Bonnie's Battle

From The Heart of a Hospice Nurse
When Cancer Strikes,
NO, Not My Sis

Doctors, you must be wrong, you see my Sis has led a Healthy Life. My sis has never drank, never used drugs, never smoked, gets yearly mammograms and always led a pretty Healthy Lifestyle. Doc, you just don't understand my sister takes care of herself so your diagnosis is a Big Mistake. We left the Doctor's office that cold March day of 2017 in a state of utter shock that consumed our inner soul, tears flooded down our cheeks, our bodies overwhelmed with anger, rage, disbelief and denial. All of these feelings I discuss on a daily basis with each of my patients, now it has become reality for my family. The big "C" has struck our family. After the shock, then came Reality.

Being a Hospice Nurse for twelve years, my profession has taken me on this incredible journey into the lives of the terminally ill.  A journey filled with deep commitment in providing compassionate care, to bring comfort & support, to show empathy and sincere love for each patient. The heartaches are endless and the tears are many.  Only this weekend, in two days, we had eleven patients passing, death is part of life, it shows no mercy, it doesn't discriminate, but for those eleven families, their lives will be changed forever.  How can I help my family navigate my sister’s final journey when I have witnessed first hand the financial burden and devastation it brings to patients and their families. My team and I are blessed to care for these patients, to deliver End of Life Care is a privilege and an honor.  Caring for a patient until the last breath is exhaled from their lungs and caring for the family thereafter is a rewarding experience that consumes every ounce of my energy. When Cancer or another terminal illness strikes your family, will you be prepared, will you have the strength, the resources and finances for the "Fight of your Life". If you are a Baby Boomer without insurance, within the Medicare Gap, then the answer is most likely NO.

My Big Sis Bonnie has worked hard for over 45 years, helping to run a once successful family business until the Great Recession of 2009 forced them to close. Bonnie then became an unemployable Baby Boomer who was forced into early retirement. Paul, her loving spouse recreated himself and began employment in a new career through 2014. Then he ventured into a new business which had great promise, but due to lack of promised funds and dishonest leadership, the business failed after just six months. Disaster strikes  again, the family was forced to make sacrifices to stay afloat, cashing in life savings, stocks, bonds, jewelry and precious family treasures, anything of value had to be sold. It was a struggle that was hidden from the family and the dearest of friends. They were forced to live a prudent and frugal lifestyle of survival choices, to pay house mortgage instead of health insurance, food rather clothing, couponing and pinching every penny was a struggle. Bonnie’s family learned to live with only the absolute necessities. Thank goodness their daughter was able to get grants for the first two years of college, but even so the expenses were all too great. This young lady is a Full-Time student, with a 3.6 GPA who works full time to help her family.

And just think all of this occurred before Bonnie's diagnosis.

As her sister I was unaware of what she was going through, until she became ill with Cancer. Now, it truly is a Battle, the Battle of Her Life, a Battle for Survival, to pay the mortgage and get the treatment she so rightly deserves.

My sis and her family were always so generous when times were good, abundant donations to people in need, always giving to those who were less fortunate. They truly have a Heart of Gold. I know that accepting help will be hard for them, as they have always been the ones "Giving" and now it's their time to "Receive".

Please come along this Heartfelt Journey to help my sister Bonnie. This money will be used for past medical expenses, current medical treatments and medications that are not covered under Medicare, travel expenses for treatment, food and living expenses.

Here is the rest of Bonnie’s story ….

Bonnie’s is a devoted wife, a loving mother of two sons and a beautiful 21 year old daughter, and a fabulous grandmother to five. In February of 2017, Bonnie had her annual mammogram and the doctors found a cancerous mass in her breast that was first thought to be isolated and curable. However, after biopsies and testing, on March 20, 2017 the doctors gave a final diagnosis of Metastatic Lung Cancer, meaning Lung Cancer which has spread to the breast, her chest, the spine, her bones and with the largest of tumors being in the liver.

Bonnie obtained Short Term Health coverage after her mammogram and before the biopsy, so unfortunately due to pre-existing conditions, the insurance company has denied all claims, leaving the family with medical expenses exceeding 100K and rising. Bonnie’s Cancer is Stage IV and Terminal.  Due to a DNA mutation, she is not a candidate for traditional chemo or radiation therefore she was placed on Xalkori (an oral chemo pill) that her insurance will not fully cover. This medication is a necessity to give her a better Quality of Life and to Slow Down the Progression of this Horrific Disease that has invaded her body.

Bonnie worked for over 45 years and paid taxes like the rest of the middle class. She was Denied Disability as Social Security said she did not have enough work credits since retiring in 2009, despite a third-party physician attesting to the cancer being present many years before her diagnosis, when she had health insurance and had enough work credits for Disability. Sadly, Social Security continues to deny her Disability.

Bonnie is now 65 and has Traditional Medicare, but unfortunately the family has accumulated a multitude of medical expenses before Medicare and now Medicare will not cover all necessary expenses.

Since Bonnie's diagnosis, she has been hospitalized for numerous DVTs (clots in the leg) and a PE (clot in the lung) so she will need to be on anticoagulants (blood thinners) the rest of her life. Then came the lung collapse, dehydration, near death and a horrific fall last week. Paul, her spouse is a full time caregiver, for which he is Awesome, but he has not found any flexible employment where he can do both. Yes, the house will most likely have to be sold and her family will have to relocate during her treatment, which will be another stressor that I am afraid will shorten her life. My prayer is that my sis will be comfortable and have a good quality of life. We know the Oral Chemo will not cure her cancer, but hopefully it will buy her time and possibly in several years, a cure will be found. 

Oh Heavenly Father, I pray that Bonnie will not have to sell her home and relocate during her illness, I pray for your mercy that she has a Better Quality of Life, to have more good days then bad, I pray this Fund will go viral and help relieve the burden of her medical expenses, Lord I pray Bonnie will be blessed, I pray she will live to see her daughter graduate from college and to be there on her Wedding Day.  Oh Father in Heaven, please bless the folks giving to this fund.  I mercifully ask for these blessings in Jesus name.   Amen!   

Please come along on this Heartfelt Journey to Raise Funds for my Beautiful Sister Bonnie.

Just as Jenna Bush Hager’s new book is entitled,
Sisters First,
I put my sis first always.
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Paul Vuxta 
Village, VA
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