Monday, July 1, 2013

My Current Status

Most recent update (of sorts) 7/20/14 http://anewme515.blogspot.com/2014/07/update-of-sorts.html

To see my most recent update, and summary of my situation, please see this link: http://anewme515.blogspot.com/2014/02/view-this-to-find-out-what-is-going-on.html

To see my most recent update for September, please see this link: http://anewme515.blogspot.com/2013/09/update.html

To see my most recent update for August, please see this link: http://anewme515.blogspot.com/2013/08/an-update-of-sorts.html

To see my most recent update for July, please see this link: http://anewme515.blogspot.com/2013/07/status-update-vlog-video.html

I just realized that my last "where I am now" update was back in February, when there were "only" 300ish blog entries. Currently there are now over 800 entries. Several of which I know have rarely, if ever, been seen. I tell you this because I recognize the fact that not everything I say or do will be noticed - or cared about - by everyone.

And that is fine.

However, because of the fact that I know that a lot isn't seen, or heard, or noticed, and because you may even be here for a first time, you may not know what has gone on with me, and what is currently going on with me, and might not know how to find out - easily.

So this is me trying to make it easy on you.

For anyone who is familiar with me, the short of the update is that I was diagnosed with a recurrence in April. 3 spots showed up on a Pet Scan (which highlights areas considered to be cancerous) that were not there previously.

What does that mean? Well, at the moment, it means the doctors are going to monitor me more closely than they had intended. It was going to be every 3 months, now it is every month.

Ovarian cancer does not have many treatment options, and for that reason, they are not rushing into treating me. They need more to make that decision. It could mean having surgery again, and it could mean chemo. Neither of which - obviously - are desired, I have been self-injecting with Mistletoe, which has been proven to be effective with many with melanoma and colon cancer, and is believed likely to be effective with tumorous cancers.

In the meantime, I can barely do anything. I am needing to pack/move, and there is much uncertainty around that. The friend I have been living with has been more generous than I could have asked him to be, and our time together may be coming to a close. And at the moment, my only option would be to live with my mother, and it is not an option that I want to exercise for myriad of reasons that can't easily be explained in this update.

This is happening as a credit card I have has an interest rate that is going from a very low interest rate to a very high one. Some have told me I should default, as I owe $13,000+ First of all, I don't want to. I want to pay my debts, although a considerable amount of that is interest and fees. And second of all, life is hard enough right now without my credit getting screwed up. In addition, if I have an emergency, at least I have an option, since I still have credit.

Which leads me to...

I am running out of money. I only have a couple of months, and I can be in big trouble. I am paying nearly $700 per month for my health insurance. Can I do something else? Perhaps. But I have to be really careful, given the weight of my medical situation. In addition, if I would have to go somewhere else for treatment, it might be more detrimental than helpful so I do not want to risk jeopardizing what I currently have access to. I also do not know if I will have to move up to New York, so getting help in Maryland will not necessarily help. I tried food stamps, but it was a minimal amount of money with the expectation that I would seek work. I am in no position to have a job, and that is provided I could even get one.

I started my radio show WorldofPerspectiveRadio.com in April. That hasn't gone too well, as I do not have the energy to do much more than have the show, but I am trying. If I could get some sponsors, that would help tremendously...but getting to that has been difficult in the midst of just trying to survive.

The following will give you more info, as it goes into more detail of the overall picture, and where I was in February:

I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer (I never capitalize the word cancer. I don't think it deserves that much importance) in May of 2012. I was thinking last night that in 3 months it will be a year. I have lived three quarters of a year with the awareness of cancer in my life.

From the time I found out til now I have had a hysterectomy and have had 3 types of chemo. One of the first chemos I had, my body reacted to, so I had to get on a different secondary one. I have reluctantly had a chemo port in because my veins no longer were cooperating in terms of getting the treatment.

I, as a hypnotist, used hypnosis while being treated.

I, as a blogger, have used my blog to share my experience. It was anonymous at first, but it became publicly me as I realized that I was going to need help to get through the "experience of cancer." I didn't know what I was going to write about in the beginning. And at first there weren't very many blogs, either. Over time, though, I started to share many things. Many things that I now call "the good. the bad. the ugly."

Some would probably call it TMI (too much information).

I was determined from the start not to sugarcoat my experience. I wasn't going to smile through cancer; I did not think that was going to be realistic. And it was far from it.

Did I smile at times? Yes.

Was I challenged at times? Often.

Am I still challenged even now that chemo is over? Yes.

You might wonder why. If you are anything like me, you hear stories of those going through cancer but you never hear the stories of what comes next. You don't hear about how chemo stays in the person's body for months after treatment. You don't hear how it affects their brain. You don't hear a lot of things. The "advertising" is misleading.

