Help Julie, a new mom, fight breast cancer.

$22,376 of $30,000 goal

Raised by 182 people in 2 months
Created February 8, 2019
36913648_1549647555508492_r.jpegThis January, just a few months after her 40th birthday, Julie was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. The cancer is quite advanced and has spread to her lymph nodes, which means she has a gruelling 6 months of chemotherapy and surgery ahead of her.

With her beautiful daughter, Cicely, just about to turn 2, Julie’s biggest anxiety is not being able to be the mom that her little girl needs. Nick and Julie need some financial help. This will allow Julie to stop working and Nick can reduce his long hours as a chef in order to care for both Julie and Cicely during and after her treatments. Julie's goal throughout her treatment process is to keep a positive healthy environment for her family and to make life as normal as it was for Cicely before her diagnosis. 

We know that Nick and Julie have a big worldwide network and there are lots of people wondering what they can do to help from many miles away. Here is what you can do. The money we raise here will enable the family to spend more time together during this fight. It will help with childcare, cover lost wages and allow Julie to focus her energy into beating cancer and being the amazing mother and wife that she has always been.

It has taken some time to convince our dear friends that it’s ok to ask for help and sometimes all you need to do is put it out there and let the world show you its kindness. 

Thank you x

Jess and Bianca
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A quick update:

I am now officially past the halfway mark of my chemotherapy, cue Naughty By Nature and put both hands up…
“Hip Hop Hooray, Ho, Hey”

I am happy to report that so far the new drugs have had far less side effect by comparison and my fingers are crossed it will remain that way. My one fear in taking the new chemotherapy is that there could be an allergic reaction and unfortunately I did have a reaction. The first five minutes seemed fine and them WHAMO! My skin and eyes turned red, I had stabbing pain in my back, and I couldn’t breathe. Thanks to the team at the BC Cancer Agency it was sorted out very quickly. I can honestly say it was the scariest experience of my life thus far and if it hadn’t been for the nurses I don’t know that I could have carried on. While I was crying and asking “when is this going to stop?” my nurse Jason looked at me, held my hand and said, “we got you girl, we got you.” I got so hot that I kicked off my shoes, flung my hat off and half took my bra off all the while looking like patient zero from the movie “Outbreak.” For a nurse to be able to handle that situation knowing how scared he also must have been is something to admire.

After giving me enough Benadryl to put an elephant to sleep I had to get up and go to the bathroom but my legs felt about as sturdy as al dente pasta. I spent a good ten minutes rallying to make it five feet but I made it and then returned to my chair and fell asleep for two hours. I have three more treatments left but the next time they will be prepared with a lower dose and more Benadryl.

As I mentioned the side effects are not nearly as bad as the last chemo and I am enjoying more time with friends and family. I am also happy to report that we have resumed dance parties at the Cassettari household and one of Cicely’s favorite things to do at the moment is to brush my “hair” or my “bald” in this case. On a regular basis she also demands that “you take you hat off” and when I do she slaps the top of my chrome dome and says “good boy”. :)

Jules xo
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Hello everyone!
I am on day two of my last round of doxorubicin and I am riding the wave of some very strong steroids that give me a two to three day period of time where my body is fooled into thinking nothing is happening. It sends me into a type of crazy preparation phase whereby I clean the kitchen, make freezer meals (mostly soup), catch up on work, bills, past due tasks, and then I make lists of whatever I didn’t get to and then it all sort of crashes down on me. If you know me well you know that I LOVE a good analogy so here we go:
Imagine you are cruising along on enjoying the warm spring sun, maybe you crack the window and let some of that crisp spring air clean your cobwebs away. You sink in to that feeling that summer is right around the corner and you can’t wait until you get to go swimming, everything smells like sunscreen and rosé is cool again. Just as that blissful moment enters your brain you see a cop behind you. You pull over kind of unsure of what you’ve done wrong. A grumpy, surly aggressive police officer grunts “license and registration?” You hand them over with a big smile and then “please step out of the car”. You comply and then your arm is twisted behind your back and your face pressed up against the hood of the car. Pretty soon its “on the ground, get on the ground, face on the ground!!!”
This is when your sunny summers day fades to the smell of spring dog poo thaw and you don’t understand how everything escalated so quickly.
There is a reason they call doxorubicin the “red devil” Its just that gross. One minute you're fine and then once you stop taking the drugs that counteract the side effects you cant believe that yesterday you were normal and now your crying wondering if this feeling will ever go away. The interesting part of this is that you don’t usually see people until all of that is over so unless you are in what my Dr calls the “chemo bubble” you can easily be convinced its not that bad. I know that I have two good days on either end of two weeks so I cherish those. Spring makes it easier to take as well. All the new life emerging makes one feel so hopeful.

