Tara's BEAT CANCER NOW Fund
First, can you please take a moment and HIT SHARE IMMEDIATELY so I can have access to as many people as quickly as possible... THEN, PLEASE read my story. Your help means the world to me and my family. Your help will help me BEAT THIS AWFUL DIS-EASE! I know in every way I can I will turn around and help others.
Thank you for hearing my story and for any donations you make. You mean my world! I am asking for a lot, but I can't limit myself. Not this time. I don't have time for limitations. Your financial help will help me:
1. Get a roof over my head that is stable, comfortable , stress free, and healing.
2. Help pay for treatments that are not covered by insurance.
3. Help me pay my bills and groceries.
My story is below. Thank you Thank you for taking a few moments to read it and share it. And thank you profusely for your help. Private message me if you have any questions or other advice.
In March of 2015 on a Friday night I went to have my hair done. My hairdresser found a reddish brown spot with a small black center on the top of my head the size of a half dollar. It wasn't there 2 months earlier. She took pics for me and told me I needed to see a doctor immediately. It wasn't raised, so I couldn't feel it when I showered. I came home thinking maybe I had a tick in my head with a bullseye and asked my boyfriend to check it out. Monday morning I went straight to my doctor. Within a week I was diagnosed with a Very Aggressive Malignant Melanoma. The cells were dividing very quickly. Yes, my hairdresser was right. It wasn't there 2 months previous. I had to have 2 surgeries immediately. One in April to remove the tumor and send it to the lab. The second in May. (Ironically, this week is my 1 year anniversary.) They removed a very large portion of my scalp (like the size of my hand) down to the bone, then did a skin graft so I would have hair. I had 2 surgeons at the same time. 1 doing the above and a second surgeon that remove 6 lymph nodes in my neck to fight the cancers chance of traveling. After my surgery when all of the results came back from the lab the margins were all clear, which meant in the medical world of Melanoma that I was cancer free.
It was so freaking scary! I cried a lot! And I thought I was going to die! I had so many doctor, lab and tests... appointments. It was so overwhelming. It turned my world upside down. I was so thrilled and releaved when I was considered cancer free! So then I needed to heal. I went back to work 6 weeks later simply because I needed to start moving, however, it kicked my butt! My work is physical. December 2015, 7 months later, was the first month that I could function in the evenings after working all day instead of arriving home and crashing. I was seeing the light... of the self I used to know. The holidays were here. I was so happy to be alive and celebrating with my friends and family, but really looked forward to January when I could start having normalcy. It had been a long year.
In January I got a call that my Dad was very ill. He lived 14 hours away very remotely in the Alleghany Mountains in Virginia. He had just been diagnosed with Teminal Lung Cancer. His left lung was filled with tumors and had shut down. He was diagnosed with 1 month to live. I had found my Dad 6.5 years previous after 45 years. He's my Dad. I packed my car and drove to him hoping to assess him and set him up with all that he needed. When I got there, I couldn't leave him. He was so week. He couldn't even make meals for himself or get up to go the bathroom by himself. Hospice is fabulous (so fabulous), but they only come in for 45 minutes 5 days/ week. I stayed with my Dad and took care of him 24 hours/day and made his world as wonderful and dignified as possible. It was the hardest and most amazing time we had together. I was exhausted. It was like 3 full time jobs 24 hours/day. My Dad declined so quickly.
6 weeks to the day on March 8th 2016, my Dad passed into heaven at home in his sacred space. I had given him his wish to be home till the end. I then had to organize his funeral, sell his things and pack up his house. He did not own his house, so I had to empty it right away.
Here's mine and my Dad's hands. I helped him up so many times a day. I took a photo at the time because I wanted to always remember our hands joined.
During the time I took care of my Dad a lump appeared on the back of my neck at the base of my skull. I didn't think much about it. I thought I was over doing it, overwhelmed, maxed out, and very stressed. I was away from my family for 9 weeks exhausted, but I did it. I was so proud of what I had done. I still wasn't healed from my own cancer experience from last year. I looked forward to getting home to my family and my boyfriend. I needed so much sleep and catch up with myself. I loaded my Dad's van with all the wonderful furniture he had made over the years, and my now 2 dogs (I acquired my Dad's) and towed my car back to New York. I couldn't wait to get home to rest and grieve.
Here's my Dad
I left home on January 29th and pulled back into my driveway on April 2nd depleted. For the first week my boyfriend was very distant and it was obvious he wasn't thrilled I was home. I wasn't expecting this reality. I rented a storage unit just to unload my Dad's van because I felt so uncomfortable. On January 19th we decided that we would split. New problem. I live in his house. I was exhausted, blown away, overwhelmed, so sad, and I had just used all my Dad's money to pay his bills. I thought I was coming home to sleep, cry, grieve, be with the people I love and finish healing.
