At that point, I don't think ANYONE would fault her for being angry and upset, which I am sure she is. However she is singularly THE most positive person I know. She doesn't like to complain, she cheers people up with her fantastic outlook (and purple/pink/whatever color she feels like hair!) and is a damn fighter.
She was diagnosed on March 5, 2015, and told that "this is a slow growing cancer, you have 3 years, maybe 5." Which no one ever wants to hear. But let's hear about her journey, in her own words ...
"So far, I've been on and off chemo. Folfox +Vectibix, Folfox +Erbitux, Folfiri +Avastin, and will be on and off my whole life, however long that is. I had a few chemo holidays and then I had growth. I have mets to my liver and cervix. Everything about my cancer seems to be rare. The way it presents, that I got mets to my cervix (apparently rare as most go for liver and lungs and spine and brain and peritoneum). It barely shows on scans, which is both good and bad in my opinion. Nothing huge to worry about and yet insidious because who knows where those little buggers are going next. They wouldn't have known about the cervix mets if it weren't for the fact that I told him I'm consistently bleeding and I thought I was having bladder incontinence issues. Turns out your cervix produces a flood of water to try and clean itself. Gross, right? And they do warn you about things but until you've experienced it, you have NO reference for what the hell the nurses are casually throwing at you a mile a minute. Cold neuropathy? They warned me handling / touching cold things would hurt, including linoleum flooring. Ok. They DID NOT warn me that icy cold drinks would cause your throat to seize as if someone is choking you and that you would panic and not be able to breathe for a bit as the shock seizes you by the throat and everything closes off. Hand/foot syndrome? 'Your feet and hands might peel.' They didn't tell me to watch out for what looks like blisters and a foot infection. So there was several hundred more dollars going to a podiatrist just to be told to use Eucerin and epsom salt baths (which I had been doing on advice of my sister in law, a nurse, anyway). Just little things like that build up and piss you off when you have cancer. Mouth sores, joint pain, hair loss, rashes that explode on touch, etc.
"Did you know that each chemo is about $45,000 on average? Typical cycle is 6 months, and you go twice a month. I am thankful to have insurance that covers most of this, even though my insurance isn't the greatest. I did reach out for help to Dana Farber. I got on the free parking list. I applied and was denied MassHealth. I have applied for financial aid at Dana Farber. But f or the most part...I'm letting med bills roll to collections. I've used credit cards to pay for copays and am struggling to pay those. I am going to go trade in my car for a used one that should reduce my monthly bill. I can then use the extra money from that to kick to med bills. I hate the idea of asking for help. I hate asking for help in most ways. Hell, I have a hard time telling my friends, 'No, I can't do that this weekend because I know it will exhaust me and it will take me a week or two to recuperate. Oh...you wanna do something next weekend, too, that sounds just as tiring? Ok.' I'm struggling to find a balance between watching out for my health and living the b est life possible with whatever time I've got. Niecelette is sick? That's ok, I wanna see her anyway. Well damn, now I'm sick for 17 days. It's a weird, strange place to be. I'll figure it out eventually, I'm sure. "
So we set up this GoFundMe after FINALLY convincing this warrior woman that it is more than OK to ask for help. If you can't donate, she loves things that make her laugh too. I've always found that those who are the most deserving of help are often the ones least likely to ask for it. So I am asking on her behalf, can you help a girl out?
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- Frank Esposito
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