367
367
15

Aid Annie Vaughan's Cancer Treatments

$42,601 of $75,000 goal

Raised by 381 people in 7 months
My name is Annie Vaughan, I am 34 years old and I was diagnosed with Stage IV Breast Cancer the day before Thanksgiving.

I am lucky enough to be married to my best friend Rob and be the mother to our amazing children, Wyatt (4) and Vivian (17 months).  They are my world.

And this is my story...34968180_1543591823458299_r.jpeg

Rob and I have been together since we were 20 and have been married the past 5 years. We've gone through A LOT together. He helped me through losing my Dad, my brother and when we lost our second child in 2016. He is my rock and we have persevered through it all.

We've been working out a game plan for our family for a few years. And THIS year we got it.  BIG STEPS!

We bought our first house, Rob started law school at WVU College of Law in August and I was integrating our young family into a new place.

34968180_1543592226107462_r.jpeg

I noticed I was losing weight in August but chalked it up to the stress of our move and figuring out a new budget for a family of 4 on student loans and what I brought in waitressing and doing a little art. 

Then I noticed some pea sized lymph nodes popping up along my collar bone. NOT GOOD. We were transitioning from Rob working full time with benefits to getting Medicaid for health care and I was hoping it wasn't severe and that I'd get to a doctor soon. 
Then my arm seemed to have less blood flow and began to feel bruised though there was no discoloration. "Perhaps it's from Viv's head resting on my arm  night after night", I told myself. 
Either way I made an appointment for a thermography scan because it was an out of pocket cost I could cover till we got insurance set up.

I never had that scan.

I began feeling around and found inflamed lymph nodes under my armpit and this combined with the arm pain sent me to Urgent Care in fear one evening thinking I had some massive infection. The doctors referred me to an Oncologist as soon as they saw me. They had no doubts it seemed. "Too many swollen lymphs, not just 1 or 2."

A mammogram was scheduled, an ultrasound and a biopsy. Then in WAY less time than I was told it would take I got a phone call just before naptime. YOU HAVE BREAST CANCER. I couldn't cry, the kids were right there with me. I said thank you, no, no more questions and hung up.

34968180_1543687413793509_r.jpeg

"We'll hope for an advanced Stage III", the Oncologist said. "You'll have to stop breastfeeding immediately so we can get accurate PET scan results", said the surgeon.  Ending my goal of 2 years of breastfeeding for Viv at just before the 17 month mark in a most heartbreaking manner. 

Rob's parents came to watch the kids while we went in for the PET results. I was hanging onto Stage III thoughts of some chemo, surgery and becoming a pink ribbon warrior. We go back to a small room and a new Nurse Practioner came in. She laid it right out.

You have Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer that has spread to your lymph nodes, bones and liver. With treatment average expected life span is 1-2 years. When the Oncologist came in she said MAYBE 5 years.

It was two and a half weeks from the time I went to urgent care to receiving the Stage IV prognosis. Ever since the general diagnosis things have moved VERY FAST. I was told that I would have to do chemotherapy for the rest of my life. I was told the side effects of chemotherapy were mild and would go away within a couple days after treatment especially given my age. 

On the Monday after Thanksgiving I went in for my first chemo treatment.  The next day I felt terrible. This was to be expected, but my body's reaction was much greater than anticipated for the typical chemo patient. Dangerously high fevers,  severe bone pain and headaches, mouth ulcers, acid reflux, skin rashes, bloody discharges and a general inability to get out of bed are what I continue to experience now 6 days after chemotherapy treatment. And the reactions to chemotherapy are only suppose to get worse over time after every treatment! Chemotherapy has made me incapable of living my life and being a mother. 

34968180_1543687531163371_r.jpeg

From the moment I knew I had cancer Rob and I started doing research nonstop of treatment options.  We found nutritional protocols that had dozens if not hundreds of testimonials from Stage III and IV cancer survivors who say the protocols worked to reduce their tumor sizes and vastly increase their quality of life. We found Dr. Gonzalez and Dr. Issacs treatment protocol that appear to be very promising and have proven results via case studies. We found clinics that are outside of the U.S.  (Mexico and Switzerland) that also have proven results for later stage cancer patients. 

It is my belief that cancer does not have one source cause and likewise it does not have one silver bullet solution. It is my belief that I must detoxify my mind, body and spirit. I must rebuild my healthy body one cell at a time while destroying the cancer inside me.

It is also my belief that chemotherapy FOR ME as a late Stage IV cancer patient is not the correct treatment solution. I want to pursue alternative treatments that I think are more effective for my situation and will enhance my quality of life, not totally diminish it. 

