Let me tell you my story. In 2018 I was diagnosed with Stage 3b Melanoma. Like many people I initially didn’t think a whole lot of it. Skin cancer right? They just cut it out and you’re all good, right? Wow was I wrong. My first tumor appeared in my right armpit. After biopsy, I had a complete lymph node dissection to remove the tumor and some surrounding healthy tissue. I then began months of Immunotherapy infusions at the cancer center in hopes that the therapy would delay any recurrence. Unfortunately the Immunotherapy failed for me and I relapsed. Another tumor, right armpit again. Biopsy, remove tumor, another lymph node dissection this time with some muscle excision and another few months of a different Immunotherapy Infusion combo and 25 rounds of radiation. Again, one month after finishing radiation, it was back. Same area, another tumor removal, another lymph node dissection, more muscle removed. By now I had already developed shoulder problems and a bad case of lymphedema in my right arm. But there was one more option that I could try. Since I failed the immunotherapies available for my cancer, my specialists suggested that I try targeted chemo. This seemed to work finally! Unfortunately those drugs don’t work forever so the longer you can be on/off the longer they may keep you relapse free. You notice I don’t say cured. There is no cure. It’s a matter of how much time can you buy for yourself in hopes that a cure is found. So they worked for me for a year. A whole year and no relapse! I thought that perhaps now I can get back to working, get back to my life, stop living in fear every day. Stopped taking the meds on my specialists advice, in case we need it later. Nope, wasn’t to be. In April of this year I felt a lump on my right hip. Wasn’t too big, maybe just a cyst? Biopsy again, and yep another tumor. As they removed this tumor they also did a sentinel node biopsy to see where the tumor was draining to, basically was it draining into my groin nodes. The answer was yes, of course it was. This was a pretty big hit for me but not the biggest, that was still on the way. So, as we are planning another surgery to remove the lymph nodes from my groin my doc is ordering a bone scan, a chest abdomen pelvis CT and a brain MRI. This is where I am now. I am Stage 4. My cancer has metastasized to my left chest wall, ninth rib, both lungs, and to two different spots in my brain. I am currently undergoing Stereotactic Radiosurgery on my brain tumors, which is basically extremely high doses of radiation to the brain tumors in hopes that it will cut off the blood supply and stop them from spreading further. I am also back on the targeted chemo in hopes that will shrink the tumors in the other parts of my body. You can really only surgically remove so much. I have speech issues and coordination issues because of the brain swelling and am hoping that will clear eventually. I am fighting for time, I know that I don’t have a ton left but I will fight for as much as I can get.
So, I’m asking for help. I’ve never been very good at asking for help. Generally I just fumble my way through and hope for the best. Currently I am wading through three years of medical bills that never stop coming. Treatments, meds (my meds alone are $8000/month), surgeries, radiation, copays, lymphedema therapy, travel and lodging to see specialists. Luckily my cancer center extended me a grant for my meds for now. I am hoping with your help to be able to pay some of these providers who have helped me so much, to be able to sleep at night without wondering who is going to call tomorrow looking for their money. I would like to have the comfort of knowing that when I go I’m not leaving my husband in a world of debt. If I can reach that goal, I would like to also have one last long vacation, nowhere fancy maybe the beach or Disney, with my family. Make some memories that don’t involve hospitals and doctors and sickness and taking care of me. But first and foremost, I need to know that my bills are taken care of.