While I am able to do some things, I have been working for myself for years. So there was no job to go back to. I basically went out of business. And to make things even more interesting, now that I am "back in business" I am in the process of creating myself anew. I know I can help others who are dealing with cancer, and set up Relatingtocancer.com as my introduction to this "new" thing.

In addition, I have begun to educate on ovarian cancer. I had symptoms that I didn't know were symptoms. They are common symptoms, and often misdiagnosed symptoms. If you at least know what is possible, you can take better care of yourself and those you love. Ovarian cancer is a big killer because it often goes undiagnosed - or misdiagnosed - until too late.

I also want to do more talks on the effects of cancer - not necessarily the effects of treatment. While there are times the two go hand in hand, I am talking more about the societal impact, more about how people interact with this word "cancer," and ultimately me, as a result.

If you choose to go through my blog you will see how my journey went. This blog is in no way intended to entertain anyone. I tell you this because in many ways it is all about me and my journey. There are times I am mindful of the fact that someone could be reading my words, but I write for myself primarily. Secondarily I write (and do videos) to share what my experience is. I do this because it is becoming more and more clear to me that many people don't have a clue what it is like to deal with a situation like mine.

They often want to fix it or ignore it.

Sadly, my experience is not unique. But the fact that I am willing to talk about it the way I do, seems to be. So many have told me I should not be as public. Do I want to be as public as I am? Not really. And in the beginning, no freaking way. But the fact is at this point I feel driven. I feel like I do not have a choice, and that this is something that is incredibly important.

Statistics say that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 2 men could have cancer in their lifetimes. I had been one to stick my head in the sand and hope that it never personally touched me. Well, it did. And not only did it, but it was nothing like I thought it would be (not that I really even had a clue - just like most people I talk to). There are few words that can truly describe what an experience like cancer is like, although I use thousands to try.

In the middle of all of this, I am financially crumbling. While I have gotten some money, donations haven't been anywhere near what I might have hoped for. I don't need to live large, but I need to live. My health insurance is $560 per month at the moment, and about to go over $700. Try paying a bill like that, watching what minimal amount of money you have dwindle. I just applied for food stamps.

People will have you think there are lots of organizations that will help you financially. Sadly, that is not true, and many of them have limitations of who they can help by the type of cancer one has. If you are not on the list, sorry, but you are out of luck.

I do not want to ask for help. I never have. I hate it. I hate it more than you may ever realize. I would much rather work for my money. But when you don't have a choice, and survival is at risk, you do what you got to do. You ask for help. You plead. You beg. And you hope that those who are on the other end at least understand, even if they don't give you a helping hand.

Having said that...I STILL VERY MUCH NEED HELP. I always tell people even $1.00 helps. My blog has now been viewed over 7,000 times. If every time a blog entry was viewed, a person gave me $1.00, I would have $7,000! As it is, it is no where near that.

There is a lot here. You might find yourself overwhelmed. You might find yourself in tears. You might find yourself intimidated. You might find yourself amazed. Whatever you are feeling, just imagine how it would be to be living it. Just imagine what it would be like to find yourself in a place that no one wants to be. From what I understand, many think it will "never happen to them." Even if they were to get cancer, what happens to other people would never happen to them - but then it does.

At least if you have a true look at what an experience of cancer can be like, maybe you will come away with some understanding that will help you or help someone in your life - or help even a total stranger. I would love it if you see something in me and my story and would and could help me, but if what I say and do in some way makes a difference for another (while it can't directly pay my bills or keep a roof over my head and isn't edible) it will do my heart good.

with JoLoPe

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  1. Thank you for sharing your journey, Elizabeth. I admire your courage - not just to share openly about cancer in your life, but for your honesty while doing it. That, in itself, is a gift to others.

  2. Thanks for visiting, reading and commenting. :) I am glad if what I share is helpful in some ways to others.

  3. Elizabeth... You are one strong woman. I am happy to come across your blog. It put so many things I go through on a day to day basis into perspective. Good going girl. I wish you all luck and much more strength in ALL your future endeavors.

  4. Thanks Bandita. Isn't it interesting how another's situation can give us perspective? At the same time, even if you think that your situation isn't "that bad," (compared to mine) I hope you won't let the extreme nature of my situation diminish yours. Thanks for reading and commenting. :)

  5. Elizabeth
    Thank you for sharing your story, your journey so far and helping to raise the awareness of the ovarian cancer and the effects of chemo.
    I met you through my blog post, which attracted you because I was talking about NLP and Hypnosis.
    What you may not know is that I am a breast cancer survivor - so far. My Facebook community helped me get through those first six - eight months when I was otherwise alone. I cannot thank them enough for their love and support.
    I will find you on Facebook and perhaps together we can help make your life just a little better.
    I wish you health, joy and a great life.