Back in April 2015, we discovered a 3 x 5 cm tumor in my right breast. Eight sessions of chemo, a lumpectomy and 34 sessions of radiation later, I rang my bell to signify that we had beaten it. Fittingly, I finished my treatment the day before Thanksgiving.
A year went by and we discovered my estrogen levels were still too high so we made the decision to go under the knife again and I had a full hysterectomy. Things were looking better and a clean CT Scan led us to believe I was only weeks away from being able to remove my infusion port.
Then in October 2017, I noticed a thickening of the skin on my right breast. It was also swollen... red and the skin was pitted like the outside of an orange peel. I was scheduled to see my oncologist the next week so I made sure to let him know. He was concerned.
They first thought it might be mastitis (an infection of the skin and voids left from after surgery). An MRI, double biopsy and PET Scan later determined not only was the original "routine" cancer back (estrogen positive) but it was back with a vengeance and growing very aggressively (like a triple negative). Triple negative is the most agressive type and explains why this time it developed so much faster. My oncologist said that’s rare but not unheard of when cancer comes back.
By this time, my right breast was quite rigid and felt like there was another tumor inside; this one even larger - about 8.5 cm by 12 cm. An enlarged lymph node had also been found in my left breast and another cancerous nodule was found in my lungs about the size of a quarter.
I now know I am Stage IV. I face another eight sessions (16 infusions, maybe more) of chemotherapy, a mastectomy and radiation.
It's quite daunting emotionally and mentally.
Only if I survive all that, can I even begin to consider the possibility of reconstruction. I'm not even remotely thinking about that process at the moment; only whether we'll be able to beat it back this time and save my life.
This devastating diagnosis is terrible enough but now I must also face the financial aspect.
The last round, in 2015, nearly bankrupted us. We are still paying off bills from those efforts from two years ago; when we thought I was curable.
Now, I face treatments and tests for the rest of my likely-shortened life and I don't know how we'll begin to pay them all.
We have already used all the savings we had and the money we had saved for a down payment on a house and it still wasn't enough.
I am worried about the possibility of having to make the choice of not being able to undergo life-saving/life-extending treatment because we can't afford it.
I wish we didn't have to ask but please consider donating if you can. Every tiny bit would help so, if you’re able, please consider donating.
Thank you. ❤️
Mary N. Bright
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