Help Jen get back on her feet!

$10,350 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 102 people in 37 months
Jen has been in the hospital since June 19th battling Burkitt's Lymphoma and there is still a long road ahead.   As many of you know, intensive chemotherapy and hospitalization has more expenses than just medical bills.  Since Jen and Antonio own their own businesses, they are unable to work normally at this time.  Any funds raised are going towards other supportive care Jen may need, travel expenses, food, etc.  

Many of you have already asked how you can help. Please note that as part of the chemotherapy protocol the hospital does not allow flowers, fruits and certain snacks, so we thought this would be a great way to support Jen during this difficult time.   Please consider making a small donation if you are able to do so.  This is the time that we truly need to lean on family and friends for help. 

You can leave her a message  and follow  Jen's Caring Bridge Journal.

Jen and Antonio send their love and thanks!

Christine Longawa and Rachel Longawa Ketter
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I was really hoping that CaringBridge.org could post here, so for now I will be posting some of my journal updates here on GoFund Me. I have to say first that I am touched and overwhelmed by the financial giving from so many people. Tears come to my eyes each time I check this page, and I have not had the time or energy to specifically thank each and every one of you, but plan to do so! Your generosity is so much appreciated! Much love to you all!

Recent CaringBridge Post - "Side Effects"
Following my seizure/stroke, one of the tests I underwent was an EEG. They apply the electrodes on your scalp with a pasty substance that doesn't come out easily, and I was confined to a bed so it meant ratty, matted hair that I couldn't wash. The next day, I tried combing my fingers through my hair and a ginormous chunk came out in my hand. It had begun.

I experienced a few side effects from the first chemo treatments, the most recent being a very high dose of Methotrexate. Every chemo drug I am given info on has a laundry list of potential side effects but the doctors really, truly, cannot pinpoint whether you'll experience them or not, as they see such diversity in their patients (and I'm sure the attorneys have to cover their bases, too!). The others, so far:
My mouth and gums got super sensitive, making eating difficult, which was then made exponentially worse by biting my tongue during my seizure. I could really only eat bland, soft, non-spicy/salty foods for about 6 days and could barely put an extra soft toothbrush across my teeth and gums.
Peripheral neuropathy in my hands -- a tingling sensitivity to hot and cold whether it was food, drink, or water from the sink. This could intensify down the line and take awhile to heal, and I could experience it in other body parts, too.
Flu-like body aches came briefly from the chemo, and then again from the injected drug that's meant to build my WBC count back up.
When my hair began falling out in clumps, another reality set in. I really, truly, never fathomed my hair would fall out so rapidly and so early on into the treatment, although my chemo regimen is not typical. I'll admit I had this false expectation that it would be a slow progression and eventually I would need to invest in a fun wig, some scarves and hats. But, so soon? Before I had the chance to really work on building this arsenal of accessories, and getting in to see my stylist at home (I had a haircut scheduled for the week I was hospitalized, so I was already way overdue)? For the past few days I've touched my head with caution, as just brushing a single hair away from my face meant it would disconnect from my scalp along with the ones around it. My pillow was covered in layers of hair, as are my sheets and the back and shoulders of my clothes. The twice I carefully washed it resulted in the shower drain being layered in thick, dark brown locks.

Last weekend, I met the wonderful team from local non-profit Strictly From the Heart, and the Founder, Jackelyn, set me up with a great stylist who came and did the "do" yesterday. I know that I am fortunate starting with short hair, but that only softens the blow so much. My stylist, Lisa, kept as much as we could and left me with a nice, polished pixie cut. It's really cute! But of course it's still countered by a lot of roller coaster feelings, and every time I see myself in the mirror I do a double-take. And often cry. It WILL get easier. I WILL get used to it. It WILL grow back.

Aside from the triumph of checking the haircut off my list, I've had a few fantastic days and in many ways. I felt physically "normal again" and enjoyed every second of it. Although if I was truly physically normal I'd be doing much different things -- but while being stuck indoors I am doing so with my family and some of my most awesome friends. Chemo officially begins this morning -- the start of the second half of my cycle called IVAC. Five days of Etoposide and Ifosfamide, with Cytarabine on the first two days. Bring on the side effects, and let's kick this thing!
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$10,350 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 102 people in 37 months
Created June 30, 2016
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JD
$100
Jeff Delgado
34 months ago
EH
$100
Eric Horng
34 months ago
MB
$50
Matt Bender
35 months ago
JH
$100
Joel Habbeshaw
35 months ago
SA
$1,985
Seven Asher
35 months ago
$50
Michael-james Russo
36 months ago

For You

$25
Rob Costa
36 months ago
BM
$250
Bruce & Lynn MacLean
36 months ago

God Bless you Jen!

$60
Anonymous
36 months ago (Offline Donation)
$100
Anonymous
36 months ago (Offline Donation)
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