Leslie's Pink Battle Brigade

$3,265 of $10k goal

Raised by 25 people in 9 months
Carissa Vallejo
on behalf of Leslie Bockenstette
 LOS ANGELES, CA
Leslie's Pink Battle Brigade...Unite! 

We hold a very important title. We are friends and family, coming together for one cause. We are...(pause for drama..)Leslie's Pink Battle Brigade! 

On Tuesday July 5th, Leslie was diagnosed with Stage III Breast Cancer. This is a cancer that so far has contained itself in her left breast only. There are still more tests to do be done to reveal if the cancer has spread to her lymph nodes or not. Her doctors have laid out a treatment plan with her that will start with a 5 month chemo therapy treatment that is intended to shrink the tumor. Then, if the tumor has decreased in size enough, she will undergo surgery to remove the tumor. This process will be a year long process, if all goes according to plan. 

Most of you know my mom and dad are truck drivers; They have driven all over this country of ours, sometimes even stopping in to visit some of us. Truck drivers are self employed, which requires them to purchase their own health insurance. The premium for Leslie was so large, she made the difficult decision not to purchase it. So when she found a lump in her breast, understandibly she was frightened of the financial undertaking it would produce; She was also afraid that she wouldn't be able to receive the medical treatment she would need because she was without insurance. Thankfully, her doctor referred her to Oklahoma University Emergency Center, and there she was taken in and taken care of so well. It was an eye opener for her; Showing her that she can and will receive the medical attention she needs and deserves. She was enrolled in Medicaid while at the hospital and is currently awaiting approval of the coverage. In the mean time, the bills for her visits will be coming in, and the daily necessities of life don't stop. This is where we, Leslie's Pink Battle Brigade come in. We will be her community that surrounds her and helps her get through this spiritually, emotionally and monetarily.
If you can, will you please join us in giving to her fund that will ease the financial burdens she is about to face? She is going to be going through so much over the next year, I hope that worrying about finances won't be one of the things she will have to worry about.  The money will go towards the medical bills she is incurring and the medication she will be required to take during this fighting journey. She will begin her treatment plan at the end of this month (July); So if you feel led to give, you can start giving at any time. 

My mom has always been an independant, strong willed woman. She enjoys spending time with her family and creating beautiful memories with them and for them. She is looking forward to welcoming new family members and loving on old ones. She is preparing for battle, and with sword in hand, I know she is going to stare cancer in the face and tell it to STICK IT! 

I found this quote that I think fits her to a tee....

       "You are stronger than you know....braver than you think...and more loved than you can imagine."  
author unknown

I am so grateful for each and every one of you who have surrounded my mom with such beautiful, heart warming, and loving words during this time. It is remarkable to see how many friends and family far and wide that love and adore her. I know she loves each and every one of you, and appreciates all of your love and support. We are the ones who will surround her. We are the ones who will love on her; And We are the ones who will hold her sword when she can't! 

Pink Battle Brigade....UNITE!!! 
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Update 5
Posted by Carissa Vallejo
2 months ago
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Hello Pink Brigaders!

We have a victory to celebrate!!! Leslie completed her last chemo session on Monday January 23rd. She has been barreling through these treatments like a champ!!! And all of you, her Brigaders have been wonderful encouragers sending her love, encouragement and prayers as well!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!! You all are such a blessing to our family, and I know that your words, prayers and gifts have touched my mom's heart in such an impactful way.
If you haven't seen her on facebook that is because even though she is mightily allowing the medicine to do it's work, that same healing medicine has been making her quite sick and uncomfortable. She has the crafting bug again, but her hands and fingers hurt so much it is hard to write. The medicine has created muscle cramping and intense bone pain that keeps her up most nights. So, day and night leave her pretty sleepless. While she is relying on God, her good attitude, and her friends, she is able to get through each day saying "this is temporary." And it is!!! She is scheduled for her mastectomy on February 10th. It is almost over!! This battle she began fighting almost a year ago is in the home stretch, and she is doing such a fantastic job at putting one foot in front of the other each day!! We are all so proud of you, mom!!
I was on the phone with her the other day, and she is feeling a lot of pressure financially to go back to work right after this surgery. The doctor said she will not have a lot of use in her left arm because of the muscles he will need to go through to remove the breast and the affected lymph node. As a truck driver, she will need to use both hands to get in and out of the trucks, drive and to do all of the other duties her job will require from her body.
Will you please join me in helping her financially through these next couple of months so she can heal her body before she goes back to work? Anything will help. If we all could just give $25 a month, it will help her while she is recuperating before returning to work. You have all been so generous, and have contributed to her fund. I know it has been a blessing so big it is hard to put into words. Your energy, love, and dedication to my mom means so much. Let's keep it up!!
Pink Brigaders...keep your swords up....we are still in battle.
Love to all of you!!
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Update 4
Posted by Carissa Vallejo
6 months ago
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Hello Fellow Brigaders!

