The Kirkwood Family Relief Fund
Hello, I’m Doree. And I’m here today to tug at your heart strings a bit. I have a wonderful 10 year old son, and an amazing husband....and I have cancer.Almost 6 years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Talk about rocking my world. I was uninsured and scared to death. And 8 hours,by car, away from my family and friends. Quick scramble for some kind of coverage, and then I was off to surgery. At surgery, they found that I was stage 3c with invasive ductal carcinoma. My particular cancer was fed by hormones, so my own body was working against me. 6 months of dose dense chemo, and 36 radiation treatments followed. All the while, I was in and out of surgery trying to fix the incisions from initial surgery that wouldn’t heal. My reconstruction from the mastectomy was a mess, incisions wouldn’t heal, I had some sort of open wounds for almost a year. Finally, they gave up and removed the implant they gave me to give my body time to heal. And then YAY!!! My 1 year scan showed no New evidence of disease! I did it. I kicked cancers butt. I was down to just blood tests with my oncologist, which was great. But still dealing with reconstruction issues. I finally was offered a surgery called a diep flap procedure. Which basically means they took skin (from my stomach) and formed a new breast to replace the concave crater mess I had. 16 hours later and one week in the hospital and I was done, right? I beat cancer, had a new boob, nothing could stop me now, right? Wrong A routine blood test for cancer markers showed an increase. So straight to PET scan I went. Scan results showed numerous (15 or so) small tumors on bones from my shoulders down to my hips. Well crap. Back to treatment. Treatment wasn’t bad, monthly infusions of biphosphanates to help strengthen and regrow the damaged bone, and the ever present estrogen blockers. Fast forward 6 months. Scan time again. Good news this time. Bone metastasis were dead. Showed up as dark spots instead of the bright white of active cancer, woohoo. I did it again. Sort of...Remission. Remission is cool, would rather be no evidence of disease though, but that is no longer an option. I am now stage 4. I have cancer for the rest of my forever. But REMISSION!!!! I can get on board with remission. 2 blissful (that may be an exaggeration lol) years. I was in remission for 2 years. Then my 2.5 year scan came up. No big deal right? I thought for sure I was getting through this one, would have that 2.5 years of remission under my belt. That’s a major milestone for metastatic cancer patients. But no such luck. New scan showed several small tumors on my liver. LiverThat’s soft tissue. Once cancer gets to soft tissues it’s scary, I mean cancer is scary all on its own, but soft tissue progression is super duper scary. More treatment.My oncologist put me on an amazing new immunotherapy. After a couple of shaky months, I was feeling good....better than I had in years. 6 month scanTumors still present, fractions of a millimeter larger...but holding steady. So we kept on with same treatment. 6 month scanTumors shrunk! Fractions of a millimeter, but they shrunk! And they aren’t glowing as brightly as before. Which brings us to today. I have a scan scheduled in October to see where I stand. And will update here as needed. These scans get harder and harder to deal with, and it’s harder to stay optimistic the longer I do this. So I guess you are wondering what my line is about this point. What am I asking for? Peace of mind. A relief from some stress. The time and ability to make more memories. We are incredibly blessed in everything we have. A roof over our head, food in the pantry, and each other. But life’s normal stressors in addition to the stress of my disease is overwhelming on a good day, soul crushing on the bad ones. Living paycheck to paycheck, scrambling when something unexpected comes up, maxing out credit cards when the bills get to high. Cancer isn’t cheap for sure. I would love to be able to pay off bills, so that every penny isn’t accounted for before the check even comes. I don’t want vacations, I don’t want new stuff, I just want to be able to go places once in awhile with the loves of my life and not worry about what’s not going to get paid if we do it. I hate asking for help, and it’s taken me five years to get here. But here I am. Anything you can give is greatly appreciated, and if you can’t give, no problem! But please share, someone else you know may be able to.
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