No Backing Down for Busha

$19,595 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 161 people in 22 months
Created July 7, 2017
Anyone who has had cancer, or loved someone with cancer, knows that the 3-year mark is scary territory. It’s often the time when cancer rears its ugly head again.

 Sadly, we found out last week, 3 years after her initial breast cancer treatment, that our mom’s breast cancer is back. Now diagnosed as Stage IV breast cancer metastasized to her spine, lungs and liver.

 Stage IV cancer has no cure, but it is treatable. And our beautiful mother, Marianne Frost (known as Busha to her 8 grandchildren, beloved Nanny children and dozens of her cherished students), has lots of living left to do! Anyone who knows her (and the insane amount of photos she takes), knows that she lives for family time, her growing gaggle of children (by blood and by love), and knitting for said-growing-gaggle, her wicked sense of humor, the ability to laugh at herself and life’s unexpected blunders, and bringing magic to the most ordinary moments. We want and need her around for a lot, lot longer!

 In 2014, Busha went through aggressive, conventional breast cancer treatments at Kaiser, including mastectomy, lymphectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, oral hormone blocking therapies (which she continues to this day) and a clinical trial of the drug Herceptin to increase her chances of remission. While these treatments slowed the disease, it did not cure her.

 Her Stage III treatment was an all-out war on cancer. It was about bringing herself to the edge of death so that she wouldn’t die. Cancer treatment is hard. And painful. And exhausting. But it’s worth every second in order to save your life.

Now that we have passed the first attack on cancer and found ourselves at Stage IV, the healing work ahead of us looks very different for our mom. We are going for less attack and more arsenal...a well-rounded arsenal that supports her own innate healing and her emotional/soul well-being all at once. Her work, and ours, is about seeking supportive therapies, savoring life, and healing her heart as well as her body. It is about making the most of life and extending her ability to enjoy it. It is about wellness in body, mind and spirit. And while our mom will continue with traditional medicine, we also realize conventional medicine has its limits.

 Our mom is now committed to finding alternative ways to live (hopefully for a very long time!) with cancer in her body. And, quite honestly, my mom is not counting out a radical remission because “magic” is her middle name. Her spirits are as buoyant and focused and hopeful as usual, and she is wide open to possibility. Not to mention brave. And funny. And glimmering with hope.

 Have you ever seen a patient who keeps the doctor smiling as they deliver horrible news with tears in their eyes? Who makes the doctor feel better about having to deliver the news? A patient who makes jokes and shares a beaming smile with every nurse, medical assistant, lab tech and radiologist even as they face the reality of dying? That is our mom. No matter what the tests suggest, she is very much a radiant, determined, joyful cancer-fighter.

 Fortunately we have many options for treatment today. “Fringe” therapies that have become more and more mainstream, therapies that are known to heal and cure and support even the most desperate situations.

 Our plan is to work with the world-renowned Dr. Isaac Eliaz. An integrative medicine pioneer and alternative cancer expert who runs the Amitabha clinic in Santa Rosa. (amitabhaclinic.com)

 Known for a range of treatments like Vitamin C infusions, therapeutic apheresis (blood filtering), acupuncture, nutritional counseling and mind-body healing, he has created an individualized plan for our mother’s treatment and he is confident he can help her in very dramatic ways.

 As we sat in his office two days after her devastating diagnosis, he told her that he could help. Relief and gratitude flooded her face. A primal yearning for her LIFE, flashed across her eyes. But her relief was almost instantly replaced with dread. How can I afford this? Though extremely effective, these therapies are also very expensive and they are not covered by insurance.

 The doctor looked her in the eye and said something like this:

 Marianne, this is your life. You must reach out to your friends and family because this will literally save your life. We have a saying in Israel, a Kabbalistic saying that roughly translates to “The journey of good deeds is as far as the distance between every fiber in our bodies and the feet they must move.” It is time for friends to walk the walk.

 Our mom was hesitant about the “Go Fund Me plan” her 5 kids came up with :). She didn’t want us to reach out. She is embarrassed to ask. She is afraid that crowd funding has gotten out of hand. She wishes she could do this on her own. For many reasons this is hard for her. But we told her that THIS SITUATION is exactly what grassroots fundraising is meant to do – to bring community together when there are no other options, to save a life, to make the impossible possible.

