In May, 2012 I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after the discovery of a 10cm tumor on my ovary.
At the time, I had several thousand dollars in my bank account, and was told I needed to have chemo for 6 months, which began after healing from a hysterectomy.
The money I had would not make it until the end of the year. After a month, or two, I reluctantly started to tell people what was going on, and asked for help.
I got a bit here and there, but I was living a great deal off of my savings. I wanted to get to December, and the end of treatment. I was still scared for what would happen next, but after treatment my life could resume, and hopefully I could get back to work.
What I did not know, and many do not say, or talk about, is how chemo is not like taking a course of pills. Just because chemo is over does not mean everything is ok. It is actually far from it.
But I was trying.
Only a few short months later I was told I likely had a recurrence. As a result, I tried various alternative types of medical treatments that took a toll on me, just like chemo had.
My mind and body were not the same. But I was still trying, and I was still asking - sometimes begging - for help. It still mostly came in trickles, but somehow I was managing to get by.
Then in September, 2013 I was told that chemo would never likely take care of the cancer again, and surgery was not an option - except, perhaps, a very serious, potentially life ending surgery,
I was devastated. As devastated as I was, I got myself on a 27 day road trip that was partially funded by donations, but most of it wound up being charged.
If I was going to die, I needed to do what I was doing. i just had to, even though it was ill-advised, and I was called irresponsible for doing it, given that it was perceived as a "vacation" by some. How dare I ask for that kind of help, especially after
asking for money to live?
At the time I contemplated letting nature take its course, and walking away from everything. Chemo could work - until it didn't. It was the only option I seemed to have, other than the possibility of the aforementioned surgery.
Knowing how chemo affected me and my life, I wondered how much of a life I would have. I decided to investigate the surgery. I spoke with the surgeons, and was told I could only have it with chemo before and after.
Reluctantly. I went back on chemo, but as I got closer to the surgery, I was told I was not a candidate. I immediately stopped chemo. It was a horrid experience, worse than my initial time, and I hadn't wanted it in the first place.
In the meantime, my finances were getting worse. Almost every month since I stopped back in Jul/Aug, I have been within a month of running out.
Tired of asking for help, there have been times I have stopped asking. I even entered the blog contest recently because I so desperately needed money. $1000 is not going to fix my problem, but would have helped at least a bit.
The Disability process is in the works, but isn't an easy fix like many think. It can be ridiculously hard to get. Even when I do get it, it won't probably be enough. It will also cause other issues.
I am telling you all of this as a background for where I am today. I am emotionally, physically and fiscally depleted and exhausted.
My tumor marker (the amount of cancer protein in the blood - which indicates cancer activity) was elevated recently, and if I do not act with chemo, I may have not much life left. As a result, my semi-adamant stance of no chemo has been altered, and it looks like I will be going on it again soon - for probably another 6 months.
The first time I went through this, I had stress, but it was no where near the stress level I have currently. How can I live when I can't focus on taking care of myself and an worried about money?
Everyone tells me not to give up, fight, be strong, that I am strong, and prays for me. Well. None of those things help in the practical, tangible ways I need.
I have tried to express over and over how I am, and help has still trickled. Well. I no longer have a reserve, and the point is very close that the trickles, as appreciated as they are, won't be enough.
I have heard some do not want to give to something with no end in sight. They feel what they would do wouldn't help, so they do nothing.
I have asked for just $1. Many have not even done that. If every view in this blog was $1, I would have over $50,000. It would add up.
I have asked people to share about my work. Some have, many haven't. Some have tried very hard to help, a few even attempting fundraisers, but no great sum has come in/been raised that way either, much to their disappointment. Many have no idea just how difficult it is to help another when needing to motivate others to act.
The things you think are so simple, are anything but.
I have pretty much said this stuff before in some form or fashion. But this time it is a bit different.
This time I am clear that I am running out of juice to go on. I am running out of hope. I am running on fumes, and am tempted all too often to give up. I wouldn't have to do much to leave this life. It would seem cancer could be more than capable of doing what needs to be done.
The fact that I am thinking this way scares me big time. And one of the only things (and maybe the only thing) that could change that would be if I could at least stop worrying about the financial aspects of my life.
But that means I need money. That means I need you to act on my behalf. I need you to be a voice for me. I need you to stop telling me to be strong, and that I am strong, and be some of my strength. I need you to stop telling me to have hope, and start giving me reasons to be hopeful.
This experience is extremely isolating. It is incredibly difficult to keep going, and as much as I hate to say it, I am not sure I can keep going if I cannot get the tangible financial support I need.
I don't just need "help." I need YOU.
I am drowning. Please help me survive - especially if you perceive there to be value in my voice and my being here. This stress is not helping me heal or take care of myself.
I figure 6-8k will help me through the next 6 months. Given I have car issues, and other concerns, it really is the bare minimum. But it gives us a place to shoot for.
How can you help?
I will list a number of possibilities for you personally to do/act on. There has to be something that speaks to you that you'd be willing to spend $5 on. You could also consider the $1 idea.
I am begging you to not give up on me. I haven't given up on myself - yet. And I hope there never is a "yet." Please help me prevent one.
I can tell you you have no idea the hell I have been through, and that you would never want to know. But if you are ever in a position of need, you will hope that people will find it in their heart to help you, and that they will understand how much you value the smallest of things, and when others are able and willing to help.
Yes there are all kinds of things that come your way, and you can't help everyone, but if you listen with your heart, you will at least know which ones you should.
Many will likely read this and proceed to do nothing. If people are listening to their heart and it doesn't say to help, that is one thing. I just ask that you please give it a chance to speak before considering moving on.
Now...for ways you can help:
Send $1 - check or through Paypal
Buy a recording Relatingtocancer.com/mp3s.html
Buy my book PDF SometimesitSuckstobeHuman.com
Buy my recipe booklet
Get a number of magnets from me, and sell each for $1 or more to raise money (ask for info)
Do a fundraiser
Ask about auctioning off a piece of my art
Consistently share my blog, and about my work
Buy a print, coasters, cards, jewelry, light switch plates, magnets, tiles - my designs, or get something custom-made
Got an idea you want to try and want my input? Please ask.
In business for yourself? Would you consider donating a portion of your sales?
Got other ideas? Feel free to comment below.
This is the most rational and calm I have been in the last couple of days, and I hope I somehow managed to convey just how urgently I need you to act.
There is no pressure. All I ask is that you listen to your heart, and help if you feel guided to. I also ask the same of you on behalf of anyone in need who may cross your path.
Thank you for anything and everything you can and will do. Any questions, please ask. You can find me in Facebook (facebook.com/jolope), or look at my contact me page for other ways to reach out.