In May 2012 I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Being diagnosed is bad enough, but what one has to deal with as a result is something that no one really talks about. So many have issues, some a lot worse than mine. Just today I heard about a 31-year-old who died from ovarian cancer because she could not get treatment, despite going to various hospitals.
October is the month that turns "pink" for breast cancer "awareness." I don't think anyone has an awareness problem. I think way too many know the problem all too well. Many women who are diagnosed with breast cancer find, much to their dismay, that those places one think would/could help, can't/won't.
I have spent much of the last year and a half talking openly about my experience. I have made about 125 videos to date (http://youtube.com/user/gotstressgetrelief) and have blogged extensively, with approximately 950 entries.
I have said I talk about the good, the bad and the ugly. I decided early on that I was not going to pull any punches. In my experience, I had not seen anyone doing what I have been doing. Perhaps there are others, but I yet to discover them. Since people don't talk about it, they're not as popular or as well known as the clothes a popular celebrity is wearing.
I decided a long time ago that if I could be, I wanted to be a voice for those who couldn't speak for themselves. I wanted to be a voice for those who would rather not talk about their pain, their anguish, their devastation. I wanted to help, and I created http://Relatingtocancer.com for the purpose of helping those who were shell-shocked by their experience.
I also continued to blog at http://Relatetocancer.com as I found it helpful to me, but also was hearing from several who had had their own experiences with cancer how painful it was to read. It was too familiar to their own experience and pain.
Others who hadn't had experiences began to tell me how much they appreciated my frank voice, as it helps people to better understand what another might be going through.
I know I am on to something. I have felt it for a while as I have struggled to survive, and pay my bills. My insurance has been expensive all along. Earlier this year it went to nearly $670 per month. I have been living as simply as possible. Basically I haven't really lived. I have been mostly "surviving" just over the water line.
I was really trying to make things work, but haven't been able to due to a number of factors, not the least of which has been the on-going impact of treatment.
I had hoped I was done. Sadly, that is not the case. Not only is that not the case, I was recently given some pretty grim news. It is possible that if I go on chemo again, I may not ever get off. While a miracle could occur, the doctor tells me that more than likely the best I could hope for would be to stop the progression, or perhaps have it retreat some, but tells me the likelihood of it ever going away is pretty slim.
As you might imagine, this has been very devastating news. So now I have to make an impossible choice. And I just don't know what is going to happen, and that is what leads me to the creation of this page.
For quite a while I wanted to take a cross country trip. I had tried to have one earlier this year, and go with someone, but it never took off. I had no real choice but to walk away from it and hope that I could get back to it.
Well. Now is not then. Then wasn't on the heels of chemo. Now is. And it may be a matter of doing it now, or never doing it at all. If my life is coming to an end, I do not want to go out without this trip.
Among other things, I wonder if this trip could also be a healing trip. I want to meet people along the way and I want to create videos and I want to talk about LIVING LIFE, not dying from cancer.
I have been running out of money, so this trip is sheer craziness to even consider. But it feels really important to me. I can only hope that others will see what I see and help me to make it happen. This coming week (October 7) I am going to be seeing if I can get sponsors for the things I need.
The amount I am asking for presumes that I won't find any sponsors, and it also is a close to "ideal" scenario. The idea is to spend 30 days on the road. By my estimations, these are the costs I would incur:
$3500 car rental + full insurance
$500 misc/buffer money
I am not adding much buffer money, but I have added some. In my wishful thinking, I will get sponsors and still get support this way before, during and after my trip. Any additional money will give me greater piece of mind on the road, and more flexibility. It would also help me to survive once I get home. At this point, I MAY only have enough to pay bills through the end of the year.
If I have to begin chemo again, it will make it next to impossible to try to take care of myself financially. Even off of chemo it has been mostly impossible. My business pretty much dissipated with the arrival of my diagnosis.
I have been holding my breath for months. I had savings and I have had some help, and I have made it much farther than I ever thought I would or could.
This is about so much more than about me. If you, or anyone you love and care about has ever dealt with cancer, you likely know what I mean. There needs to be more awareness. Conversations need to be had. Connections need to be made.
I have no idea what will happen on this trip. I am thinking of driving an average of 4 hours a day, or every other day. I would love to drive out on one route and come back on another one. Another option is to take a longer, slower route to get to the west coast, and then fly home. **I am leaning in the flying home direction, which makes the car rental more expensive, and adds airfare.**
Sadly, I even have to consider if there is any physical concern what option I may exercise. I would hope to not have to abandon the trip, but at this point, who the heck knows what can and will happen? I certainly don't.
But, like you, I am taking my best guess and moving forward. I really could use your help. Even $1 helps. If 1,000 people see this and contribute, it will be $1000. Although I think the minimum here is $5. 1000 people at $5 could almost give me what I need.
Paypal is an option, if you want to donate $1. You can send it to thankyou at jolope.com. One thing I did not include above are the fees that come out for administration costs. So really, I need more than $8,500 to actually get to my goal.
I would love to give things away to thank you, but frankly I don't know what that could be, plus it would likely be agreat drain on me. These campaigns can take a lot more work than people realize!
But I will say this, if there is ever anything I can do for you, I certainly will do my best to help. I am more than happy to talk about you on my blog and/or radio show (http://worldofperspectiveradio.com), and if you are able and willing to be a major sponsor, I will find ways to promote you while I am traveling. I will do my best to make it worth your while - if in no other way honoring those who are dealing with lives ravaged by cancer.
This is already an exhausting endeavor. Quite frankly, I don't know how I am going to do it. But it is not going to stop me from trying. Please support my adventure, especially if you would like for there to be a voice out in the world that isn't afraid to talk about the things many won't talk about.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.
Like many things in my life right now, I am just taking one day at a time and making it up as I go along. If you have a place I can stay, or if you would like to say hello, please also be in touch, and let's see if we can work something out.
If you know of any companies or organizations that would be willing to support this trip, please let me know. I would love to find a contact at a hotel chain, a car rental place, a gas station to speak with.
Whether you choose to help or not, thanks for reading to this point. Please know that the story of cancer is nothing like what most think it is, and if you want to know more, spend some time on my blog http://relatetocancer.com and share it with others.
One last thing. Even though I do talk a great deal about cancer on my blog, my blog is more about life and about living - which is exactly what this trip would be about.
PS I will update this page as things are formulated.
10/7/13 Today's radio show addressed this topic/and trip. If you like to listen, you can download a podcast at http://jolope.com/wopr/podcast/World_Of_Perspective_10-07-2013.mp3
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