Amy Pennington "rise above" fund
Here is Amy's honest message about this journey:
"So……….big news, little news. Big news because it’s kinda big and little news because I’ve processed this for so long now that it feels somewhat blissfully small.
You guys...so sorry to say, but I have cancer. I should add here that I'm not of the "fuck cancer" ilk. Cancer can be a gift - that is how I choose to see it.
Last month I was diagnosed with a reasonably rare cancer. It doesn’t matter what kind + I don’t want all of you to google it and have a freak out, so I’ll just say I have a (small) tumor in my nose. Anyone who knows I’ve been struggling with my sinuses for 2 years can now solve the mystery! The most important thing for you to know is this is curable and I caught it early. Things are looking pretty good.
I apologize if you’re just finding out now, as many of you will be, but please know that I am writing this note from my heart and it’s no less intimate to me that it is being published to a small group of people I love.
It has been a wild ride the last 5 weeks from diagnosis to treatment planning. Many ups and downs in between. Many opinions. Many check ins. Many doctor visits. a LOT of quieting down and listening to myself. And listening to myself. And listening to myself. And only now am I in a place where I feel like ‘Ok…..this is what is happening’, so I felt it was time to share. Additionally, I’m sharing today because I’ll be needing your help, so I'm sharing for the support, as well. My Facebook community is small and curated - just how I like it. I love you all.
Tomorrow, I start 7 weeks of chemo & radiation. The radiation is daily to my nose/throat/lymphs and the chemo is 1x weekly. Due to the location of tumor, I also elected (as most patients with this cancer do) to have a PEG tube (feeding tube) placed into my abdomen. This will ensure that even if I loose taste or have problems with my mouth/swallowing (which is common) that I can keep up my nutrition and weight. The tube is simply a safety measure, should I need it later as many people do. I’m hoping to get to the end of treatment and say….”Welp, THAT was a waste of time!” I had that surgery last week, the day before my bday, and holy shit was that a way bigger deal then I expected! That said, I’m now on day 6 and dealing with it.
Fortunately, KEN IS HERE and has been a DREAM. OF. A. HUSBAND. He has made my meals, helped me put on my clothes, picked me up, driven me all over and even told me I’m beautiful. That’s right folks….a real keeper. God bless him and please do keep him in your thoughts because I’m fairly certain disease is just as taxing if not more on those around me. It's tough feeling helpless.
I know everyone’s immediate response is to feel bad and ask me how you can help. To that, let me say don’t feel bad for me. As you know I’m a big BIG believer in the power of manifestation and that means we manifest the "good" and the "bad" in our lives. (There really is no good/bad, but thats a conversation for another day.) This cancer is a beautiful opportunity to shepherd a SHIFT and so I’m walking up to it and through it as gracefully and honestly as possible. That means some days when you text me and ask “how are you doing today” I’m going to be honest and say “today is a pile of fucking shit and I’m in pain.” Or maybe I’ll say “today is so beautiful - can you smell the wisteria in the air??”
In so far as how you can help, you can help by thinking of yourself, and me as perfect, healthy and whole. We are all divine spirits incarnate here on earth for a blip of time and while we live here, our spirits are in another dimension working. This is what we think of as your intuition, higher self, divine self, universe, etc. In that knowing, we ARE ALL PERFECT and ALL LOVE and so see me this way. See yourself this way. See your friend who drives you crazy this way. That is how I feel we can all be so helpful to me and to each other.
I’ll also need help along the way with other more physical things - house stuff, errands or items. Ken is here, but I’m running that boy ragged and as a one income family we are now down to not-verymuch-of-that-one-income. We are not in financial dire straights, so I don't feel inclined to host a Go Fund Me, but I am not working much during this time. My brain can’t function and physically I can not be in gardens. (Soil has pathogens and bacteria and my immune system will not be strong.) If you want to help in a more tactile way, send me a DM and I’ll add you to my list of earth angels and send an email soon. Again, no pressure. We are in good shape, all told.
