: I will contact the couple of you that had photo sessions booked for the first half of June. Those will need to be postponed for now due to the new health issue. The couple booked after the 15th of June should be fine and we will go ahead with them as planned. I will also let you know how much more I can handle the last two weeks of July. And if you need any part time work done by computer like some bookkeeping or data entry I am available and would be thrilled to do some work for you out of my home. We do not have to live next door from each other for me to do that. Tell me what it is you need and I will let you know if I can do it or not.
As I think about getting ready for cycle 5 of the chemo therapy this week, I am reminded of how thankful I am for the kindness and support of my family and friends who have stuck with me through thick and thin. I have no idea what I would have done without you the past 4 months, and will always be grateful.
Finally! Beth received a phone call yesterday informing her that her CPP disability income has been approved! (For our American Friends, this is a Canadian government pension all workers pay into that you normally do not collect until you retire, but if you have paid in for more than 25 years you might be eligible to collect a disability pension earlier.) Beth paid in the max amount for more than 35 years.
Although grateful it will be coming there were two major disappointments.
First, she was under the impression they would back pay to the date of diagnosis which was December 22. Not true. Second, the waiting period is 120 days (not 90 as initially told) so even though she received a letter a few weeks ago stating CPP would be approved within 30 days she will not receive her first cheque until the third week of April and it is to cover May only, no back pay. These misunderstandings put her in a precarious position. Moving forward will be more difficult without the back pay she thought was coming, AND there is not enough money in the bank to pay April rent.
CPP is relatively small and not enough to cover all bare necessity expenses. Prescription drugs alone cost in the range of $450.00 per month. Pharmacare has been applied for but has not kicked in yet and she is looking into some other possibilities that the home care nurse told me about yesterday that MIGHT help cover prescription drugs.
She had hoped to do some photo sessions in March, but needed a minor surgery to have a port installed to assist with the chemo therapy procedure. (Her veins were not holding up to the chemo by IV). The surgery requires 5 or 6 days healing time using up her "good" week in March.
Bottom line is, she still needs our help to win this fight! Please be as generous as you are able.
Also, don't forget to share share share with everyone you can think of that might be able to help out too.
Wednesday I had my second chemotherapy treatment. It is said that a positive attitude along with little stress is as important in beating this ugly disease called lung cancer as the drugs. Your love, words of wisdom, encouragement and continued support are giving me the strength and courage to carry on in such a positive way. Thank you. It is quite over whelming!
It is said that a positive attitude along with little stress is as important in beating this ugly disease called lung cancer as the drugs. Your love, words of wisdom, encouragement and continued support are giving me the strength and courage to carry on in such a positive way. Thank you. It is quite over whelming!
Christine Durgo commented on your page...Beth had her first chemo treatment Tuesday January 29. She is thankful to Cathy Arrigo Gvora for driving her there and sitting with her until she had to go to work and to Jen Goos for driving her home after the treatment. Luckily today she seems to be feeling good. She has no side effects so far, but the nurses say they dont usually show up until the third or fourth day after first couple of treatments. Beths treatments will done in 3 week cycles and she is booked for 21 cycles, so this is definitely not short term. It is too early to tell if she will be able to work, even part time. We are praying that Beth will be able to go on the daily pills instead of IV chemo, but only time will tell. Beth is deeply grateful to ALL who have contributed to this fund raiser so far. It has been such a huge relief for her not to worry about having a roof over her head for February. Beth and her two Gs continue to be a little worried about March. Beth has applied for a CPP disability pension and assistance for prescriptions, which are very pricy, but it takes awhile for these to kick in. Any help will be appreciated no matter how big or small.
Beth Kupka was diagnosed with lung cancer shortly before this Christmas, 2012. Soon after, she found out it had spread to her bones. She begins chemotherapy next week.
Beth is a remarkable, generous and kind woman. She has donated hours and hours of her time to several non-profit Animal Rescue Organizations both by donating to & hosting fundraisers, and by taking professional photos of homeless pets. Her selflessness has generated much needed funds for medical treatments, care, and supplies for hundreds of animals and her photography skills have helped countless animals find loving forever homes.
Currently, after being financially independent since her early teens, Beth is finding herself struggling to make ends meet when she should be focusing on healing, strength and serenity.
She has given everyone so much - now it's our turn to help her. Please be as generous as you are able and let's help Beth win this fight!
Please note that this fundraiser goes directly to Beth's paypal account.