My name is Franceska and on the 17th of March, 2021 at around 2 in the afternoon, I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer. By the 21st of April, I started chemotherapy at the Royal Marsden and a few weeks after that I lost all my hair and began to feel very unwell.
But I kept trying to have a normal life....I'm an event organiser on Meetup so I kept my online events going - sort of. As an art teacher, I tried to offer a few online classes which were doable in the early stages of chemo before the toxins started accumulating, but now as I'm writing this several months later in July, I'm struggling to manage fatigue, bone pain and a multitude of other chemo side effects and know I cannot work.
I'm already on Universal Credit which is a benefits system set up for those of us here in the UK who don't have work and need help paying bills, but because they're government benefits, they pay the bare minimum for survival and yes there are other benefits I have applied for but the decision system is corrupt and makes me wait months for an answer so I'm still getting just enough to cover basic expenses and not much else.
My boyfriend drives me to London every Wednesday for treatment. My hospital is in the centre of London and doesn't have available parking for patients or visitors so when my boyfriend drops me off, he can either park somewhere and sit in his car if it's a short appointment or if it's a few hours, the cheapest he's found to park his car is a grocery store car park which charges about £50 per day to park.
Every few weeks or so I transfer a months worth of money to my boyfriend to pay him back for parking, petrol and any congestion charges we received from our trips to and from the hospital.
Because I have cancer and am receiving chemotherapy, my immune system is compromised and means I'm very vulnerable to infection so I'm unable to take public transportation into London which would probably be cheaper than driving in each time. The common cold could put me in hospital and be very life-threatening to me which is why I'm very careful especially during this pandemic.
I'm asking for help to fund my remaining hospital visits so that I can pay my boyfriend back for parking, petrol and congestion charges for August and September without dipping into my basic living expenses.
To break our visits into London down a bit more -
1 day in London =
- £50 parking fee
- £30 petrol fee
- £80 congestion fee
Now if you multiply those amounts per visit to every week of the next two months, it's quite a lot and sadly beyond what the government gives me in benefits. We have August and September left and then I'll be cancer free but most definitely we need help to fund 2 more months of hospital visits.
I'm also asking for help to fund my healing from cancer.
I've got a scan on the 4th of August which will show a smaller tumour (or potentially nothing left!) and then I'll have two more chemotherapy treatments left - one on the 11th of August and the last one on the 1st of September. Then I'll have a few weeks rest before I have lumpectomy surgery which will then be followed by some radiotherapy which should bring me to the end of September as cancer free at last! I cannot wait as this has been a long journey so far.
At this stage, I'm struggling with bone pain, toxicity in my liver, kidneys and ovaries and a very weakened immune system after months of chemotherapy.
On the one side, it's so wonderful that the chemotherapy has been working and shrinking the tumour and getting me on the road to recovery which I very much want. But on the other side, my body is showing all the signs of the toxins in my body after months of chemicals and my bones are suffering, my eyes sight is diminished, my digestive system is wrecked and I'm unable to sleep to heal.
I would like to do acupuncture to help my body heal between my remaining chemo cycles, my upcoming surgery and radiotherapy and when I'm finally able to recover from all of this.
I've found a local acupuncturist here in St Albans where I live and would like to book several months with him to help bring my body back and to help it heal from this experience. I cannot at this time afford to pay for the fees to go to this acupuncturist so this is where funding would help so much. If I could fund regular appointments with him for August, September and even October then this would be wonderful as I could finally heal my body and return to being pain free at long last!
To give an example of the monthly acupuncture I'd like to heal my body with:
- One acupuncture session is £60
- A month of acupuncture is £225
- Three months of acupuncture would be £675
Following the end of my chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy, I'm really looking forward to going to a dentist because I've not been able to have dental treatment since before I began my treatment back in April and since then, chemotherapy has done some significant damage to my teeth. I've been holding off with painkillers and medicated toothpaste to keep problems at bay but I never thought, I'd say that I'm really looking forward to having a root canal! I would like to raise funds for this root canal which I'll need to have done through a dental specialist here in St Albans as they have experience treating people like me who have had several months of chemotherapy. They are not on the NHS however so I have to pay the private fees to have this done and currently I cannot imagine how I'll afford to do this.
To have a root canal at the UK Dental Specialists here in St Albans will cost me up to £2,000 which would also include the various antibiotics needed to combat what chemo has done to my oral health.
I would also like to fund regular reflexology treatments following my surgery and radiotherapy and have these reflexology treatments help alongside regular acupuncture treatments to give my body the best recovery possible. I also have a local reflexologist I've been to in the past and would like to book with her again for regular treatments. For her to come to treat me, I have to pay £60 per treatment which at the moment I can't afford but with your help, I would like to arrange weekly treatments with her for September, October and November.
So to break down reflexology treatments fees:
- £60 for one treatment
- £240 for a month of treatments
- £720 for 3 months of treatments
It's my hope that by October, I'll be recovered enough to potentially start earning a living again so I'm really hoping that the pandemic doesn't put us back into another lockdown and that I'm able to teach again in person which would make me so happy to finally return to visiting the museums in London that I've missed so much! I'm aiming for October being my time to return to being healthy and strong again and with this fund helping me pay for our remaining hospital visits as well as the healing following treatment, I know this autumn will be a beautiful experience of strength, good health and happiness and I can't wait!!
If you're able to contribute any amount, know that you're helping so very much and giving me a better chance at survival which is the most precious gift anyone can give!
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