Support during cancer treatments

$9,200 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 123 people in 3 months
Created November 7, 2017
Bob Byars
on behalf of To Re Nee Keiser

First of all I want to thank everyone for their support.  I use the kind, heartfelt and hopeful words sent to me for inspiration.  I reread them all the time.  It's part of my life line.  Thank you all.  

In the meantime the chemo and radiation treatments are done.  However, the side effects continue.  I wake up every day hoping for some relief.  None yet.  The doctors told me it would be a long recovery.  Silly me, I had created a different scenario.  Now I realize returning to normal could be 6 or more months away.  It just doesn't fit, but then I have never had cancer.  So in the last few weeks I have had to examine my situation and attitude and make adjustments.  I have decided to reenergize my initial plan, which means going back to my Marine Corps days motto:  "kick ass and take names."  I refuse to let this cancer beat me up.  I am the solution.

To-Ree-Nee is fighting off a cold, working overtime to take care of me and business around the house ,and do her regular gigs that bring money into the household. She is amazing but this is wearing on her spirit and I am concerned about her health. The GoFundMe monies have helped us tremendously and are making a big difference.  Without our community's support To-Ree-Nee and I would be hard-pressed to get by.

If there were any other way to get by we would do it, but until I can get back to work the GoFundMe is our lifeline.  My job is waiting for me, but realistically I will not be able to work full-time for another three months. There may still be some surgery in the future and I still rely on my feeding tube for survival.  The tube will stay for at least another three months. So it is still a ways off until our lives return to normal. 

Okay, friends.  Go well and thank you for your kindnesses and support.


Radiation all done, yahoo.  The idea behind chemo and radiation is to tear the system down to kill the cancer cells.  Unfortunately the healthy cells are destroyed as well. It will take another two weeks or so for the residual chemo and radiation to be the most effective.  Because of this the doctors say don't expect much to change. 

People often fool themselves into thinking all is well because they are done with the medications.  At this point I must remain vigilant and keep up with the protocols.  Final tests on whether or not the cancer is gone happens in 4 to 6 weeks. 

In the meantime I have to adjust to a different way of living to find the best possible means to keep the cancer out.  That is my next push, "learning and adopting to a more healthy lifestyle." 

One of the biggest contributing factors to our survival so far as been the Gofundme campaign started by our good friend Bob Byars.  Knowing that money will be available to keep us moving forward has eliminated the stress involved with paying the mortgage, utilities, insurance, buying necessary specialty foods, various medications not covered by the VA and unexpected car repairs and dental work. 

To-Ree-Nee has shelved almost all of her client commissions and other gigs to keep us going.  I would not be able to do this alone.  At this point it is difficult to walk from room to room.  Fortunately my old job will be waiting for me once I'm able to go at it. 

I want to thank all of my friends and family for their heartfelt contributions.  The words of encouragement, the prayers and Reiki are also extremely helpful and much appreciated.  Thank you all.

December 19:  Patrick has come to the hardest part of the chemo and radiation treatments:  food has no taste (worse, it tastes "like rust"), his energy is very low, and it's a struggle just to keep going.  On the other hand, he's still driving himself to treatments many days--remember, he was a Marine!  He's had a feeding tube installed in his belly and even with painkillers, he's in a lot of physical pain.

To-Ree-Nee is soldiering on, helping Patrick with his meds and stuff, in rehearsals for an Invisible Theatre play (February, I think), and watching her own health and getting enough sleep.  

The donations here have made an enormous difference for them, allaying anxiety about mortgage and utility payments.  Enormous thanks to all of you who contribute!

The backstory:

In August, Patrick discovered a lump on his neck.  Tests revealed that he had throat cancer  (squamous cell carcinoma).  Luckily, PET scans showed the cancer was only in two locations:  his right tonsil and the lymph nodes on the right side of his neck.

Banner Cancer Center here in Tucson is providing his treatment, which consists of 7 rounds of chemotherapy and daily radiation sessions for 6-7 weeks.  The good news is he has a superb team who are top of their field, and his doctor, Julie Bauman, an expert in this field, assures us that the recovery rate for this kind of cancer is 90 percent.  However, she has emphasized that the process and treatment will be very taxing.

