We've never asked for help like this ever before... but...
On March 5th, as many of you know, I had a stroke. After finding myself on the floor of our coffeehouse, hours spent in the ER followed by an ambulance trip to St. John's Hospital's Intensive Care Unit in Springfield for continued scans, tests, blood work and eventual conversations with a cardiologist, a stroke specialist and, yes, an oncologist (some weird bone lesions had been discovered during several of the scans) Jan and I began a journey we never thought we would be on... a journey of fighting Cancer(s)…
While blood pressure issues are a reality and must be kept in check to prevent another stroke, the bone lesions hinted at different serious conditions, intensified by blood work concerns. A bone marrow biopsy and bone lesion biopsy were ordered and four days later, Jan and I learned I have Multiple Myeloma and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. We are still waiting on more details to zero in on appropriate treatment options. We have heard from the oncologist that the standard course of treatment is chemotherapy followed by bone marrow transplants, but he is open to working with us should we want to explore other options. Immunotherapy has also been mentioned (and of course, those who know us know we'll be looking in to complementary therapies as well.)
However dealing with all these issues will be an ongoing and costly challenge, especially now with the current virus concerns and a compromised immune system. While we do have insurance, what it will cover regarding recent and future procedures and treatments is anybody's guess at this point.
Additionally, there's the worry of keeping our coffeehouse up and running ... not only because we'll have to be away from the shop for my treatments and recovery, but with the consequences of the Coronavirus, a compromised immune system makes it a possibility that I will have to remain in quarantine at a hospital/cancer center for treatment. Like all small business owners in the US right now, the mandated shutdowns create additional financial concerns (i.e. making payroll, paying rent, utilities, keeping stock up, etc...) as our income opportunity shrinks and our expenses increase. Adding the fear of cancer, the cost of treatment and possible isolation only compounds these worries.
Friends and family have encouraged us to create a GoFundMe account, telling us they know the Creekside Community we have built over the years will want to help out financially however they can! Like we mentioned initially, we have never done such a thing. Heck, we're hardly comfortable asking for help when it comes to moving furniture or having someone carry our groceries in... but we're learning. It's definitely a crash course!
So, folks, if you have it in your heart (and in your budget) to help us deal with this major rough patch, please contribute... and know any amount, large or small, is greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance for your contributions. Jan and I will be eternally grateful for your assistance, your kindness, and your friendship as we fight this battle against cancer.
- Lora Vieregge