34968180_1543688869396454_r.jpeg

I started an anti-cancer vegan diet and an intense anti-cancer supplement protocol last week. I sent all my medical records to Dr. Issacs yesterday and I am waiting to hear back. I continue to research other doctor's around the world who may be able to help me. With the help of my husband, family and friends I am leaving no stone unturned. I am determined to defy my prognosis! I am determined to increase my well being and live everyday to the fullest. I am determined to take nothing for granted.  

34968180_1543690921204198_r.jpeg

For more information on Dr. Issacs, please follow these links: https://www.drlindai.com/pursuing_alt_ther.html , http://www.alternative-therapies.com/at/web_pdfs/gonzalez1.pdf

Unfortunately, none of these alternative treatments are covered in any way by our insurance. I need your help to pursue my healing journey. Dr. Issacs protocol/treatment is relatively inexpensive, but not covered by insurance. The initial visit and evaluations is $ 4500.00. Each required six month follow up is $650.00, and each intermittent doctor's visit is $300.00. There are additional therapies in this protocol that we do not have prices for, but will cost at least a few hundred dollars per treatment. Dr. Issacs supplement protocol typically costs around $1000.00 per month. The diet I am on, which I anticipate will be similar to what Dr. Issacs will recommend, cost approximately $600 -$800 dollars per month (just for me, not including family groceries). 

The clinics we have researched are typically 3 week programs that, according to patients who have attended these clinics, cost anywhere from $13,000.00 - $25, 000.00. Here are links to a few clinics we find promising: http://www.hope4cancer.com, http://www.hoxseybiomedical.com, http://www.sanoviv.com, https://www.alronc.com.

This journey without insurance coverage is very expensive. That is why I need your help, your love and healing thoughts. Please consider supporting me and my family with whatever you feel comfortable giving. Every little bit helps. We need support at least until Rob finishes law school. As I am not working,  additional financial assistance allows us not to worry about money and enjoy the time I have everyday with my family! Please have faith and confidence in my treatment decisions! I feel confident that if I am able to pursue this path of wellness and healing I will live to see my children grow up!

34968180_1543691310898673_r.jpeg
                                                                         THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
+ Read More
Good Morning Everyone!
I want to update you on my treatment changes. In lieu of the small growth which occurred in the liver tumor and the swelling from detox I have accepted the doctors’ recommendation of utilizing a Chemotherapy pill to try and quickly de-bulk my liver. While I was bummed to accept use of a toxic therapy my Oncologist has assured me that this comes with lowered side effects while maintaining as a strong and liver targeted therapy.
My hope is to see significant shrinkage so that I may resume my non-toxic approach. However, what it all comes down to is getting the results that I need. Thinking about the possibility of losing function of such a vital organ indeed scared me to accept trying the combination of treatments. All in all, it’s more of that I do it rather than how I do it.
Aside from raised antigen levels my bloodwork is still stellar. As my Pittsburg doctor likes to say, “you just don’t see Stage 4 cancer patients with bloodwork this good!”
So, I’m feeling pretty good and healthy. Here’s to continuing that! Hope your enjoying the end of summer as much as we are. With an upcoming beach trip, we hope to round out this Summer with lots of fun before Rob is back to school and sweet Wyatt starts kindergarten. Viv and I plan to get on the trail for jogs and take our naps together. I’m looking forward to the Autumn season but not rushing it.
Take care!
+ Read More
It’s been really hard to write this update because I ‘ve been given so much love and support by so many beautiful people that I feel really awkward asking for more. The love and support I received this winter when I began my healing journey overwhelmed me and filled me with strength, resolve and courage beyond belief. And I’ve made significant progress in my healing journey, but there is a long way to go yet, and I need your continued help to sustain my momentum while traveling up this mountain.

Through this experience I learned how powerful asking for help really is; how it is healing for both sides. I need to keep reminding myself of this lesson. That is, I need to let go of the façade that “I can do it on my own.” Because, my friends, I can’t. It’s been the love and support of my family, my incredible doctors, strangers who share my story, and you, dear friends, who believe in me that allowed me to progress on my journey of healing.
If you’ve been following me on Facebook or Instagram (anyone is welcome to find me on Insta @mamas_marathon), you’ve seen some of what I’ve been up to regarding diet, medicines, bloodwork, doctor’s appointments, mental wellness and day to day life—which, with these sweet kiddos (who both are about to have a birthday), means my life is completely non-stop.
It is Summer, and the return of fresh berries and vegetables is so welcomed. I buy at least 7 cucumbers each week at market for daily snacks. I am still juicing regularly. My vitamins and supplements continue to fluctuate and change as my bloodwork shows what’s low or not. But this is all foundational to the other more intensive treatments I am doing.