What more can I tell you that I left off? I’m an open book so holler anytime. Sometimes I can get back to you, sometimes I can’t but please know I read it all and send you love back. THANK YOU FOR BEING MY FRIEND and/or FAMILY.
Love each other.
I had a conversation with someone today who called himself a cancer survivor -- six years after healing from stage 4 Lymphoma. We talked briefly about his journey, Amy and what carried him over the finish line. He highlighted three things: good healthcare, a great attitude punctuated by laughter and a caring community who carried water in tough times.
In fact, this person works for a very small company in the San Juan island. And yet, they found it within their resources to pay him during his intense six months of treatments and held a fundraiser on his behalf. Yet, we both knew it wasn't about the money, per se, but feeling the gravity of everyone's love in such a tangible way.
We both shared a few tears, in gratitude, of how people rise through adversary.
And, if I'm really honest, this person doesn't feel like a "survivor" at all, but someone who seizes life and understands what's important. I don't know if this mindset is due to his cancer or if his mindset gave him buoyancy to endure the journey. But, I do know we send a message to the Universe, and Amy, that we also understand what's important in life....with each donation, visit, message, prayer.
Let's keep raising the vibration with all our love, laughter and generosity.
Thank you, thank you.
Susan and Peter
Let's keep rising together.
A little explanation about why I used the term rise above. I once heard Elkhart Tolle talk about how to move beyond our suffering - we can either go below or above our thinking.
We can go below -- temporarily -- through things like drugs, alcohol, shopping, work -- but at some point we will find ourselves face-to-face with our suffering again as we naturally evolve upward.
Evolution, you see, is natural like moving from crawling to walking - it will happen for everyone.
Rising above our thoughts -- thoughts create all our suffering -- is the perfect way to distance ourselves from our attachments to old ways of being. So, more freedom, more wholeness, more health.
This is a day-to-day, sometimes minute-to-minute endeavor.
It's not always easy or pretty.
I'm inspired by Amy's willingness to rise above in spite of everything unfolding.
May we all be such a light, and rise above.
ALSO, OMG CAN'T BELIEVE I DIDN'T TELL YOU..... Went for my 2 month post-treatment office visit scans - a CT Scan and and MRI and I have no tumor! NO traces of a tumor! So turns out all that effort did get rid of the tumor in my nose. I had nasopharangeal carcinoma. Now that I know I'll survive, you can google away. From here forward, I'll meet with ENT every 2 months wherein she will put a camera scope up my nostrils and back into my nasopharynx and see if it looks normal - that's how we'll check for cancer recurrence over the next year. OXO
Hello Everyone - I'm 2 months past treatment today and have been wanting to check in. I've been sending all of you gratitude and love lately. Your donations have been at the forefront of my mind as I continue on, unable to work and yet requiring care and help with my healing from a handful of practioners. I see an acupuncturist regularly who has been a MAGICIAN and healed so many small ailments that bowl me over. I did a course of hypebaric chamber sessions - those help rebuild and recreate capillary pathways in bones that are often destroyed with radiation. For head cancers, this is particularly important (or it was for me) because your jaw holds all of your teeth, so I really hope I helped to rebuild some blood flow to my face and jaw. Healing, as I have learned, is going to be slow. By now, I thought my immune system would be rebounding and I'd be feeling better. That's just not the case. My immune system is actually the lowest it's been since I started this journey, and I'm just as tired as the last few weeks of chemo. Some days I can't lift my arms to give Ken a hug. All in all, I'm doing great and don't have many complaints. It's just a long road, and so be it - a good way to continue practicing by buddha mind....."Nothing is permanent." So, rather then wait for things to change, I have a daily practice of accepting where I am. I am still not working for various reasons. Mostly, I don't have the energy or capacity for prolonged thought. The immune system keeps me out of the dirt. Mainly, my biggest challenge right now is food. I've had a hard time with eating and have developed many food aversions over the months. If I had to guess, I would say this mostly has to do with several food aversions I developed as I was loosing taste and regaining taste. My taste is back, for the most part, and maybe even a little too strong. I taste things so deeply now - every