I thought about how the last time I got cancer, I lost my health insurance--all while I was working. I lost my home and I lost my car. When I returned to work, I worked in Cancer public health. I taught people about the risks. I served on a committee that created a patient navigator program and I thought about how ashamed I was. You see, I couldn't work through my treatment; I was very sick and couldn't afford the over $700 a month for my insurance--even though I had a job on paper. I thought about how Navigent, the student loan agency told me last week that only 2 of my loans were eligible for forbearance. Then I thought, what the hell am I going to do???
I've also thought about every single me too event that has brought me to my knees. I thought about the love that left after I took care of it for 6-years. I thought about how I took care of my grandsons when my daughter got diagnosed with heart failure. And yes--I also thought about giving up! I didn't want to make this request. However, I realized that I could give in to cancer and all the horrors of my life or I could show cancer and tragedy, one more time, how it's done!
My treatment will involve genetic testing, extensive chemotherapy, followed by bilateral mastectomy, radiation and reconstruction. It will require me to miss a lot of time off work. It's already making me miss work. This is urgent! I start chemo in just a few short weeks. This time will be an even greater fight because there are some chemotherapy drugs that I can't take because I've had them before. My dear sister friend Nina calls me Job (you know the guy from the bible that never gave up?). I always tell her that I'm not as righteous as he was--no, not at all. But in this life that I've had--it certainly feels like a Job experience.
Here's the thing, I can humbly ask for the support that I need or I could give up and I have no intention of doing that. Help with this medical situation will stave off homelessness and instability for me, my grandchildren, and my daughter. It would mean that I could fully embrace treatment and not worry (as much) about how I'm going to pay for or get to treatment (I live in an area where there is no transportation to the hospital). It would mean that I wouldn't have to worry about co-insurance, copays, prescriptions and food. It would mean the difference between being able to wash myself and my clothes. Yes, this is just that serious.
The treatment will be hard; I will be faced with some of the harshest treatments because not many exist for this. But I can't give up. I'm sure that there are other things that people can do. I really need to give some thought to it. Food, household items, cleaning supplies and laundry detergent. I'd be really greatful for anything that relieves any of the burden.
Mostly, I am just committed to not giving up. No matter the response to this request. I don't know how I'm going to beat this or if I can. One thing's for sure, I can start focusing on how I'm going to live until I die, rather than the fact that I may die sooner than I planned. And how we live is just as important as how or why we die. No matter the pain or pressure, the heartbreak or fear--I choose to live with dignity, love, compassion and hope. I choose to encourage women near and far to never give up. I choose not to give in to the tattered traumatic history of my life, or the little voices in my head! There are still some things that I do get to choose to do and I choose to NOT GIVE UP! Please, please share my campaign far and wide.
Warmest regards and thank you--
Monica R. Fisher
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