October 2019 ..................."Think Pink"
"Welcome To My Story"
Please, Read My Story Below, As To, How Things Went For Me, From (June 2015 - January 2016)
Also, Continue Reading My Current Update, From (January 2016 - October 2019)
My name is Mary Ladson Thomas. I am from Georgetown, South Carolina. I am a, 69 years old, African American female. I retired in 2005, from International Paper Company, in Georgetown, after 30 years, as an Administrative Office worker and, afterwards, retired in 2013, after 5 years, working at SC DHEC, at the Health Department, as an Administrative Office Specialist. I am a widow. My husband died, June 2014, of a, very, aggressive Bladder Cancer. I was his caregiver, throughout his, entire, cancer battle, and was with him, up until the, very, moment he died. My oldest, granddaughter, only 21 years old, died of a, very, rare Lymphoma Cancer, in 2010. She died 37 days after diagnosis and I was with her, up until the moment she died. My father and, so, many, on my father's side of the family, have died from different cancers, over the past years.
I was diagnosed and treated with a lumpectomy and radiation for a DCIS, Grade 3, pre-breast cancer, calcification, in 2010. Just recently, the summer, 2015, one year and a day, after my husband's death, I was diagnosed with a HER2 Positive Breast Cancer tumor and, also, the recurrence of several more DCIS, Grade 3, calcifications, all in the same breast, that was treated in 2010.
My local Oncology Surgeon, in Georgetown, told me that the HER2 Positive Breast Cancer is a, nasty, hard to kill, very, aggressive, and fast growing, type cancer. He recommended breast removal and, afterwards, chemotherapy. He, also, said that chemotherapy, alone, would not kill the cancer, so he recommended, right, after the chemo, for me to start another, powerful, type medication therapy, for a whole year, to try help the chemo kill the cancer and follow all of the guidelines, hoping that this would stop the cancer from spreading, to other parts of my body, and make my chances for survival better.
I decided that I wanted to get another opinion and seeked an alternative treatment, elsewhere. I did research, found Bicher Cancer Clinic in Los Angeles, California and was accepted as a patient.
Wonderful News. I will be traveling to Los Angeles, California, on October 5, 2015, for an Alternative Treatment, which is (5) days a week, that will last, from, 4 - 12 weeks, according to how the cancer responds to the treatment.
With the help of prayers and perseverance, The American Cancer Society has arranged lodging and a flight for me. I have Medicare that will pay a portion of my treatment medical expense. I will be responsible for my food, miscellaneous expenses and the portion of my medical treatment bill that Medicare does not pay. I live on a monthly fixed income and thing are, so, much, harder now, financially, since my husband passed, last year. Each month, I am short of money to pay, just, regular bills, so my (2) adult children helps out, the best that they can. At this time, in my life, I don't have money saved or or enough money, monthly, to pay the extra medical expenses, related to my breast cancer treatment and other related expenses.
Anyone, who can find it in their heart to donate or make a contribution, towards my treatment and expenses, can, please, do so. I will be, very, appreciative and, very, thankful. With constant prayers, faith, hope, trust and love, if it's God's will, I am preparing to go for treatment, leaving everything in his hands.
As I'm going through treatment, my fight against cancer is on and I will continue to advocate for myself and others. I am doing Ok, for now. I am looking foward to going into treatment, very soon. For now, I am taking it easy and trying to get more rest. I found an Alternative Treatment facility that has accepted me, that I feel good about. I am feeling very positive. My appetite is good, for now. I'm eating more healthier, juicing vegetables with fruits and trying to drink more water. I'm trying to be positive. I'm talking about my breast cancer with family, friends and others, that want to talk about breast cancer and other cancers. I'm answering questions, when asked about it. I am trying to stay active, by going places and trying to go about my regular routine. I am being Ma, Grandma and Great Grandma. I'm smiling, laughing, even though, knowing that I have a, terrible, cancer, is not easy. I'm still dancing, to feel better, and to advocate for the fight against all cancers and finding cures.
Again, I Thank You For Reading This Far.
Now, Please, Continue Reading My Current Update: (January 2016 - October 2019)
It feels good to be back home in South Carolina. I did 3 months of treatment, in Los Angeles, California, at Bicher Cancer institute, from October5, 2015 through January 5th, 2016, and returned home on January 6. My breast cancer treatment consisted of Low Dose Radiation, along with Hyperthermia Heat. My last scan, before leaving LA, looked very good and the doctors, along with Mr. James Bicher, the founder and director of the clinic, were, very, pleased with how my breast cancer reponded to the treatment.
I want to express my thanks and appreciation to The American Cancer Society, my family and everyone that found it within their hearts to give donations, cards, phone calls, kept up with asking my family about me and all other acts of kindness extended. It warms my heart when I think of how you helped me. I, sincerely and with love, appreciate everything.
