Please help Lisa get her life back!
I find having a gofundme to be a bit embarrassing and humiliating. However, while I fight these feelings, the gofundme has proven to be a Godsend. I just want to thank everyone, from the bottom of my heart, for all the help you've given my family over the past couple of years. The life ending cancer diagnosis I received in August of 2015, not only turned our lives upside down, both emotionally and financially, it has also been a learning and truly humbling experience.
Since Hayley's last update only a few days ago, I will be able to catch up on my chemo payments, along with one of my oncologists. I am overwhelmed with your caring and generosity. I can never thank you enough. Love you all so very much.
Dad is still working two jobs to try to make ends meet, which is hard on him physically, as he has his own health problems. His working also affects Mom’s post-traumatic stress disorder, since a huge part of it relates to separation anxiety from Dad. Over the last two years, we had qualified for co-pay assistance through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We received a letter a couple months ago though, saying that the program had run out of funds, so we were not going to be receiving any more financial help.
We can't pay our medical bills, and are months behind on chemo payments and oncology co-pays. We were very thankful for friends, Linda and Elton, who brought over some Thanksgiving dinner and visited with us that evening. They also had us over for a great Christmas dinner. Over the holidays, we weren’t able to give gifts, but it really wasn’t a big deal.
Mom needs to continue her counseling for her depression and PTSD. She has also been supposed to begin her post-transplant physical therapy. All of these things require co-pays and gas money, though, as well as her depression to be lowered enough to be able to take on these tasks.
Multiple myeloma is a cancer that never dies, and Mom will remain on chemo indefinitely. All she wants is to live her life to the fullest. Every day is a challenge for her and for all of us. We try to stay positive through everything though, and appreciate what we DO have and CAN do.
Mom had neck surgery on December 28th, and it was rough, to put it lightly. The neurosurgeon fixed 4 disks with the use of 2 plates, 3 spacers, and 16 screws. Normally this surgery would be done with one incision in the front, but with mom's weakened immune system, the doctor felt that healing was more likely to be successful if he made an incision in the front and the back of the neck for more stability. Mom has little memory of her 3-day hospital stay, as she was kept on constant pain meds due to such intense pain from the surgery. Fortunately, she has healed very well, and most of her previous symptoms have subsided, although she continues to have numbness in her hands. Unfortunately, there are new symptoms that have arisen, but she cannot afford the recommended physical therapy or another MRI.
Mom had a restaging with her transplant oncologist at the end of January to determine the success of last year’s transplant. She had to endure another painful bone marrow biopsy, lots of bloodwork, a 24 hour urinalysis, and about 20 x-rays. We received wonderful results from these tests: no detectable cancer! Mom's life expectancy has gone from being told 5 years, to many years. This news is amazing! She has started to receive her vaccinations, or "baby shots," to build up her immunity. She has already had two rounds of 5 which included 3 in one arm and 2 in the other. Unfortunately, these are quite painful. After the 2nd set, mom became ill, starting with fever, aches, and chills. This turned into bronchitis, and then pneumonia. She is just getting back on her feet from that.
Mom is still on several medications, including chemo, and these make her tired and ill. Going places is often difficult because of the gastro side effects from the chemo. She's also having some significant dizzy spells, and we're trying to find out the source of these. It's hard to explain to people why Mom is still on these medications, when no detectable cancer was found at her last work up. The doctors say the reason for this is because there is no "cure" for multiple myeloma, so these drugs are needed to hold the cancer back, along with medications to counteract chemo side effects, as well as protect her immune system.
Mom has severe neuropathy in her legs, feet, and the gums of her mouth. This began after her MGUS diagnosis back in 2007, but has been made tremendously worse from chemo. She is having to take medications for the pain, as walking and sleeping can be difficult. Because of the nerve issues in her gums, she has difficulty eating salads, fresh fruits, and vegetables. She endures the pain though, to enjoy her favorite turtle sundae from Braum's.
If you've ever been around anyone who suffers from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), you know how this can affect every aspect of their life. Mom has been dealing with this since last summer, having flashbacks to the transplant, as well as tremendous anxiety and depression. She started seeing a therapist who specializes in cancer patients last year, but has had to put this on hold because of finances.
My dad's job position changed last year when the company he worked for was bought out. Fortunately, Dad was able to keep a job and his benefits, but took a huge pay cut. Mom has had to stop therapies, and the chemo cost, doctor visits, and tests are quickly adding up. It's impossible to pay for everything, as there isn't even enough money to pay the regular household bills or buy groceries. We are applying for any assistance we can find.
Mom's therapist urged her to apply for disability, but the first attempt was denied because the information they collected was incomplete. She is in the process of collecting more medical documents to apply for a reconsideration.
Lastly, a big thank you to all those who were able to send cards, flowers, messages, and stopped by to visit Mom on her 1 year post-transplant birthday. She had a WONDERFUL day!