mineral and sulphur-y bit a vegetable has to offer. All the iron in meat. It's not nice and I don't like it, to be honest, so I avoid many things. Further, I have acid reflux issues after months of taking Prilosec (this is NOT a good idea, btw!) and fall ill quickly if I don't mind how often I eat or strickly adhere to my medicine schedule. Food simply does not appeal. And for this, I'm not food writing at all. The thought of it makes me a little nauseous. I'm struggling enough with daily calories, and the last thing I want to do is think about food and how to make it enticing for others. I have regained some saliva (Yahoo!), and though it comes and goes it's been so great to feel these improvements. I had an hour long phone conversation the other day!!! That's amazing! My hair is also growing back, so I'm so happy for that. I lost about 1/3 of my hair off the back from radiation. Radiation kills the hair follicles so regrowth is a big question, but it's coming in a wee bit and I'm looking forward to being a bit warmer. It's COLD when you don't have hair! My disposition is mostly cheery, as ever, and my days are peaceful. Please feel free to visit sometime or give a call. Today, Ken and I are off to Europe to visit family. We will be at home in our flat in Glasgow and then I'm spending 6 days with my cousin in Croatia. I'm very happy for the change in scenery, and for the ability to visit another "home" that we have and to finally hug some people that have been very, very worried about me/us. I love you all, amy
annnnnnnd DONE! Holy good lord, I thought this day would never come and now that it has, it feels freeing, but also just like any other day. Tomorrow, I don't have to wake up and go to radiation and my body will be healing and I'm thrilled for that, but also.....it's another day. And another day after that. So here's where I am..... I am in deep gratitude for all of your donations and offerings and providing of HELP. And all of your cards! and flowers! Oh, the shower of love has been uplifting. I have an amazing support group and I'm so thankful for you all. Dr. says I have about 2-3 weeks of the same and maybe a wee decline before my body will really start to kick into healing. They all say healing is a long road that often lasts a year. I say.....WHY NOT NOW? and while I do feel depleted, I've started my get-well-supplement-regime and I have faith in my bodies ability to heal. I still have and use my feeding tube exclusively to eat - I'm in no hurry to try foods just yet - want my mouth, throat and saliva production to heal a bit before I journey down that road. My neck is covered in radiation burns and while they are uncomfortable, they are not terribly painful at the moment, so it's a healing game there too. (Dr says in 1 month my skin will be completely healed.) I lost big hunks of hair in the back of my head due to radiation. They may or may not grow back, but as I tell Sarah Kahn Hair every time I get a haircut..."I can't see the back, so what do I care?" My immune system is low (but by no means in a deeply compromised state) and currently, I have an inflamed lymph system (from radiation) so that basically means it feels like I have strep throat or tonsilitis. Talking/swallowing is hard just now, so texting/email/letters my preferred method of communication. And with that.....LET THE HEALING BEGIN. I'm taking the rest of the summer exclusively to heal. I've learned so much over the last 3 months. So much. As I said from the very beginning, I believe things happen to us for purpose. There are no coincidences. And so I've been journeying and working hard to love where I am in every moment (not easy) and love myself through this process. This is life's work and I'm inspired to continue. I know I have more lessons to come. Let us all RISE UP (thank you Susan) and love one another and OURSELVES. Namaste, amyp
HI! Guess what? Today was my last day of chemotherapy...hurray! I have 8 more days of radiation. Ken has launched a fist-pumping countdown and I can finally see the light, and that is new. THANK YOU, again, for all of your donations, messages, offers and kindness during this wacky time. As many of you know, life is flipped upside down and knowing that you're all out there has been awesome. My daily deterioration stopped about a week ago and now it's only every few days that something will change - I loose more saliva production or headaches set in, or there are more sores/changes to my mouth. These are all tolerable things. Unpleasant, but tolerable. And I'm tired. Bone tired, but again.....so tolerable. About a week ago I up'd my medication and now take daily anti-nausea pills. This has helped with my general disposition - nothing throws me out of wack faster then nausea - funny that THAT is the thing that cripples me, but it's a chain-reaction sort of thing. Needless to say, I