Andrea's cancer treatment fund

$3,950 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 32 people in 7 months
Created August 24, 2018
Deb Linder
on behalf of Andrea Bengimina
At the beginning of July, 2018, our dear friend and co-worker, Andrea Bengimina, discovered a lump in her breast while doing a self examination. A few short weeks later, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. At some point in our lives, all of us have been affected by cancer—either a personal battle or helping a loved one with the disease.

Besides the physical and emotional tolls, we are raising money to help Andrea with her medical costs, insurance bills, wigs, and other expenses resulting from her treatments. 

 We are grateful for ANY help in this fight and will do whatever it takes to make sure Andrea gets through this. 

"Cancer is only  going to be a chapter in my life,
not the whole story." -Anonymous
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Andreas lumpectomy surgery went well this morning. Her nodes were negative, and the tumor will take a week to get results but they said they are 70% sure it will continue to be negative, so excellent news so far! Please continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers, and thank you all!
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Lots to celebrate!
Journal entry by Andrea Bengimina — 15 hours ago

Hi everyone,
Let’s see, where do I begin? I made it through the horrible 4th cycle of Adrimycin/Cytox chemo and am unbelievably still standing! Our girls Rachel and Cheryl came in town on Monday and they not only cooked dinner almost every night they were here but they completely gutted and reorganized my closet! Let me tell you, that was a chore all it’s own. I now have 3 big trash bags of clothes to donate. Feels very cleansing to weed out! Yesterday they took me and we met Joanna to have the ultrasound on my tumor and lymph node, then lunch and shopping afterward, while we held on to positive thoughts for the results. Today they came with me, Joanna and Laura to my first round of the 12 weekly Taxol treatments. We were there for 5.5 hours starting at 7:30 am. First we saw Dr O’Dea to hear about the ultrasound....Drum roll please....The tumor is shrinking And there are no signs of the cancer in the once infected lymph node!! Yippie! This is Big news because in some cases the tumor does not shrink, so we are definitely on the right track! Dr O’Dea was extremely pleased with this info and so was I! While I was hoping for good news, at the same time I was preparing myself for bad news. During the ultrasound I thought I saw something that looked not quite right (because you know I moonlight as a radiologist tech) so when I heard the good news, tears of relief just feel out of my eyes. We are all so grateful and encouraged as we move forward. Rachel and Cheryl had to bring good luck with them from LA! What a blessing to have them here for this, and for their Dad to get some lovin’ from them, (couple of pics enclosed) he needed that as much as I did. I’m happy they can go home feeling better about what’s happening here. It was hard saying goodbye to them tonight.
So you see, a lot to celebrate for now!

P.S. Taxol has its own unique and scary challenges but let’s save that for another post. Maybe Laura can share that since she took copious notes. Right now I’m feeling happy!
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Last Of The Double Whammies...
Journal entry by Laura Laiben — Oct 12, 2018

I'm here with Andrea for the last of the double chemo treatments. She will start her weekly "single ingredient" Taxol treatments on November 5th and from there on they will be every Monday for 12 weeks. She switched to Monday treatments so it won't interfere with work schedule (she's usually off on Mondays as you know). We met with the Dr. this morning before the chemo started. Discussed the increased fatigue that she felt after the last treatment and they said it was normal and due to the hemoglobin drop. The Taxol likely won't make her feel that same serious level of fatigue. The Dr. examined her and said the tumor definitely feels smaller. We scheduled an ultrasound for Thurs. 10/25 and that's when we'll get exact size. They do that before she starts on the 12 Taxol treatments so they know what the chemo is doing so far.

So what we can expect this week is that for a couple of days she won't feel that bad, but then Monday-Thursday of next week she can expect to feel even worse than last time. The good news is that this should be the last time she has to go through this roller coaster. She's not looking forward to it but understands it's part of the process. With the Taxol she can expect things like nail color change, taste changes, rashes, tingling in hands/feet but not all the achy bone pain and intense fatigue.

So, all in all, it's not fun as we know...but she has dodged some bullets along the way...primarily b/c she is taking the meds as directed and she is listening to her body and stopping when she needs to.
Even though she looks a lot like Chuck without her wig :) she still feels like she is herself most of the time. So if you run into Chuck be sure to say hello, because you could very well be talking to Andrea. And if it turns out to be Chuck, tell him to tell Andrea hello.
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Napping
Journal entry by Andrea Bengimina — Oct 3, 2018

I have been napping a lot these last few days. Docs said the fatigue would really kick in during #3 and #4 of the intensive treatments and boy that’s no joke. I went to the store yesterday early in the morning because I woke up feeling good. By the time I was checking out, it was all I could do to make it through just to get back to bed. And I felt great when I woke up! Wow it’s hits fast. My girlfriend Anita came to visit and that was great then as soon as she left, back in bed. I’m not complaining because sleeping feels so good. I have never been a person who takes naps but I feel rested when I wake up even from a 30 min nap now. It just doesn’t last as long as you think it would before you are sleepy again. After all that napping I did sleep 8 hours last night! I do believe the body heals during sleep so I am embracing it.
Today, I am going to work and I’m looking forward to it. At least when I come home today for my mid/late afternoon nap it will be because I’m actually tired from doing Something. Really grateful I’m doing so well. The fatigue is expected, so I shouldn’t be surprised. I’ve done so well so far I just thought I’d slide by without much of it creeping in. Not so, but ok. I can handle it. Maybe I can sneak in a quick nap before work this morning,
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$3,950 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 32 people in 7 months
Created August 24, 2018
Deb Linder
on behalf of Andrea Bengimina
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