Gina's Fight Against Breast Cancer

Hi, my name is Gina Romine and I am currently undergoing breast cancer treatment. I'm sure most of us have heard the expression "the third time's a charm." I certainly hope that's true as this is my third time to have cancer and hopefully my last time to undergo cancer treatment!
My journey with cancer began September 24, 2002 when I was diagnosed with late stage Ovarian Cancer. What was supposed to be a simple surgery had turned into something much worse. At the time I was married and my husband, two sons and I were definitely not prepared for the news. My surgeon even told me to get my affairs in order because I wouldn't survive a year. My reply to him was "You don't know me very well. I know God's not done with me yet." I guess I was right because I'm blessed to still be around today. After the surgery, I went through six months of chemo with all the normal side effects; hair loss, nausea, fatigue, etc. As most people know, cancer treatment isn't a walk in the park but is doable. Throughout it all, my mantra was and still is "whatever it takes." I repeated it every day and still do::I'll do whatever it takes to survive and beat cancer.
All was good and I was in remission until November, 2004. At that time the cancer was found in one tiny lymph node, which the surgeon removed. I then went through chemo every week for two years. That was definitely a long time, but it's like I said before:..whatever it takes. After the two years of chemo, I was in remission once again. And that brings us to the present::..
In late January of this year, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After further testing, it was determined that I needed a bilateral mastectomy and removal of lymph nodes. I had my surgery in March and am currently undergoing chemo. The picture of me is about two weeks after my first chemo. My hair had started falling out in clumps. There's not much that you have control of when you're dealing with cancer. I decided that I wasn't going to let cancer dictate when I would lose all of my hair so I took matters into my own hands. I shaved every bit of it off myself! After chemo is finished, I will also have to go through radiation. When I first started chemo, I was able to work full time. However, now the cumulative effects of chemo have taken its toll and I am not able to work. As of September 1, I am now on unpaid medical leave with no source of income. When I was diagnosed with my first cancer back in 2002, I had my spouse's income to fall back on but that is not the case this time. My husband left me in 2009 which resulted in a divorce.
I'm normally not the type of person who asks for help from anyone, as my friends can definitely confirm. But this time I find myself in a situation that I have not encountered before::unable to pay for rent, car, insurance, groceries, gas and continuous medical bills. I also have an upcoming surgery next year once all the cancer treatment is done. Then there is always the unknown:..will the cancer be gone at the end of all of this? What if it's not and I can't work? Tests will be done after chemo and radiation is finished to determine the success of the treatment. Too overwhelming for me to deal with right now but I also have to be realistic!
Throughout this journey I have kept a positive attitude as I believe that attitude and faith are the keys to survival. I am truly blessed with two amazing sons and wonderful friends. If you can find it in your heart to help me through this difficult time, I pray that God will bless you tenfold. My goal is to pay it forward and use any money that I don't need to help another woman in my situation.
Any donation would be greatly appreciated::God bless you all!!
Thank you,
Gina
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Organizer

Andrea Waite Bottema 
Organizer
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