Upon arriving home I immediately went to my quarterly visit with my dermatologist. I had her look at the lump on my neck. I really didn't expect her reaction! She freaked out and got on the phone and called my oncologist immediately! It was actually a little embarrassing! She was adamant that I have a complete blood workup immediately and follow up with my oncologist IMMEDIATELY!!! Which I did. Then a Petscan. I only told one person because I didn't think it was a big deal. Other then tired and overwhelmed I felt fine!
On April 28th my world changed! I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Cancer. I am in shock!!!!! This is so serious! My oncologist has scared the bajeezes out of me! He said we have to be radical in our treatment! And there's no time to lose. (last year my cancer was Stage 1 and that was intense) This Friday I'm hoping to see a Melanoma Surgeon Specialist at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston 3.5 hours away. (not sure yet if my insurance will cover-$800 for 1st consultation) My oncologist says I will need surgery asap. I have 2 tumors right next to each other. 1 in my lymphnodes. I need them both removed, as well as all of the lymphnodes down my neck...then radical treatment. If all goes well I will most likely have treatments for up to 2 years!!!!!
Right now sitting here with my whole world suddenly turned upside down... it is all so way over the top too much! How can the world hit you so hard all at the same time? 3 weeks ago I needed to regroup and grieve my Dad. 2 weeks ago I was upset over my breakup and figuring out moving. This week I need to work diligently at saving my life. And, it seems I won't be working much more. I feel like crap suddenly! My symptoms are increasing quickly!
For those of you who know me, you know that I love life. I love my family and my friends. I was a single Mom raising my family. My kids are 22 and 29 now. I love dancing Tango! I have a small house cleaning business. Mostly I work by myself. I've cleaned so many of the homes in this valley for the last 34 years since I was a teenager. In addition I've been very involved in my community for years and have given so much time to make a difference. I give my heart and soul to all that I love.
Now I need your help. I need a roof over my head that is solid and stress free so I can thrive as best as possible, cope, and heal. According to my oncologist it looks as though I will have surgery shortly. Probably the next couple of weeks, and the treatments radical. I need to be wise and proactive immediately! I know it's asking a lot, but I have found a house that appears I could acquire for only about $75,000 and it is move in ready and adorable! I really want this house to heal forward in.
Theses are my reasons to thrive. My son.
My daughter and grandchildren.
PLEASE hit SHARE IMMEDIATELY if you haven't already so my fundraiser can be seen by many. Thank you for hearing my story and sharing. And Thank You Thank You for your kind help!
People often ask me, "What are your coping skills for getting through stage 4 cancer with such a good attitude?" "How is it that you deal so well?" So, now I am working on writing a book!!! This is my subject matter! Coping & Thriving Through Stage 4! It feels gutsy I know, but I feel strongly that this is exactly what I should be doing.
I am asking for your generous financial support to help me purchase a new laptop that is small, portable, current & efficient both online & offline. I need to upload & download large files efficiently & quickly, create documents, save files, photos & videos, as well as post to social media. I need a laptop that is as current as possible.
I want very much to use my experience and knowledge to help others, which I already do the best I can. (Sometimes I am the patient and need to wait until I am in a little better place to reach back.) But I would like to do so much more.
Trust me when I say, you don't really want to know the status of the laptop I own. It's no longer portable, lots of ports don't work, it over heats & I can't read most documents that I attempt to download... even pdf's. It's 5 or 6 years old and completely outdated! UGH! I use my phone & tablet more than my laptop daily, but for this project a great laptop is totally necessary!
I have been through so much & continue to heal. I've learned tons medically, alternatively, spiritually and about what is really important in life everyday! First, I've had to heal from the surgeries late in 2016, (1 being brain surgery) live the journey & reach a point where it's feels correct for me to be writing about it!
My instincts have served me very well! I have my ups & downs, but I am pioneering, creating new protocols for this dis-ease, Metastatic Melanoma, and still believe that I will beat this. This month is my 3 year anniversary since my hairdresser found my first tumor. I've had 12 cancer tumors, 5 surgeries, with another surgery around the corner probably in April. (This is good news) Just what I need to do. I will have the remaining 3 tumors in my neck removed that have been shrinking with Keytruda treatments (immunotherapy), which I started 16 months ago... when it was brand new to the public.