 And besides, we told her, we are doing it for us. We need our mom and Busha!

 And so, we are counting on you – if you can – to help in anyway you can.


*Share this with anyone you know who might want to know about her diagnosis, or might want to help

*Funny cards, snail mail, drawings, homemade art, flowers:

Marianne Frost

PO Box 1866

Glen Ellen, CA  95442

*Donations to this GoFundMe Account – any and every amount helps! Truly.

*Consider “matching” a portion of this GoFundMe drive (certain dollar amount raised in an hour, a specific total if raised in x days, that sort of thing.) Just let us know and we will hold our own little contest!

*If you would prefer to make a tax deductible donation instead, please contact the Amitabha clinic for more information.

Thank you for holding our mom in your hearts. All of her children and grandchildren are so grateful for your loving care.

 Warmly and in gratitude,

Brooke, Matt, Satchel & Temple

Shannon, Isaac, Ike, Fiona & Emil

Zak, Fati & Ezra

Alex, Laura, Sam & Mare

Camille & Collin (& Charlie LOL)

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Hello everyone,

Camille here! I began this update in June, but then held off waiting for more information. But it seems the information is constantly changing so I think it is time to give everyone an update as best I know.

Mom’s most recent bloodwork, CT scan and bone scan report an elevation in her cancer markers and some new bone metastases. The metastases are on her L6 vertebrae, her right femur and a left rib. She received a Zometa infusion one month ago to strengthen her bones. Those are the facts…

But the greatest fact of all is that mom is always blindsided by all this! She was certain she would hear that her tumors were shrinking. Other than extreme fatigue and foot pain she has been feeling good. Her eyes and skin are bright! She is busy as can be with treatments, both eastern and western, and spending time with people she loves. She’s still working and continues to have unbelievable love and support from her employers. She couldn’t ask for better! The current pain has not even warranted pain medication. Once in a while her right rib cage hurts, and she gets winded, but she has been attributing that to her recent immobility because of her feet.

She struggled with pretty severe hand/foot syndrome, a side effect of the Xeloda she was taking. Her fine motor strength is difficult and she was unable to wear shoes so she lived in her UGGs slippers. :-) She has a personal relationship with Zappos, buying and returning with vigor! She continues on the search for a perfect shoe that doesn’t cause foot pain or blisters. And in mom’s humor style, sometimes in the middle of a public place, she will look down incredulously at her feet and say, “Oh my God I forgot to change to my shoes today! “ She is blessed with her favorite woman at the nail salon who knows every single need to keep mom comfortable during her mani pedis. Mom is so grateful for Hein!

In May my sister Brooke put on a Mercy High School class of ‘71 luncheon for Mom. Last year when it was her 45th reunion she planned on going and then was too sick. So Brooke told her that when she was feeling good she would host a luncheon at her home. And that’s what happened! New Orleans themed. What an amazing group of loving crazy hilarious women. So much laughter, a few tears, a lovely lunch, champagne and cocktails, and a wild game of truth or dare! (Remember it was all women because mom went to an all girls school. ) Mom is so grateful that she has reconnected with school girls who have grown up into such amazing women. Some people flew in from out of state and others made very long drives to be there. It meant the world to mom.

In June she headed to VidCom at the Anaheim Convention Center with her nanny child, a son and a grandson. The Energizer Bunny?

So, back to the beginning, Mom has been discussing new treatment plans with her oncologist and her naturopath. She has tried several oral chemotherapies that have not gotten a grip on her metastasis. Two weeks ago she began Navilbene, a new therapeutic chemo infusion. Side effects from this has her down for a few days. As of yesterday her cancer markers continue to rise, but we are waiting to give it some time, and to see if they drop in response to this new treatment. Because her oncologist was treating a hormone fed cancer (as per her initial biopsy) and Mom has not responded at all to 4 different meds, he suspects perhaps the cancer has found a new pathway. Last Friday they did a liver biopsy to distinguish. We will discuss results with her oncologist on Tuesday. She is killing it with a ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting! I’m so proud of her will and her dedication to finding the perfect answer, and for caring for her body with such love.

