Not too long into our marriage, I began experiencing heart issues. Over the next one and a half years, this led to several emergency room and hospital stays, a defibrillator, pace maker, and ultimately in 2008, I was given a heart transplant. Through it all Amanda was by my side, even going through graduate school by my hospital bedside. Unfortunately, this took a toll on Amanda.
In February 2009, just one month after I got out of a four month stay in the hospital, Amanda went to see an Oncologist as she had felt a lump in her breast.
It was as we feared.
Amanda was told that she had a very aggressive and deadly form of breast cancer, one that had a near total death rate unless you were Her2 positive and could receive Herceptin. Luckily Amanda was. This medication worked wonderfully, and we all breathed a sigh of relief thinking that Amanda had experienced her once-in-a-lifetime brush with death.
Unfortunately, this was nowhere near the last time that Amanda would be affected by this horrible disease. There have been many flare ups and semi-successfully treatments since 2009. With some treatments, she has had success and some have just temporarily tamed the monster. All of the treatments have taken their toll both emotionally and physically.
Through it all Amanda has always given to others. In college Amanda spent her time volunteering with Special Olympics swimming and doing other service projects with Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity. In her life after college, Amanda has devoted her time to mentor young ladies through Rainbow for Girls and Jobs Daughters. In fact, in Jobs Daughters, Amanda was given the opportunity to lead the state organization. All this was done while she was actively fighting cancer and going through chemotherapy and radiation.
Amanda was given a break for about a year, and we even started looking at adopting children as Amanda had already lost her ability to have them naturally. Unfortunately, one month before we put in our application to adopt, cancer reared its ugly head again.
This amazing person having given so much and touched so many lives, is now facing the end of hers. Amanda was placed on hospice in October after having endured her third week-long hospital stay in as many months.
I want to thank the special people who have been a support to both Amanda and I over the years and recently, and especially to those who have been willing to sit with her over the past couple of months while I have worked.
My appeal today is that as Amanda declines, she will need more intensive care and attention. I would like to have the opportunity to provide that care and allow Amanda to fulfill her desire to live out her life in our home with her beloved cat. Currently, we have my income and Amanda’s Social Security. I do have FMLA, but the time I am given off is not paid. My hope is that I can raise sufficient funds to be able to provide care and meet the obligations of our lives that, unfortunately, do not take a holiday.
I know this is the Holiday Season and everyone is stretched, and if all you can do is read this and learn about an amazing person, I thank you, but if you are able to contribute know that you will be helping to fulfil the dying wishes of someone who truly thinks of other before herself.
Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and Happy Holidays!!!
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