You have all been so amazing to me and I can't thank you enough! It's been a wild journey! I hope that I can be a great role model and help many others through these crazy experiences with my book! Please re-post this!
Thank you! Love & Hugs!!!
I had a PETscan/CTscan last week. My tumors shrank a tiny bit (only 1 milimeter), but I'm thrilled they are still shrinking! Next week I have a Brain MRI under anesthesia in NYC & follow up with my brain oncologist the same day for results. Then the following week I go back to NY to see my main oncologist at Columbia Presbyterian. He is the team leader of all of my 8 doctors. (A lot to keep up with. You should see my paperwork!) I expect that we will analyze my cancer & seizure status and strategize how we want to proceed at this point. Originally we planned to do treatment for 1 year if my body tolerated it well. Amidst this difficult journey I am so happy that my body has done well with the treatment. No side effects so far. Thank goodness!
Thank you for all of your support and prayers! I am so grateful for every person in my life, all the love, prayers & support you have given me. I am pioneering with this terrible dis-ease. Doing the best I can to heal & the best I can to help others do the same with all I have learned. I have learned more then you can imagine on so many levels.
Thank you for all you do! You are tremendous in my life!
Most people didn't realize that I could barely use my arm for 6 months after surgery. It took until March 2017 with lots of physical therapy, daily exercises at home and me visualizing moving my arm beautifully while dancing tango that helped me regain my arm. I still have pain and minor limitation, but that still needs more exercises and time. I'm on it! As of today I am 125 days seizure free and tapping into all of my coping skills and visualization (as well as meds) to believe that I will continue to be seizure free! Please pray/visualize the same for me. Whatever works for you.
Thank you all for your support. I can only express how much you all mean to me. In this challenging time I could not do it without you. Your continued support and love has been the best healing experience I have ever had.
Hoping your families and friends have fared brilliantly in these past hurricane weeks. Prayers & Love to you all! Please take a moment to share this!
However, I developed seizures since last October, which is how they found a brain tumor(thankfully) & I had emergency brain surgery 5 days later on October 26th, 2016. I did not expect to have more seizures after they removed the tumor, however in January & May of 2017 I had more. I thankfully don't remember the seizures, but the reality of them (especially the experience in May) has been overwhelming and a new emotional reality for me. I have been battling my own fears & tapping deeply into my coping skills to stay positive. I tell people, "Don't make decisions from a fear place!" My advice comes from my own experience. I am fortunate to have had pre-symptoms every time and I do have a Medic Alert Button, which was weird at 1st. But it's great! You push the button & a live person speaks to you! I am also fortunate that the seizures have been spaced way apart... a bit more then 3 months. I am on anti-seizure meds, and the meds have been increased each time. However, success is only success when I am seizure free! So I am asking for your positive energy!!! Right Now! My 1st & 2nd seizures were 98 days apart. My 2nd & 3rd were 104 days apart. Today is 94 days since my last experience. I believe strongly in the power of prayer! The energy of many people praying, thinking & hoping for the same. The power of intention and love in the air. Love is so powerful. I know it and have learned so much about it from all of you this past year. So I'm asking for your positive love, prayer, support & intention that my brain is healing, and I am seizure free, that my current meds are working. Please keep your prayers positive. NO NEGATIVE THOUGHTS! I am doing the same & feel your love. Posting and sharing helps me to let go of my fear and move forward more freely. If you are able to help and donate to my gofundme, that is so marvelous too. It has been a challenging journey physically, emotionally, spiritually & financially. Your support is huge and so helpful! Please repost this!
Thank you so much! Much love to you all!
Tara, how courageous to share all of this - the strength you've called up, and the overwhelm of going through it on your own. And we are all on that continuum, but what you wrote is so beautifully expressed. There's nothing for you to prove - you have been a fierce advocate and stand for yourself, for your health and well being, and you are so worth it, and you are so much more than enough!
Tara...May God bless you over and over. Please contact social services for someone to be an advocate for you in terms of food stamps. From what I remember (having been there 3 yrs ago), you should CERTAINLY QUALIFY for more than $18 a month. I believe since you are on a medical disability with the kind of surgery you've had, they can or should provide someone to help you. My daughter was denied medical insurance until she got a navigator involved. If I can help with this, please let me know. I think you should call a supervisor. Do NOT accept that amount for food....it is there to help those who TRULY need it, which is you. I am posting this and keep us posted so I can donate more next pay period. Message me on FB if I can help you with rides, etc...when I am not teaching. YOU ARE AMAZING! GOD BLESS!!! Jolie
Tara is a real con artist!