"You have stage IV breast cancer that has metastasized to your bones. I'd say you have 6 months to get your affairs in order." These were the words I vaguely remember hearing from an oncologist I just barely met. That was November 2006. I was 38 years old.
"You are a confusing miracle to me, and I love it!" These were the words I distinctly remember hearing from my amazing oncologist that I've had for several years. That was January 2012. I am 44 years old.
If I had listened to that first oncologist, I'd probably be dead by now. But I'm stubborn and was determined to prove that first oncologist wrong. My guardian angels connected me to a nurse who had just finished chemo and was declared cancer free. That is where the doom and gloom ended and the little ray of light started to shine through. It hasn't been an easy battle, but it's been worth every nauseated, achy, painful step. As much as I would love it to be over with though and be able to say I'm cancer free, I am not. My fight still continues. And lately, it seems to be getting a little more difficult. Like I said though: I'm stubborn.
This is where I need your help. Medical bills and living expenses have been piling up throughout the years. I have done my best to pay what I can, but it is getting harder to do. Especially when unexpected things come up like my hospital stay in December. I woke up the Sunday after Thanksgiving throwing up blood and looking about as white as white can get. To make a long story short, I was bleeding to death internally and didn't know it. While recovering from surgery, my kidneys and liver started to fail. Ya know: because bleeding internally wasn't enough to freak me out. After 18 days of trial and error and many pills later, things started calming down enough for me to be discharged and fly home for Christmas. Cancer never takes a vacation though. While visiting my family, I had to have bloodwork done to keep an eye on my kidneys. I also ended up in the ER Christmas day for dehydration which can be dangerous for somebody whose kidneys aren't functioning correctly. My insurance is pretty good, but doesn't cover out of network facilities so I'm sure to receive not only a nice bill for my hospital stay, but also the ER visit and blood draws while in Pennsylvania. Because of all of the fun I had at the hospital in December I pretty much didn't have a regular paycheck leaving me to tap my savings, which there wasn't much of to begin with. I have also run out of vacation/sick days that I can use so I am pretty much screwed if I have to be out of work again. The current treatment that I am on seems to be maintaining, but my body is smart and becomes immune to the drugs within a year of the start of treatment. My current treatment is extremely tolerable. My next course of action will not be so kind. This will probably mean taking some sort of a leave from work, and it is not something I look forward to. BUT YOU CAN HELP!
Asking for donations is something I do humbly as I pride myself on being independent and self-sufficient. My goal amount would be to help pay off past, present and future medical bills as well as help with living expenses such as rent, car payment and utilities should I have to take a leave from work again. I have a little incentive for you as well. If I reach my goal amount, I will donate $2000 of that to Compassionate Hands and Hearts which is a local organization designed specifically to help breast cancer patients and their families. They helped me a while back, and I would love to be able to help somebody else by paying it forward. As an even bigger incentive, I will include an additional $100 for every $1000 over my goal. Not only will you be helping me, but you will also be helping others in their time of need. Thank you so much for reading this and donating what you can. I will be forever grateful for it.