think that's dialed in for now. At this moment in time, I am focusing on the task at hand - coping and eventual healing. My day is filled with personal chores - feeding myself, taking care of my skin which is starting to burn/weep, making teas/concoctions, researching online (currently: protecting my skin & how to stimulate hair regrowth post radiation), etc Lately, I've been sleeping a lot too. So tired. I welcome this because it helps pass the time. My sister is here now for a week helping out. I can't thank you enough for all you are doing and have done. All your little messages have been boosters. THANK YOU to everyone who donated your hard earned dollars. It's been such a wonderful and dumbfounding experience for me to feel so supported. It occurred to me last week.......I'm loved more than I love myself. Profound, right? It all feels like too much. I found myself crying, tender-hearted and thinking.... "it's too much, I don't deserve this," but I'm also quiet enough that I'm paying attention to those hidden beliefs and healing them through this journey. So thank you for your out-pourings. And a special note to all of you here on gofundme.........My feeling about this donation page changed as time went on. Initially I thought Ken and I would be totally fine and we didn't really need that much money because we had the bills under control. As my treatment progressed it has become very clear to me I will not be able to work for some time and this crowd sourcing has actually ended up saving us from deep financial debt. More importantly to me, it has also allowed me to pursue complementary forms of medicine and healing so that I may recover more naturally and more quickly than if I were just taking the allopathic route. (Which I likely do not need to tell you is very narrowminded.) So...... it's been a profound lifesaver in ways I never could have imagined. Thank you all so much. I LOVE YOU namaste
Hello everyone. I'm writing from chemotherapy today - seemed an apropos time to check in with everyone. My radiation oncologist told me today I'm halfway through treatment after tomorrow - he seems very pleased by this. I, on the other hand, feel like it is so far away I can't see it. Every day I climb a mountain. I have many side effects and ailments from the radiation and chemotherapy. The usual stuff you hear about (hair loss, nausea) and then some extra things that come from head cancers- loss of salivia, swallowing difficulties, damaged to vocal chords. These are the things that bring me to my knees and deplete me. I STILL can't believe I'm going through all this. (as a side note, this is ego work.) All of this is to say......THANK YOU. I made a list of things where I can "Be Productive" and hung it on the fridge yesterday. I included reading all of your encouragement on that list. I have little joy these days, but reading the messages really does spur me on, even if only for a few minutes or an hour. It's a well-needed boost. Your generosity of friendship and donations have been my beacon of light. It is clear to me know I won't be able to work for some time - maybe not even this year and so from the bottom of my heart, thank you. YOU MADE A DIFFERENCE. I want you to know that, sincerely. Love you all. Bless us all. Love yourself today, pleasepleaseplease! oxo amyp
HI everyone, Ok NOW I'm overwhelmed with the outpouring of support. What more can I say but thank you? It's been a rough go these last 2 weeks with surgery & treatment and my body is rebelling, but I know there are lessons in here, too. Lessons to listen and lessons to make bold new choices. Step into the resistance, as they say. Every day I feel like I'm climbing a new mountain, but I have to have faith that it's all for good reason. Thank you for holding us in your thoughts. Thank you for all you are. Love, amy
Hey y'all. I think the typical response to this sort of thing is WOW, I'm OVERWHELMED, I'm SO BLESSED. THANK YOU. But you also know I'm not typical. (And this journey from cancer is making me more atypical by the minute. Happy to fill you in when I see you.) So, I will speak my truth. I am not at all surprised by your gracious words, full of LIFE and ENERGY - they are uplifting. I am not at all surprised by your gracious support. I'm watching the numbers climbs and I can't help but feel in balance. Of course you are sending support. I would do the same. That circle of goodness is what it's all about. It's why I'm your friend and it's why my friend Susan has such lovely friends and so on and so forth. As I'm mentioned to several people - I sure as hell hope I never have the opportunity to return the favor in THIS particular way, but you know I am here for you, as I AM you. And you are me. And we are the universe of love that is available to us all. Sending love to you each, and each of yours and each of theirs, and .....oxo Namaste