A Year of Hope

So many people have been so kind to me. One wonders if I deserve such love and affection. I think it is a message to me to become a better person. Of course we all strive to be better than we are but my journey is showing me so much love and compassion, I just can't help but be inspired and will always remember this time in my life.

I am here writing this because my sister has requested that I prepare a way for those people who would like to help in a financial way. Go Fund Me gives easy access to doing so.

It has taken me some time to think about what I would say. I have to admit it gives me something to think about in the wee hours, when I can't sleep. I made a promise that I would not allow myself to think about my cancer or my treatments in those hours.

So here is my story. It's not so different than others'. We have all heard of sickness calling when you are least expecting it or completely unprepared financially.

When I lost my job two years ago, I thought I would feel sorry for myself for a short time, then just get back in the game with my newly acquired skills. I learned so much, surely someone would want to snap me up. Nope. I applied for over 300 jobs before I found a wonderful temp agency that would throw me a bone with a month here and there of temporary employment. I was grateful and there was always the expectation that I could show them what a hard worker I was, and it “might go permanent.”

The last position offered was for four months. Guess I was better at it than expected because I ended up finishing the job in four weeks, which would turn out to be a blessing in disguise. You see that last week on the job, let's just say I was seeing some signs that I should go to the doctor. Had I not been given the short notice of the job being finished, I probably would have ignored the signs to go to the doctor and kept on working. I went to the doctor the following Monday.

The biopsy showed I did indeed have uterine cancer. The surgery that was meant to fix and get rid of the cancer was not going to be the answer. I was told after surgery that I still had cancer. It had spread.

I spent that night after hearing this terrible news feeling completely beside myself, wallowing in the thoughts of still having cancer and treatments that would be in my future for a good part of the next year. Also, the fact that I had no job and would not be able to commit to even a temporary position. Many people who are already in a job have an understanding with their employers and are able to take time off for rest and treatments. Unfortunately, this would not be the case for me.

For most of my adult life I have been an artist and entrepreneur. I have always figured out ways to start a business and help to fill the world with something beautiful that I had created. I only started doing office work, and helping other people run their businesses, because I wanted to earn income for my family.

So here is the rub, as they say. At this point I know I am going to need a lot of rest. I will have my up days and my down days, at least that's what they tell me. The only thing I know for sure is that I am going to lose my hair. Yes, that freaks me out. But I thought I might also be able to bring the artist back to life in some way and get my mind off of the most difficult parts of cancer treatments. It would be nice to have something that would absorb my attention and perhaps produce something beautiful I could sell and get back to contributing to my family as I always have before.

I have been recovering from the surgery and am just starting to get my stamina back. My new treatments of chemotherapy, radiation and hormone therapy will start in a few days. I am facing a lot of unknowns right now but, I still have faith in God and HOPE that everything will turn out alright.

With giant medical bills in front of me, for this year and next, as well as the home and personal bills and the fact that I am an artist with no art supplies, I have put my pride aside and taken up my sister's request to employ this idea for a fund-raiser.

Thank you for all the love and support. We try not to need each other in times like this but life is full of unexpected challenges and after all, we are all in this life together. Your prayers and love are so much appreciated. If you are able to contribute in a financial way we would be forever grateful. Whether it's love, prayers or financial help, it all makes me feel better just knowing that you are there and I am not alone.
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April Helmstead Winkler 
Raleigh, NC
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