Mid-February I started on hormone treatment using testosterone pellets and an estrogen blocker. The hormone treatment is also a great tool to halt the spread of cancer.
In May I went to see a new doctor who works with hormone therapy after my MD had spoken with her about me. I became a patient of hers and my second round of testosterone was much stronger, and the estrogen blockers have changed to a monthly shot for the following 2 months. Already my bloodwork is showing the results she wanted and after the 4 weeks mark, she has suggested an ovariectomy as my type of cancer is hormone driven estrogen (ER), and progesterone (PR)positive, and the ovaries create these hormones. I’m not against this idea, especially as it is an outpatient procedure and I’ve been blessed already with the gift of Motherhood.

I am also doing peptide treatments. I shared on social media that a new formulation of the peptide PNC27 (there is a TedTalk on youtube by a Glaxo Smith Klein researcher and good research papers on Google Scholar). After about a week I have backed off as both this and the BX create a lot of cell die off that is taxing on my liver to process out. But I will continue to use this.

In January I started in hard with using some funds to focus on spiritual and emotional healing and would like to re-focus that effort if this new round of fundraising allows for it. I’m surely going through some emotionally difficult stages of this journey; fear, doubt, anxiety, guilt certainly rear their ugly heads before blood tests and scans.

One of my doctors is a traditional cancer doctor at MVH. Facing my oncologist is tough. While he was open enough to sign on to order some blood tests (my other doctors monitor much more than he will order and so the vast majority of monthly blood tests are not covered by insurance no matter how I’ve tried to work it) and scans and shots, but it is not without lengthy talks wherein he tries to cast doubt on my treatment choices and suggest other treatments, but these conversations are valuable (even if I do not totally agree with him).

To get my second PET Scan ever was a nerve-wracking experience to say the least. However, the PET Scan results were largely positive . My original oncologist at WVU assumed that my cancer would likely spread and grow quickly in a matter of a few months due to its aggressive nature. Taking that into consideration, the results were good because the scan showed very minimal growth. The growth is localized to where it already was, and the cancer has not traveled to anywhere new in my body.

Now in the liver, where we see swelling and some growth, we also see that the metabolic rate or the standard uptake value (SUV) numbers have decreased in the cancer cells, which is great. I am treating cancer as a metabolic disease. The great take aways from my PET Scan are that the cancer has not spread and has minimally grown locally, and the SUV has decreased.
And while my antigens (blood test numbers) have increased, this can occur both with growth as well cancer cell die off flares. However, the other 95% of my bloodwork is fantastic! If it were not for the cancer, the bloodwork is that of someone who is very healthy!

But we are still at the beginning of this journey with a long way to go, and I am now here asking for your help by giving a donation and sharing my story. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to approach healing in an empowering, non-toxic way that supports my desire to remain an active Mother while living with MBC.

Please help me see this through with your financial support. I want to be transparent with the reality of my medical costs. Here is a loose breakdown:
Doctor’s visits: $230 per month/Travel Costs: $100- 200 per month/Cancer-diet-specific groceries: $500 per month/Supplements: $600 - $1000 per month/BX treatments: $1,600 per month ($20,000 paid up front for two-year treatment program)/Peptide treatments: $300- $500 per month/Testosterone treatments: $110 per month/Oxygen treatments (hyperbaric tank and bath): $200 Per month/Infrared Sauna: $200 per month/Wellness (yoga, sauna, acupuncture, reiki): $ 200- $300 per month/Blood tests not covered by insurance (though we are fighting to get them covered): $3,000 total.

Of the money we raised in the first fundraiser, about $4000.00 is left.
An initial 20k went to working with the Delta Institute, and that covers a 2-year program. This means the rest of my funds from GoFundMe will mainly go to cover blood tests, and other monthly out of pocket fees to see the wonderful doctors that have helped me immensely, and the cost of medications that are continuous but vitally central to my path.

Thank you for taking the time to bring me into your life by reading this post and for your love, prayers and support. While I am definitely in what is coined a healing crisis (gets hard before it gets better) I will remain the positive and determined person that you all know and love. I take this journey for me, for you and most of all for my family, whom I am not planning on being without anytime soon!

With these treatments listed above we have been able to halt the spread of cancer in my body. With these treatments I am able to live my life; I am able to remain an active mother and wife. But without out you and your love and support none of this would be possible. I am continually humbled by the goodness in peoples hearts. All of you give me great hope and optimism in overcoming obstacles that I face. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!! I love you all!!
+ Read More
2019 The Year of True Change, of Unbreakable Resolutions

Remember my update about some wonderful family portraits with Pantography? I’d say she did a great job wouldn’t you? Seriously, I just love these!

