Brenda's Battle with Cancer

In early April, Brenda went to the doctor with lower back pain and passing blood clots. Large blood clots. As a post-menopausal 57-year-old, she knew something was wrong. She was afraid, and told her two adult daughters as much. 

For years, she has worked in a grocery store making enough for the ends to meet with nothing more for savings or extras like doctor's visits. It's hard to think of medical care as a luxury, but for many people, including Brenda, it is. A doctor's bill can mean not making a car payment or buying groceries. 

When the pain became too much, she decided she had to go. Her youngest daughter went with her. At the visit, Brenda was told she had a mass and needed to go to the local hospital for a scan. That same day she went for the scan, those physicians told her she had a very large mass that they didn't have the resources to diagnose. She was sent to the University of Kentucky where she would spend four days. 

After many tests, pokes and prods, and a whirlwind of medical professionals--from gynecology to oncology, nurses to surgeons--she was told she had stage 3 cervical cancer. 

The words hung in the air. . . stage. . .3. . . cervical. . . cancer

Then the hardest news then came--with treatment she has a 30% chance of survival

As a mother of two and grandmother of seven, she's not ready to give up. Her oldest grandson graduates from high school in May. She wants to be there to congratulate him. There are so many milestones and memories to share and make with her other grandchildren that she doesn't want to miss. 

She will have radiation treatments five days a week starting on April 23. One of those days will include chemotherapy. And, this course of treatment will last eight weeks. 

Not only will the treatment be physically difficult, but it will be emotionally challenging for her to be away from her support network at home. She will be staying in Lexington at the American Cancer Society's Hope Lodge  for the duration of her treatment. While the lodging is free, there is the expense of food,  transportation and bills, as well as other incidentals. 

The Hope Lodge recommends having a caregiver stay with her the whole time she's there. Her two daughters, neither of whom live in Lexington, will take turns staying the eight weeks so she isn't alone and has the love and support she needs to stay strong. 

Sebrina lives in Stanford, KY and Melissa lives in Columbia, MO. They will rotate weeks caring for their mother. 

In addition, Brenda has had to quit her job. There's no savings for a safety net, and no life insurance should the treatments not work. She's worked her whole life, sometimes two jobs at a time, so it is very humbling to ask for help. Many of you have asked how you can help, and this is it. 

Give what you can. Send well wishes. Say a prayer. And, keep her in your thoughts as we begin to navigate this chapter.

For those not wanting to use their credit card or have the small fee charged, you are welcome to use PayPal. All money will go into an account for Brenda’s care.

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Melissa Willett 
Stanford, KY
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