I have created this fundraiser for a good friend. Please read her story.
It will never happen to me. I believe we all have this thought roaming around in our minds at one time or another. I’ve become aware, that this has run through my head more often than I had thought. I grew up as an athlete and many people knew me as a health nut. Being a personal trainer and lifestyle educator for more than 20 years, my daily routine was that of eating well and moving in some way. Having been a cyclist for 25 years, triathlete for 10 years, and vegan for 9, why would I have thought that cancer would be a part of my personal experience at the age of 43? I had just completed my first Ironman competition in my 40s; nothing could defeat me. Believe me, I had my unhealthy moments. I am a girl with a sweet tooth and found that alcohol made life and partying fun Ultimately, I was the pillar of health, as though it seemed.
In July this year, I was diagnosed with melanoma. I have many, many moles, freckles, blemishes on my entire being, literally and figuratively! Throughout my life, I have had moles checked, shaved, biopsied and they were always benign. Over the past couple of years, one of those little flaws decided to grow back. By this point, I had no insurance and was doing all of my health care holistically anyway; acupuncture, massage, Ayurveda, oils, and herbs. I simply thought, “Oh, he just pissed it off. I am fine.” As people in my life would bring it to my attention, I had other things on my plate that were more important and I simply didn’t want to deal with it. Over the past six months, I realized I couldn’t ignore it for the rest of my life as it started to look significantly different. I had just started a new career and thought I would wait until I got insurance and get it looked at, no big deal. As this job proved not to be the right path for me, I was then on the hunt for another means of my daily life. Still not having or being able to afford insurance, I finally made an appointment with the dermatologist knowing this was going to need to be removed.
And here we are today, fast forward a few months, with a beautiful wound on my leg as I am searching for the right treatments. Not having, nor being able to afford insurance has made this ride a roller coaster to say the least. I had tried to obtain some type of government subsidized insurance, but will not qualify until the first of the year. Although, I am truly thankful as it has given me the time to explore what I feel in my gut is right for me: my body and my lifestyle. My dermatologist told me in the early stages, “If you had insurance, they would have had you in surgery already.” The surgery as described by the oncologist would thwart any type of sport for a very long time. I was told that I would have numbness in my groin that would likely never go away. Not great words for my Ironman ears to hear. Mentally, this spiraled me into a tailspin to find another way to keep me on this planet without going under the knife. I have had to truly sit with myself and feel what was truly important to me. I know that conventional medicine has been great for many people and keep many amazing lives thriving. I have always lived on the edge and been an out of the box thinker, so this felt like a natural progression for me.
This entire process is absolutely overwhelming! There are so many great resources that I had to draw the line somewhere with how much time I spend researching. Of course, the things I am finding are not considered “standard of care” according to our insurance companies. As a result, once I am able to get insurance I will be paying out of pocket anyway. So the other part of the equation with cancer is not going completely broke and being able to maintain a bit of a normal life. As my Ayurvedic physician reminds me, “it is all about balance.” Much easier said than done. Many days my mantra is ‘one hour at a time.’
The past few months have proven to be the most challenging, eye opening, emotional, grounding, conscious times of my life. The story continues to unfold as I trust that what is meant to be will be. I am learning and listening more each day. I have been feeling so lost on my path the past few years. I truly feel cancer has given me my purpose on this planet. This is my true Ironman!
DonationsSee top donations
- Michael Ault
- Jill Ruzgerian
- Daniela Dee Reuther
- Frances Mouser
- Linda Daniels
Organizer and beneficiary
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