I want to express to everyone that your donation to my cancer healing journey not only provided financial relief, but the impact of receiving all that love and support warmed my soul and strengthened my immune system. Thank you for caring and believing in me!

So here we are, almost a month and a half since my first post. A lot has changed since then ,and with a careful decision making process, and with lots of help and encouragement, I have a clear path forward.

More than one doctor I've spoken with has said, " it's a marathon, not a sprint."

Great advice for anyone newly diagnosed with cancer. You have time to educate yourself, to digest the options and find what speaks to you.

So Rob and I looked, learned and digested. I talked to doctors. I talked to cancer survivors. And I found options that made scientific sense and fit the requirements I set forth for treating my cancer.

I am approaching cancer as a metabolic disease with a strong daily focus on diet and exercise. Under the supervision of several doctors I will also utilize protocols that target the mitochondria of the diseased cells in my body to stimulate apoptosis (cell death).
In addition to diet, supplement, exercise and medicine, I will pair this with three forms of oxygen therapy, some vibrational/light therapy administered by my doctor in Pittsburg. I will receive hormone assistance therapy. My diet is now a modified keto diet focused on clean, (mainly) dairy free eating. I will also utilize acupuncture & tai chi.

There will be side effects as I experience toxins and microbes leaving my body during “peroxide peaking” in the affected cancer cells. Herxheimer (detox) reactions are generally flu-like symptoms, and it is expected the “herx” reactions will come and go.
I will manage herx with accupuncture, detox procedures by binding toxins with activated charcoal, bentonite clay and probiotics, and lymphatic massages and infrared sauna.

Because I have metastaic breast cancer it is possible that I will experience severe herx. The amount of toxins from the cancer cells could overwhelm my already affected liver. The possible side-effects of this protocol are something I am aware of and ready to tackle.

I am officially beginning this approach on Tuesday (today) and will be doing so for the remainder of the year. The daily tasks will be demanding.
Clean, homemade meals and the prep they require is enough for a day’s work. But I will also be tracking my vitals, preforming at home O2 therapy during exercise. A large and central part of the plan relies on open communication with my doctors and my participation in achieving goals which I and my doctors have set.

So, on life goes, you live it and you work hard. You enjoy where you’re at and who you’re with.
I am able to set out on this marathon of healing because of your support.

If you are able please continue to share my story.

From both me and my family, Thank You!!

In the name of accountability for and to myself, and making it fun, I decided to start an Instagram account @mamas_marathon to track this journey.
https://www.instagram.com/mamas_marathon/

Some of the books I’ve been reading are:

https://www.chelseagreen.com/product/the-metabolic-approach-to-cancer/

https://theketogenickitchen.com/

https://www.cleanketolifestyle.com/

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/187990/spontaneous-healing-by-andrew-weil-md/9780804117944/

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18053023-radical-remission
+ Read More
I turned 35 this week! It was a good birthday with a gifted reiki session and some shopping at Whole Foods with Rob.

I have a conference call with two docs on Wednesday that I think are the ones.

Chemo side effects are faded. My hair is on the way out from the 1 injection session though.

I knew this would happen but it is still tough. Working up the nerve to shave as my scalp gets patchy and I now shed more than the dogs, lol.

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers and donations.

Please please continue to share my story. The new friends I've made, the contacts and the love from those I know is doing me such good.

Love you all!
Big salad covered in broccoli sprouts!
Family walk in the warmer weather.
+ Read More
Read a Previous Update

$42,601 of $75,000 goal

Raised by 381 people in 7 months
Your share could be bringing in donations. Sign in to track your impact.
   Connect
We will never post without your permission.
In the future, we'll let you know if your sharing brings in any donations.
We weren't able to connect your Facebook account. Please try again later.
MH
$100
Margo H
1 day ago
$10
Kristin Potts
2 days ago
KK
$100
Kristin Kaineg
2 days ago
$50
Anonymous
2 days ago
ST
$50
Stephanie Thulin
2 days ago
ST
$30
Sarah Tavenner
2 days ago
$1,656
Anonymous
13 days ago
$1,000
Anonymous
15 days ago
$25
Desiree Bullard
15 days ago
BF
$50
Becky Ford
16 days ago
or
Use My Email Address
By continuing, you agree with the GoFundMe
terms and privacy policy
There's an issue with this Campaign Organizer's account. Our team has contacted them with the solution! Please ask them to sign in to GoFundMe and check their account. Return to Campaign

Are you ready for the next step?
Even a $5 donation can help!
Donate Now Not now
Connect on Facebook to keep track of how many donations your share brings.
We will never post on Facebook without your permission.