Two months ago she changed to a new clinic, TruHealth in Santa Rosa, and a new naturopathic oncologist. Sometimes change just needs to happen - and it was good for Mom to do this.

This is about all I have to share right now but as we learn more I will certainly pass the information along. Keep her in your thoughts and prayers, hold her in love, picture her laughing,knitting, working, playing with grandkids, keeping her little garden because that is what she is doing and she’s doing great and we want to keep it that way! Much love, Camille and all the Sibs
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Hi everyone!

It has been so long and I know everybody is really looking for an update. So many people love mom. So much has gone on! I apologize. I know when dealing with cancer people worry and often just don’t want to ask. So let me do my best here! But first let me say, ALWAYS please ask. We don’t whisper the word cancer in our family :). It is an uninvited guest to be reckoned with for sure, but it is not something we feel the need to keep secret.

We were all sidetracked during the fires. (And we are all fine following the fires). Mom‘s cancer markers rose a bit then. She was displaced from her home for 43 days and that wore on her. And you could see the wear and tear in her face. Her oncologist put her on a new hormone blocker medication. In December the markers were down again. We all rejoiced and took mom on one of her favorite trips! Our whole family spent the week between Christmas and New Years in a big cabin in Lake Tahoe. The snow didn’t cooperate much, but we had a blast! Morning Mimosas, some snow play, nighttime dance parties, and lots of cooking and chatting around the big dining table and in front of the fire. Memorable time together.

To our surprise, come January, her markers over doubled. She had a bone and CT scan which showed everything status quo with little change in her bones and lungs, but a significant amount of new areas on her liver. Even with this increase in the numbers of lesions, her liver function remained excellent. Her oncologist now put her on Xeloda, a chemotherapy drug. She is experiencing some side effects: fatigue, slight neuropathy in her hands and feet, and some Intermittent GI symptoms. Yet she is doing very well. She continues to work part time and her life is pretty much the same. This is a two week on one week off regiment and she has just completed her first round.

And now for some amazing news! Mom was able to begin her integrative care with the love and generosity of all of you. Your kind donations carried her through a couple of months. We were all like deer in the headlights then, and you, our friends and family, guided us through. You allowed us to put the focus from money to loving Mom. Just as the account was dwindling and we were beginning to wonder what our next step would be some more angels stepped forward. Mom, as always, took the viewpoint that everything happens for a reason and her faith kicked in. We followed suit. And then, without our even mentioning it we got that email. Mom’s employers took full responsibility for her treatment at Amithaba Clinic! Mom has been so dedicated to this family for seven years, and clearly they love her too. As well, they hired her an assistant, so that she may delegate responsibility when she feels the need. She was invited to join in on the interviews and she now has a great working relationship with the woman they chose.

So now alternative treatments have been continued and increased. She currently spends three to five hours a day, three days a week there. Especially in this past month since her numbers rose, treatment has been intense!

This treatment, together with the care of her beloved oncology team, resulted in another decrease of cancer markers (a decrease of half the spike) in blood test results just today! Again we celebrate. Mom is a badass warrior!
In between treatments today :)
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Mom is doing so much better. I haven’t seen her look and live this healthy is many years! Her body is much stronger and she is getting out and about! Yes! She now has a van and is able to drive herself where she needs to go. Of course, we still accompany her to those appointments where important information is exchanged, but she has the freedom to attend to the regular appointments, do her own grocery shopping, and drive to work!

She had a second apheresis three weeks ago. While in the long run it gave her energy and strength, the evening of the procedure and the next day were a little bit rough. Her body was weak and she was lightheaded when she stood. It took a day, but her blood chemistry easily rebalanced back to normal.

She saw Dr. Zhang, her oncologist, the next week and he was beyond thrilled at her ability to bounce back from a very rough time. He started her on a second chemotherapy called Ibrance. Ibrance (palbociclib) is a cancer medicine that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body. In postmenopausal women, Ibrance is given in combination with a hormonal medicine called with fulvestrant (Faslodex). She has been on Faslodex for several months now and is managing it great. The good thing about these chemotherapies is that they allow better quality of life with less side effects. When Dr. Zhang was on the phone with the oncology pharmacist he was over heard saying,”Marianne Frost is ready to begin Ibrance….it’s in her protocol…she looks beautiful!” It made us smile.

