Luckily, my mom has been placed in the care of some of THE best cancer doctors around. As of right now, her treatment plan is 4 biweekly chemo treatments, followed by 12 weekly treatments, and then surgery to remove the tumor. If you know Stacy, you would not be surprised to learn that her initial plan was to have chemo on Fridays so she could have the weekend to boost her immune system back up (they give a shot post-chemo to boost white blood cell production) and return back to teaching her classroom on Mondays. Unfortunately, chemo has been a nastier beast than we ever expected. After her first treatment, she was ready to take on the world with cancer just an inconvenience in the background. By that evening, it was clear that this was not going to be our reality.
After just one treatment, my mom has already had to be hospitalized for 3 days. This doesn't include the ever-increasing doctor's visits, which can be ordered by her oncologist at the last minute. My mom is a middle school teacher, so leaving work early, taking a few hours off as needed, and working from home are not an option for her. We have been so blessed to have such an amazing support system, consisting of not only her team of doctors, but also an amazing group of neighbors and friends, our wonderful family, a powerful faith community, and an incredibly supportive team at work. However, even with all of these people being so selfless and treating our family as their own, one thing has been unavoidable- my mom simply is not able to work. There has been one day between chemo treatments where she has not been hospitalized or confined to our house. From the beginning, her oncologist encouraged her to go ahead and take 6 months off of work, but that's just not how my mom rolls. She has made every effort to be superhuman, but it has become apparent that the best thing for herself and her students is to take this time to focus on kicking cancer's ass.
I know this has been an incredibly difficult decision for my mom. For my entire life, my mother has been an example of what true strength really is. While I am used to seeing her as everyone else's caretaker, this role reversal has been a more profound lesson in strength than any other. It seems as though every possible complication and inconvenience has presented itself in the short time since her treatment began, and she still has a long road ahead of her. With everything thrown at her, my mom has continued to pick herself back up and roll with the punches, ready to take on whatever comes next.
Being unable to work is not just a difficult emotional decision for my mom- it's been a difficult financial decision as well. The loss of income is far more substantial than any of us anticipated. My mom is not one to ask for help, but I know there are many of you out there who have been eager to do whatever you can. We are lucky to have wonderful health insurance, but as my mom's income is drastically cut, the expenses continue to grow. Any amount you are able to donate would be appreciated more than I can put into words. This has been a blow that our family never saw coming, and we have appreciated all of the love and support that everyone has so graciously poured out on us. I also want to be clear that every single act of kindness has been immensely appreciated by our family. We understand that not everyone is able to contribute financially, and everyone's support has already exceeded any expectations. While any financial donation would be helpful and greatly appreciated, we will also take as many kind words and prayers as we can get.
Thank you so much for showing my mom & my family the best side of humanity as we face this evil that is cancer. I know my mom's got this, and all of you are helping more than you know.
- Kris McNeill
- Magdalene Heimermann
- JimKathleen Hickey
- Tye Jensen
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