I start my next course of chemo in two weeks and I am crossing my fingers that it will be better. The feedback I have received is that my biggest struggle will be fatigue. It is commonly cumulative so the longer I go into the treatments the harder it will get. The only other notable side effect can be neuropathy that is a tingling/burning/numbness in my hands and feet. It can be permanent but the doctors try really hard to avoid that.

With all of this said its not all doom and gloom! My last visit with oncologist was promising. Your entire “think shrink” paid off and the tumors are SHRINKING!!!! The best part about knowing that is finding out that the chemo is working and that I’m not going through all of this for nothing.

To give you some clarity on what that means moving forward is that even though the tumors are shrinking I still have some major work to do before is see the finish line. First off I will have radiation after the chemo is done followed by surgery. I will have a mastectomy with lymph node dissection on my left side. I can see you may be sitting there confused asking yourself “but I thought the tumor was shrinking?” The simple answer is that it is but not enough to take clear margins with a less invasive surgery. This was news I was prepared for, I mean as prepared as you can be. Here’s the thing, nothing in the world is more important to me than getting each and every piece of this cancer out of my body and if that means I lose one small part to save the rest of my body I have won the battle. How lucky I am live in a time and in a country where I can be taken care of in the way that I have been. We have so much knowledge at our disposal and also acceptance for alternative medicines that have power to heal and I'm very fortunate to have a team that supports me in my decisions to use complimentary medicines. If only my insurance company could see the benefit to these types of medicines? One day they will I am sure of it.

I’ve had a lot of time to think about my life up until this point and also time to think about what it will be like after this is all over and I’m clear on a few points I want to share with you:
- No one knows why women get breast cancer but they know how to screen for it so please get screened if you can. Everyone knows that smoking causes cancer. PLEASE stop if you are. I did it a long time ago. It’s hard. It's really hard but I can tell you that chemotherapy is WAY harder.
- a practice of mindfulness is necessary for living in the world we live in. Meditate, take time to be in nature, do yoga, be still when you can and take time to get back into your body so you can connect with what’s going on inside of it.
- let go of the shit that doesn’t matter. If its Facebook posts that get your blood boiling, Donald Trump, or someone driving like an idiot just breath it in and breath it right back out.
- Hug more and love more. Tell people that matter to you why they matter to you.

So here is my turn:
- Mom and Dad I am so lucky to have you and you will never know the full scope of my love for you. I must have 10 thank you cards for various times in my life I have wanted to express how grateful I am for you but they are a still in the drawer unopened because I don’t think that kind of love can be put into words.
- Nick I love you more now than ever before. This is shit and you did not deserve this nor could you prepare for it but you are the Goose to my Maverick, thank you.x
- To my girlfriends, thank you for hugging me, being vulnerable with me, driving over to my house even when I said “don’t worry I’ll be fine”, taking my photos, running errands, and taking Cicely. To the new girlfriends in my life, the breast cancer survivors, my warriors, you are an inspiration to me and I am so grateful to have you on my team.

To all the friends that have dropped of food, coffee, love, flowers, pick me up gifts. The littlest things can mean so much. Thank you for the love:
Darby&Kevin/Myra&Dave/Alana &Phil/ Chantelle&Joey/Erin&Adam/Amanda&Dan/Peta, Leif&Kane/Darby&Kevin/Theresa/Meredith&Chad
Tessa&Mary/Sonja&Kerren/Jessie&Yanik/The Freese's/The Slaters/Katherine&Mike

To those who have given offline donations I want to say thank you. Your generosity is so overwhelming. My love to you:
RMD Group of companies/Loren&Shirley/Kelly&Linda/Don&Dorothy/Den&Jan/Ang&Kevin/Dave Folstad

The donations we have received from all of you have made an incredible difference in how we have been able to approach this awful time by allowing us to give Cicely time with other kids through a nanny share once a week. It lets us approach my healing in way that I can access so much more medicine and therapy that I wouldn’t have access to. It is shocking how fast everything can add up so quickly. When I speak with people that have gone through the same thing financial stress is one of the first things that comes up followed almost exclusively by a story of how the community rallied together and raised money to help them out. We have been blessed to see the amazing part of humanity in a time when you can be so easily convinced it doesn’t exist anymore. Honesty I don’t know what we would have done without your generosity. All our love,
Nick, Jules and Cicely
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This was my morning today. The top of my list read:

-take meds
-thank everyone

Those were literally the only things on my list for today. I started unpacking what has now become my “cancer backpack” which as of late includes forms to fill out, prescriptions, car insurance renewal papers, inspirational gifts, Cicely’ baby journal (not updated since my diagnosis day), my day planner and a large artillery of anti nausea drugs. Just as I laid out what you see in this photo Cicely came up to me arms wide and says “Mommy cuddle?” I can’t explain to her that I can’t lift her because of my last surgery even though I want to soooo badly. Someone turn down the suck. Brutal

Heres the thing about cancer: it doesn’t wait for you, your responsibilities, your life outside of its relationship with you. It’s ten steps ahead waving back at you like “keep up home girl, this is just the beginning”

I have approximately 300 people I wish I could cuddle right now and personally tell them how kind they have been to me and how MUCH it means to me, but here I am portfolio laid out wondering how to do that? Answer - little by little. If I am fortunate enough to be able to see you in person please, a subtle reminder. “Cuddle?” Will do nicely. You can cash in on some good cuddle time with Jules.

I wanted to update you all and let you know a couple pieces of GREAT news.

1. I have a rough idea of what the chemo will be like for the first few cycles. I have it every two weeks and it seems to go like this. Chemo day through to day 3 I’m ok, like seemingly normal.
Day 4-8 I am on my ass. Nauseated, tired,
can’t eat.
Day 8-10 - my mind wants to eat sushi (like lots of sushi) my body can handle about 25% of what my mind wants to eat.
Day 11-14 - back on track just in time for the next round.

Now here is the REALLY good news!

2. My PET scan came back and the cancer has not spread beyond my lymph nodes!!!!!!!!! Pour yourself a drink and let’s toast to that. I should really have led my update with this so at least you could be having a celebratory drink while reading. Oops.

So here is what I need from you now. Think SHRINK! Think of that cancer just evaporating out of my lymph-nodes. That’s the next goal. I’m using all of my mojo on this and I would love yours too.

Today my hair started falling out so here is what we can learn from that. The chemo is doing its thing. It is inevitably killing some of the healthy cells in my body but it’s also getting the bad ones too.

I have my Mom and my Dad here with me, my husband, daughter and best friends. I’m so lucky to have that when so many people don’t. If you know someone that is possibly going through something like this alone please love them up. Just give them whatever love and support you can in any form. To all the women that have reached out to me who have gone through this, you know how much it means to me and thank you for being there for me. You are literally all warriors to me. Seriously you are badass.

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Update, that’s a hard one. Where do I begin? Let’s start back on New Years Eve.
I found a lump in my left breast while cleaning up after Cicely and I had ruined the living room during one of our exclusive Mom/daughter dance parties. I felt no panic at that stage just curiosity as to why I had never noticed it before? Two days later I saw the Dr. “don’t panic, it is likely a cyst.” Fast-forward two weeks to a radiologist telling me that what he was seeing was highly suggestive of a malignant tumor. Then the whole world stopped for a second, well for five days actually, while I waited to hear the official diagnosis. I won’t bother you with the details of the cancer because in a word: internet. However, I can tell you that my cancer makes up a small but hopeful percentage of cancers that responds well to chemotherapy. It is aggressive and they are treating it as such by giving me an aggressive dose of chemotherapy. It sucks, it just really sucks but we have to believe it is doing the job.

I have tried over the course of the last few days to write this and I’ve picked up my computer and put it down many times over for many reasons. The primary reason is I feel that words cannot express how much your generosity, friendship, and kindness mean to me. Those of you that know me well know that I am never very short on words however the current state of affairs has knocked a bit of the wind out of my sails. I officially found out I had cancer a month ago and I am far from any kind of expert on the ins and outs of how to cope with cancer, in fact from moment to moment I could either be laughing or crying but this I know: You cannot do this alone. Your donations to this campaign will now allow me to have my family with me as much as possible and to have care for my daughter so that she can carry on in the beautiful, carefree lifestyle that every two year old should be able to enjoy. The dance parties may not be as intense but I am going to try my best. All our love to you and enormous gratitude,
Jules, Nick and Cicely
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$22,376 of $30,000 goal

Raised by 182 people in 2 months
Created February 8, 2019
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