"My heart has been blessed"
These are the words my mom described yesterday about how incredibly blessed she has been by all of you. By your cards, your letters, your encouragement, your donations, and your lighthearted jokes. So many things that you have freely offered her have shown her love in a capacity she hasn't received before. Who knew making scrapbooking videos to instruct me on how to use my tools would turn into such a flourishing village of friendship? A village...that is what you are. A village willing to surround my mom with care, love and encouragement.

You are a blessing!

I know it has been a while since we last spoke. Leslie was doing a great job keeping everyone updated on the progress of her treatments and where they have brought her to date. We are at another difficult time though, and I am bringing this request to all of you again.
After trying one cancer treatment, the doctors determined that the medicine isn't working like they had hoped, if at all. The tumor has not reduced in size, and her immune system is down so much that the biopsy sites from 3 weeks ago have been having a hard time healing. The doctors helped my mom come to the realization that the only thing trying to kill the cancer is her white blood cells. They (the white blood cells) are so focused on the tumor that anywhere else in her body that requires healing (like the biopsy sites) is not able to heal because the cells are working overtime on the one spot. This is a dangerous situation, especially if my mom gets sick, or any type of infection produces. Her body won't be able to ward it off.
The doctors have lined her up with a new treatment plan and this is chemotherapy. She starts this process tomorrow, Friday October 7th by having a port surgically implanted in a vein that will help administer the chemo, then she will start the chemo next week. While we are happy this is starting, and the drugs are going to kick this tumor's butt, it is a very scary step, and we are coveting all of your prayers for what she is about to walk through.
If you are able to give, would you consider donating? The money raised so far has been a huge help, and it has served her in her time of need.
If you read her most recent blog post, the doctor's office that is implanting the port called her yesterday and said she needs to pay $2000 for the port surgery. She has had lots of council since that bomb was dropped and may be able to have it covered through a grant she will try to qualify for, or make payments on it after the surgery. Either way it will work out, but if we can help her, it could ease her burden so all she has to concentrate on is getting better. Last week, she filled a nausea prescription so she will have it available after her chemo starts. That alone was $250.00. Thanks to our village of brigaders and your generous contributions, she was able to fill that prescription. I can not tell you how grateful I am that you have made that possible for her!! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!
There is a story in the bible about how the people of Judah were rebuilding the wall around the city of Jerusalem, and they were coming under attack so much that as a builder was doing his part in laying the bricks of the wall, a soldier stood behind him, protecting him from attack. The builder also carried a sword, so he was laying brick one handed because he had to keep himself armed to protect himself all while building this wall that will protect their city. The scripture says:
"From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, and each of the builders wore his own sword at this side as he worked." Nehemiah 4:16-18
Let us be the people standing at Leslie's back holding her up so she can battle this war with sword in hand! Let us be her PINK BATTLE BRIGADE!!!!!!!!!!

We love YOU ALL!!

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Update 3
Posted by Carissa Vallejo
8 months ago
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Hello fellow Brigadier’s!
Our family is incredibly moved by your continued prayers, love, encouragement, donations and shares on FaceBook, and I know my mom is moved beyond words! Thank you so much! I am honored to be on this team with all of you. I hope each and every one of you knows how special you are!
We are coming up on a pretty big week for my mom. She will be going through 2 invasive procedures next week to biopsy and explore some of the areas that came up on the PET scan that was done in July. If you remember, there were four areas of concern that were highlighted on that test. They were on her sternum, the left adrenal gland on her kidney, her right femur, and a spot was found in her stomach.
The details of her upcoming tests start first thing Monday morning. This first appointment will be to biopsy the spot on her right femur. This procedure will require her to be put under anesthesia because it is an invasive and painful process.
Wednesday will be a visit to her Oncologist to find out when her chemotherapy will start.
Thursday will be another invasive procedure; she will be put under anesthesia again in order to have her stomach scoped to evaluate the spot there. When the results from the PET scan came back and the doctor saw the spot in her stomach, he asked her “Do you get ulcers?” and she replied “NO. I give them!” At least she hasn’t lost her sense of humor. ;-)
On top of all of this, the doctors have recommended for Leslie to quit smoking. She started that process on Wednesday Aug 3rd, so if you noticed she was MIA on FaceBook, you weren’t imagining things…the lack of nicotine had something to do with that. ;-) My mom has smoked for over 40 years so I am incredibly proud of her for taking on this giant after such a long time smoking! As a former smoker, I know how hard it is to kick that habit, so please send her a line of encouragement if you think of it. I know she will love it.
As for our walk with Leslie, let me encourage you to keep going. Keep holding your post right next to her. Keep holding her up, praying for her, encouraging her, and loving on her. You all mean the world to my mom, and to our family. Thank you so much for continuing this battle with her.

