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Colon to semicolon: Emily's surgery

$7,480 of $15,000 goal

Raised by 57 people in 25 days
Hi. I'm Emily Talbert. Many of you who will read this already know much of my recent story thanks to the updates that my husband Trever has been sending out. Read on if you're curious, but you can probably skip to the tl:dr to find out exactly why we've started a GoFundMe page.

For those of you who landed here by accident or curiosity and don't know our story, here's a very short version: I had cancer.

I say "had" because I had surgery August 30, 2018 to have part of my colon removed, and the lab work, along with various other diagnostics, showed that the cancer had not spread to adjacent tissues or other areas in my body. So I am cancer-free! Woohoo! Although family history tells me I will need to pay close attention to this for the rest of my life, I feel incredibly lucky in many, many ways.

So why, if I am safely through surgery and not going to need ongoing radiation or chemo treatment, are you meeting me here? This is the longer answer:

Trever and I are handmade tobacco pipe carvers. You can find out more about our work at www.talbertpipes.com. Trever has been self-employed since 1999 and I joined him in 2002. Lots of sole proprietors out there will immediately understand one of our problems: if you're not in the workshop, you're not getting paid. My cancer diagnosis capped off more than three years of caring for my elderly parents, which drained our savings and cut our income by two thirds.

My mother had told me about five years ago that my father was having trouble with his memory, but I wasn't really aware of how bad his dementia had gotten until she spent 10 days in the hospital in the spring of 2015. It quickly became apparent that he needed a great deal of help, and after Mom broke her arm that fall they both became my part-time job.

Dad also broke his arm in the spring of 2016 and began the downward spiral of surgery, hospitalizations, and stays in rehabilitation facilities that would end with his death in May 2018. Throughout this period I tried to help Mom as much as I could. Dad's mental state deteriorated along with his physical condition. My output in the shop dwindled as Dad's situation worsened. Trever obviously helped as much as he was able, but he needed to be at home carving pipes and making web site updates and I tried to let him work undisturbed as much as I could.

By the spring of 2018 I had accumulated a pile of health issues of my own and couldn't justify putting off doctor and dentist visits any longer. Not long before Dad died I had a dentist checkup that revealed numerous teeth in need of help -- and the fact that my blood pressure was really, really high. I found a GP who, when he discovered I hadn't seen a doctor in years, sent me for a smorgasbord of tests and appointments, including a colonoscopy.

And that was how, in the last week of August 2018, I found myself having a molar extracted on Monday and part of my colon extracted on Thursday. It was an interesting week.

I have been incredibly fortunate: both surgeries went very well and I have healed relatively quickly, without complications. But I am still recovering and I can tell that my stamina and energy levels are not back to what they were before the surgeries. We're trying to catch up, but we're afraid we won't be able to do it without large-scale help.


tl;dr: Three years of elderly parent care drained our savings and sliced our income. Just as we were trying to get back on our feet after my father's death, I was diagnosed with colon cancer and had to have surgery. Now the medical bills are rolling in like 50-foot waves. We're doing the best we can, but without some help we're going to drown in slow motion.
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Hello! This is an update for everyone who has helped out with our fundraising campaign to help pay for Emily's surgery. The good news is, we're halfway to our goal! The bad news is, we're only halfway to our goal. But the best news is, Emily is recovering well post-surgery, to the point that last Friday evening she was able to play a concert of Early Music with her recorder group and an Early Music singing group. It pretty much wiped her out for about two days after, but hey... Only six weeks earlier she was in a hospital bed. So we both wanted to say a very heartfelt THANK YOU to all the people who have helped out. There is still a ways to go, and another surgery due to happen sometime in the next month, but we're moving forward steadily. I still hope we will hit our fundraiser goal, so please share if you know anyone able to help out, and I hope everyone is enjoying the early holiday season!
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$7,480 of $15,000 goal

Raised by 57 people in 25 days
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