At the treatment center, I met other patients from different places and we would encourage each other. My doctors and the staff were very good and very nice. I appreciated them. I, also, learned how to take the bus, because when I first got there, I had to use it to get, back and forth, to treatment, 5 days per week. Everyday was not easy and it required me putting forth extra effort to go everyday and most days I felt, very, very, tired.
Los Angeles is a nice, big, city. It was a wonderful experience and I'm glad that I found a very good alternative treatment facility, like Bicher Cancer Institute, that accepted me, with just Medicare. Bicher treats all types cancer for adults, except blood cancers.
After going away and having my treatment At Bicher, and even after being back home, for a year and a half, and I'm still on the waiting list at Cancer Treatment Centers of America? Cancer Treatment Center Of America is said, by many, to be a good place, offers conventional treatments, Hyperthermia Heat and other alternative treatments, but I was not accepted, because I did not have a private supplement insurance. Who they accept, first, are people that can afford to pay cash and, then, those with good private insurance, which is understandable.
The University of Maryland had a Hyperthermia Heat treatment program going on, but it was only for women whose breast had been removed, had already gone through chemotherapy and the cancer had returned in the same area that the breast had been removed. I was not a candidate for their progam, because I had opted, when first diagnosed, not to have my breast removed and not to have chemotherapy, after witnessing what chemotherapy did to my grand daughter that died of a rare Lymphoma Cancer, in 2010, and, also, to my husband that died of an aggressive Bladder Cancer, in 2014.
My sister accompanied me out to Los Angeles, California and stayed with me for 2 weeks. After another 2 weeks went by, my daughter and her husband came from Bronx, New York and stayed with me for 2 weeks. It was very good encouragement. After that, I was out there the rest of the time by myself. It was lonely sometimes and that's when I really missed my late husband, being there with me. I also missed the rest of my family.
I met several people in LA that were very nice and helpful. I appreciate the nice things that they did for me, while I was out there. Overall, through prayers, giving thanks and supplication, I got through, everyday. It was a blessing. Continuous blessings, also, to all of them back in LA.
(Update: The owner of Bicher Clinic, Dr. Bicher retired May 2016, and the clinic is, now, closed, after 34 years. He had a wonderful and successful practice. I'm, so, happy that I went there and got my treatment, right on time, before it closed.)
Since going away for treatment, I've been coming along OK. Some days I feel like I'm still having treatment, but that's just part of the after treatment feeling that I will be experiencing, for a while. I have have been making sure to keep up with my scans and paying close attention for any changes or signs of anything that may start occurring, so to stay on top of things. I got a good reading, just recently, from my June scan.
I have developed Lymphedema, since, early, May 2016. It is a side affect of the low dose radiation I received. It's a build up of fluid in my breast, under my arm and along my right rib cage. I can't raise up my right arm 100%, so my right arm activites are limited. Some days, I don't feel, very, well, due to the Lymphedema. My local onocologist referred me to a very good Lymphedema Physical Therapist and starting, August 2016, I went twice a week, for (5) weeks. I was instructed to wear a compression wrap, as much as I possibly could, and do the prescribed exercises. I am happy that I went for the therapy and it help a lot, even though I still had a lot of fluid.
After the (5) weeks of Physical Therapy, a few weeks later, October 2016, I started going to a Manual Lymphatic Drain Professional, at Pawley's Lymphatic Wellness Center, in Pawleys Island, SC. I'm going for treatment, feeling relief and it's been helping to get some of the fluid moving, so that my Lymphatic System can process it. I feel good and positive about having the treatments.
During the summer. of 2017, I went throught some days of dizziness. One day was, very, bad. I went to emergency and tests showed that my Potassium Level had dropped, very, low and have been on Potassium, daily, since, then. I was, also, diagnosed with High Cholesterol and Neuropathy.
I've been trying to get caught up with things and get things done, one by one, around the house and other financial responsibilities. It feels overwhelming, at times, but where there is a will, there is a way.
I have been keeping up with my doctors' appointments, mammograms and body scans.
The only insurance that I have, at the present, and had for my treatment was Medicare. It, only, took care of 80% of my treatment cost. The other 20% is my responsibility. Medicare does not pay for Lymphedema Manual Drain Treatment or compression attires for swelling, which helps, so, much. I, also, have more medical bills associated with my breast cancer condition, miscellaneous other bills and, also, paying for a, long time needed, roof replacement, other home repairs, inside and outside, and other current and past due obligations. I'm trying to get things done, one at a time, but it is, so, hard, to get by, daily.
Your prayers, donatons, contributions, gifts, kindness, and encouragement are, sincerely, appreciated.
Beautiful Blessings, From Above, To All Of You.
Thank You, So, Much.
Sincerely And With Love,
Mary Ladson Thomas
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