As most of you know, I am dealing with breast cancer. I was diagnosed two days before my birthday on Nov. 21st with triple negative, grade 3 breast cancer (it's not hormone related; it's aggressive and can go anywhere in the body). My journey with chemo treatment began yesterday (Jan. 18th). You can read more about the process leading up to treatment below in the Back Story.
I've realized that a big part of this journey is learning to ask for and receive help, which has never been easy for me. Friends encouraged me to put together this gofundme campaign to help relieve some of the expenses of treatment and therapies to (hopefully) minimize the effects of chemo.
One big expense is a contraption I've opted to use to (hopefully) save my hair. So I'm asking for your help. Every follicle counts!! Sponsor as many follicles as you can, but with no pressure. Your good wishes, healing energy, and prayers are just as important and appreciated. :)
As many of you know, I'm quite fond of my hair and the thought of losing it was so disheartening, particularly when you have so little control over what happens to your body. So I'm trying a new technology, the Paxman Cold Cap. Here's how it works: you wear a silicone cap (underneath the neoprene helmet pictured below) before, during and after each chemo treatment. The cap connects to a machine that circulates freezing cold liquids through the cap to restrict blood vessels, which prevents the chemo from reaching the hair follicles. Pretty wild, huh?!
I made it through the first head freezing process yesterday. It was painful for the first 10 - 15 minutes and I coped by listening to a wonderful guided meditation to relax. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNaqEKtc4Uk). Once my head was frozen, I didn't feel a thing! Fingers crossed that it works!
The cold cap is expensive and not covered by insurance. I also want to do some alternative treatments. Acupuncture, massage, and supplements will support my body and help relieve the symptoms of chemo. I want to get through this with as little down time as possible. Being self-employed, I don't get sick days or medical leave, so it's critical that I'm able to work as much as possible through this process. I am so grateful for any support you can provide. So instead of taking me out for a fancy Starbuck's coffee or tea, I hope you'll consider making whatever donation you can.
I want to share this journey in hopes that it might provide information, hope, or encouragement to anyone going through a challenging time. I'm learning so much and receiving so much support myself that I hope to be able to provide that for others.
With gratitude and love,
Thanks to an annual mammogram, a small mass in my right breast was found and confirmed to be cancer with a needle biopsy. Fortunately, it was caught early, Stage 1 . I had a lumpectomy to remove an invasive ductal carcinoma tumor (IDC) on Dec. 8th. I fondly named the tumor "Joe" and he was relocated to a remote tropical island. :) The good news was that it was caught early at Stage 1. The bad news was that it's a bad kind called triple negative and through genetic testing, I learned that I have the BRACA 1 gene mutation. Coupled with triple negative cancer, unfortunately, it wasn't as simple as saying goodbye to Joe.
In considering treatments, I had major resistance to the idea of chemo. I have been dealing with lyme disease for the past two years and had serious concerns about the damage chemo could do to my already compromised immune system. Unfortunately, I did not "click" with the first oncologist I met. She was adamant that the most aggressive form of chemo was the only option and was not open to hearing my concerns. My body spoke to me and said NO to the oncologist and her recommendations!
Fortunately, I listened to my body and intuition. I walked away thinking that I was going to attack the cancer naturally, healing through diet, supplements, detoxing, emotional work, you name it. After much soul-searching, praying, researching, and tears, God stepped in and worked through my dear friend Laura to find the best oncologist at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. He not only listened to my concerns, treated me with respect and acknowledged that it is MY decision, he offered another option in the form of a gentler regimen of chemo that takes longer, but doesn't carry some of the dire risks of the other drugs, like heart damage and secondary cancers.
One of the benefits of the gentler form of chemo is that it decreases the risk of losing your hair from 100% to 50%. With the use of the cold cap, the risks are reduced to around 10 -15%. I hope to be one of the success stories!
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