Pink Battle Brigade

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you." Isaiah 43:1b-2a
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Update 2
Posted by Carissa Vallejo
9 months ago
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Hello Pink Battle Brigaders!!

First.....our family is so thankful to each and every one of you who has prayed, reached out, loved on, shared, retweeted, and donated to my mom's campaign. Your words and love have meant so much to Leslie and our family, there are not enough words to express our love and thanks to each of you. Thank you so much!
Your generous donations to her GoFundMe campaign have enabled her to pay for some of her medical expenses and getting the tests and treatments she needs. We found out this week that she unfortunately got denied from the BCC Fund (Breast & Cervical Cancer Fund) with Medicaid because she was outside of the income range for their qualifications. She will be able to re apply next year because she and my dad will be living on his social security, and they should qualify for Medicaid at that time.
Leslie is in pretty good spirits. She is ready for the journey she is on, and your outpouring of love is helping her with the battle she is about to take on. Her treatment plan is beginning to come together.
Most of you know my mom makes videos on YouTube, and she has been giving updates on her cancer there too. I have attached her most recent cancer update video for you to see if you haven't seen it yet.
The newest update and the plan:
Leslie had a PET scan last Friday, July 22nd. She got the results from that test today. (July 26th)The cancer has "grown significantly". When she went to the doctor on July 5th, the mass was measured in at 8 centimeters (a small orange).It has now grown to 9.5 centimeters, (almost the size of a grapefruit) and they are calling it a "fast growing cancer." It looks like it has moved outside of the breast. The PET scan revealed spots on her sternum, the left adrenal gland on her kidney, and on her right femur bone. Some of these tumors may be benign, but they are still areas that will need to be focused on during treatment. There was a spot in her stomach, but the test was inconclusive on whether or not it was cancer; it could be an ulcer. The plan will be to do chemo therapy to reduce the masses throughout the body. We are not sure when that will start, but a bone density test is the next test to be done. This will take a look at the femur and the growth there.
Leslie has a lot in front of her. But she has all of us behind her! Holding her up, praying for her, giving her strength, giving her courage, and giving her love. You have done a great job so far. Keep it up, Pink Battle Brigade! We are just getting started! Prepare for Battle!!

"Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny."
c.s. lewis
Leslie's update on PET Scan results
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Read a Previous Update
Gayle Grisham Enouen
9 months ago

Praying for you Leslie! Don't forget what a stress reliever making your beautiful cards can be!

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$3,265 of $10k goal

Raised by 25 people in 9 months
Created July 12, 2016
Carissa Vallejo  
on behalf of Leslie Bockenstette
$100
Carissa Vallejo
2 months ago
$100
Carol Holland-Heughan
5 months ago

GOD BLESS YOU

$330
Carissa Vallejo
6 months ago
KM
$100
Kellie McKinney
6 months ago

Praying for you Leslie! Our Father is amazing! Continue to trust in him! Your Carisss is so a beautful person! Her works were so beautiful! Godbless you!

LS
$100
Leslie Speers
6 months ago

From one Leslie to another! Love you!

$20
Anonymous
6 months ago
$100
Gayle Grisham Enouen
6 months ago

you are in my prayers

$25
Anonymous
8 months ago
$160
Carissa Vallejo
8 months ago
LW
$50
Lisa Wood
9 months ago

Good Luck with your treatment! I enjoy your videos and your fantastic attitude!

Gayle Grisham Enouen
9 months ago

Praying for you Leslie! Don't forget what a stress reliever making your beautiful cards can be!

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