The difficult news is that she has almost depleted all of the generous donations in her GoFundMe. We are trying to make a plan so that she may continue her treatment at the alternative clinic. She did apply for a secondary insurance and will have Blue Shield as well as Kaiser beginning October 1. This will hopefully cover partial cost. As well, her incredibly generous landlords are allowing her $1000.00 from her rent to be donated monthly. And us kids are helping whenever and wherever we can. Bits and pieces. Wonderful bits and pieces along with a ton of faith! As it approaches the end of the year I just want to put out a reminder that if anyone is considering a tax credit donation somewhere, any donation made to Amithaba Clinic can be done so in my mom’s name and she will get 100% credit.

So right now things are feeling stable and we are all finding a little moment of exhale. Thank you so much for loving our incredible mama, THAT, is the greatest gift!
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It has been awhile since I updated. I began to write updates several times but realized that things were status quo and I didn’t have new information to offer. Mom was just moving along with her treatments! Other than her appointments, she was basically home bound to assure as little movement as possible so her ribs could heal.

Mom struggled through radiation mostly because of severe GI tract issues. Because the radiation was aimed at her L3 vertebrae, and positioning on the table was on her back, the radiation had to pass through her abdomen causing great aggravation to her other organs. She completed the rib radiation, but she decided, along with her radiation oncologist, to suspend her spine treatment two days early because of her severe side effects. We feel confident with this decision because she already had a vertebroplasty to strengthen her vertebrae and the radiation was a back-up for insurance. With all that said, she is almost completely out of pain and back on her feet! It did its job!

She has been unable to drive with her broken ribs. The angle of getting into the driver’s side of her car was actually the moment when she broke the second rib. She has been blessed with a fleet of family and friends who drive her everywhere. She is so anxious to get back on the horse. Since she has realized that her car is too low and no longer suitable, I took her to test drive a Toyota van. It was perfect, just being able to slide right into the driver’s seat level. So, her first step is to sell her car (2010 Honda Civic hybrid with only 69,000 miles on it and a 3 year warranty remaining in case you know of anyone in the market for a nice commuter car) and then she will lease a Sienna van. It is hard to imagine what it is like to be home bound and at the mercy of other’s kindnesses for months on end! Especially a free spirit like Mom!

The week following radiation she spent 10 hours receiving treatments at Amithabha clinic as they rebuilt her body from the side effects of radiation. She had very high doses of Vitamin C and an oxidizer as well as Artesunate. The higher doses of C did cause some nausea and they had to suspend treatment for 15 minutes several times to allow her already upset GI tract rest. The clinic reminds you to be sure to bring many snacks (healthy of course) to munch on to hold nausea at bay. She brought things like chia pudding with fruit, cantaloupe pieces and cashew cream cheese and crackers, but the first day they decided she needed “a sandwich”. A sandwich??? She hadn’t had flour of any sort in 2 months (along with no sugar, dairy, soy and corn)! Her friend went to Whole Foods and brought her a turkey sandwich with everything. She was like a kid with birthday cake! But 2/3 of it lived in her refrigerator at home until it got thrown away. She just couldn’t eat much until her belly healed . She had a repeat of the exact same treatments the following week. This past Monday she had another apheresis. This Friday she has chemo again.

Dr. Eliaz also told her that in taking her pulses, he felt her cancer was retreating, but her liver is having trouble metabolizing all that is being sent its way to detox. So the naturopath at the clinic treated her with seven homeopathic injections in her abdomen along the liver line. She said truthfully, it wasn’t nearly as bad as her imagination had it the night before!

So, she is doing so well. Her skin is radiant and she looks so healthy. She has gone back to work part time with the loan of Shannon and Isaac’s van, but she really needs to get her car sold so that she has her own functional vehicle again. Her employers have hired her an assistant which was beyond kind. She is so grateful for her job.

I know this is long, thank you for reading this far. It was just so important to me for you all to hear since it’s been awhile. Thank you. As a fiscal update: we have opened an account specific to Go Fund Me and it keeps her medical fund very clear. So far to date her alternative treatment has cost $14,953.00 (each apheresis being $3800.00). We could not be doing this without you. Big love everyone!
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$19,595 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 161 people in 22 months
Created July 7, 2017
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