For nine weeks, my mother had to endure the unforgiving treatments of chemotherapy and radiation and never once did she complain or feel sorry for herself. She woke up every morning sicker than the last and pushed through treatment like a relentless beast. My mother was determined to beat this because she knew her life was far from ready to be over.
When treatment ended and her results of the CT scan came back we were all hopeful and to our luck mom was in the clear. Her (then) oncologist had told us that mom was cancer free and our next step would be to remove the lung. Everyone who had been following mom’s updates was over joyed and I had to admit I finally felt like maybe luck would be on our side, but that all changed upon seeing the lung surgeon.
When he walked into the room his mood was less than thrilled and it instantly filled a thick heavy cloak of bad news. You could see the frustration and sorrow in his face when the words came out they cut even worse than the look he had on his face when walking in the room. He explained in detail that some of the lymph nodes were still lighting up in the CT scan and he was certain that they were still active and mom was NOT cancer free and immediately all hopes of forever had flow out the window. He was almost positive that the results that were showing on the CT was not the radiation still lingering but couldn’t not tell for sure until he was able to do a biopsy.
Biopsy day came and the week waiting up to the results were torturous. I couldn’t help feeling like the universe was playing some sick and curl joke on my family, but I still held onto hope. When the day come (again) to receive the news we all had high hopes. The results came back that mom’s oncologist was right and mom was cancer free! Although, when he gave us the good news I could see in his face that it was still filled with doubt, but he remained hopeful with us. The lung surgeon explained the next steps with us and that he was to remove either part of the lung or the entire lung itself. This meant mom’s life would change but at this point having to live with only one lung would me better than not living at all.
Game day was upon us and we all were ready to come out with a victory. Emotions were high but we all pretty much certain that mom would come out of surgery with one less of a lung but even more fight. We all said our good lucks and kissed mom on last time before surgery. Honestly, I can remember how long mom was in surgery for but the hours leading up until we received the news from the surgeon were a blur. The news was definitely not what we all hoped for and it felt like a kick to the gut with a steel toe boot. Bad news, turns out that her lung surgeon was right and cancer was still lingering his ugly existence in a few of her lymph nodes, thus making the surgery impossible.
Mom’s only option now is to continue treatment to keep the cancer from growing. These prolonged treatments are called immunotherapy and she will have to go every two weeks to receive until treatment until it is no longer effective, but we are hoping and planning on keeping her around for many more years. But because of all the treatment mom had received during chemo/radiation and now prolonged treatments her medical bills are starting to pile up. Her teeth are being to rot and cause her enormous amount of pain. She has already had two root canals and had been on three different kinds of antibiotics to help treat the infections. She’s currently taking another antibiotic for her next root canal but because of the root canals costing almost $1400 each she is trying to put it off because of the lack of funds. If she doesn’t get the her teeth fixed then she will have to keep taking antibiotics and if she keeps taking the antibiotics she won’t be able to receive her immunotherapy treatments which she needs to keep the cancer from growing.
So, I’m asking for help from anyone who can give it. Between her insurance premium payments, copays, dental insurance, and out of pocket expenses, mom doesn’t need any more weight on her shoulders. This woman has been through enough and because she’s so stubborn to ever ask for help, I’m going to do it for her. I can’t lose my mom, not now. I have way too many plans with her, my brother has a whole new life and she’s got to him bloom into the man she always knew he could be. Both my brother and I are just not ready to let her go. Mom was the only parent in our lives that has kept it from falling apart. Sure, she made mistakes along the way and possibly the reason why Chris and I (Starr) are the way we are, but without her I’m positive we wouldn’t be half the somewhat decent human beings we are today. We’re just not ready to be orphans yet.
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