Patrick's chemotherapy and radiation sessions will start mid-November 2017.  Needless to say, he won't be able to work while going through this ordeal, and To-Ree-Nee will be his primary caregiver.  She has a few commitments for performances and small art projects; however, she will not be working as much as she's accustomed to.  Thus, their household income will be drastically reduced for AS MUCH AS A YEAR from now.

This GoFundMe money is needed for mortgage payments, utilities, groceries, gas, etc.  While he gets great medical coverage via the VA and Banner, this leaves them in a challenging situation in terms of everyday life and living expenses.

As we have all heard and read, the biggest reason people lose their homes in the U.S. is catastrophic medical situations.

SO.  I'm asking you for your support.  Money, of course, is paramount.  And there are lots of OTHER ways to help:  meals, gift cards or gas cards, transportation, being taken to lunch, massages,  and running errands.  PRAYERS AND THOUGHTS AND HEALING ENERGY ARE DEEPLY APPRECIATED, TOO.

Yes, $20,000 sounds like a lot, but we have realized that if 500 people were to donate $40, we would meet our goal.  If you can give more, please do.  If you can give less, that's great, too.

Most important, PLEASE SHARE THIS CAMPAIGN on all your social media platforms, so that word goes out far and wide.

To-Ree-Nee and Patrick have given so much to the Tucson community, in art, photography, music, teaching, on and on.  We have all benefitted from their art and hard work.  It's time for us to give back.

I have stepped up to be their Volunteer Coordinator, so IF YOU WANT TO HELP OUT IN PERSON, CONTACT ME DIRECTLY:  (520) 891-3981.  You can reach To-Ree-Nee and Patrick via Facebook and email, but they ask that you keep phone calls to a minimum.

To-Ree-Nee will be updating this campaign as things move forward and already you all have their heartfelt thanks!

Bob Byars

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We are thrilled and humbled by all these donations. It confirms what a beautiful and loving community we all occupy.

NOW:::: I'M LOOKING FOR FOLKS WHO CAN DRIVE PJ TO HIS RADIATION TREATMENTS (Campbell Ave). Weekday afternoons, 2 to 3:30 p.m. for the next 5-6 weeks. PLEASE CALL ME DIRECTLY: 891-3981.
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Wed, Nov. 15, FROM PJ:

Day three of treatment. Chemo on Monday. Radiation Tuesday, Wednesday. No major side effects yet. Dr. told me today side-effects will kick in after two or three weeks. She also noted this is a very extreme treatment so beware. I told her I was in the Marines. She smiled. My lifestyle has changed dramatically, already. Eating, sleeping, hygiene, leaving the house --and the list goes on--have to be monitored, by me. And of course To-Ree-Nee is all in and helps me keep track of everything. I would be lost without her help.

For example she just showed me my germ-ridden disgusting toothpaste holder cup thingy. She also gave me a breathing tutorial. She has been stocking up on the necessary foods and taking amazing notes during our Dr visits. Very helpful. So much to do to stay on track so this can be a successful journey. I’m conditioning myself to think of it as an overhaul. I’m in good spirits mostly, but I have to be honest it is a bit overwhelming sometimes.

Our friend Bob Byars started a Gofundme for us. That has saved us much stress and is enabling us to keep moving forward. We are so blessed and thankful for all the contributions and the get well wishes and prayers and good energy. Thank you everyone.

NOTE from Bob: That weird thing in the pic is a specially molded mask used to protect pj's face, etc., during the radiation treatments.
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Wednesday, Nov. 15. UPDATE FROM TRN:

Beautiful community,
Thank you! This has been a big week. Chemo and radiation and meeting with the doctors and nurses and nutritionists, etc. It's a huge learning curve and so much to stay on top of. Monday we were at the Banner Cancer Center form 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It was a very long day. Radiation began on Tuesday. I've been very impressed with everyone at the Center. They are superb at what they do. This dance with cancer is at times overwhelming and intense. And this is just the beginning. We are establishing the new normal. And your kindness and generosity is helping us to stay afloat.
Big Love to You All,
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Wow! This is truly amazing and also very humbling. Almost $2,500 already. We are excited and very, very thankful to you all.

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$9,200 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 123 people in 3 months
Created November 7, 2017
Bob Byars
on behalf of To Re Nee Keiser
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