More Cancer Funding Assistance

Yesterday when I went to UCSF to see my social worker; Ellen, who is taking her place gave me an application for the Uilani Fund¬†which is limited to breast cancer patients in Santa Cruz, San Francisco and Hawaiian residents. It covers up to $500 for alternative medicine for breast cancer patients and they pay your practitioner directly. I’ve decided to give mine to Dr. Michael Broffman at the Pine Street Clinic in San Anselmo, he is helping me with holistic, herbal and nutritional needs during my recovery. Another alternative financial resource that I found but haven’t applied for yet is Sy’s Fund which is for all cancer patients between the ages of 18-39. It’s to assist with funding any integrative treatment that helps a cancer patient recover, I know my insurance doesn’t cover any integrative, so this will be really great assistance for me. I’m assuming they pay the practitioners directly as well.

Checking In

I’ve dropped off the face a bit… the last post I had written a week after my diagnosis, but didn’t mention my malignant situation, I think it was too much to admit even to myself and wanted to write about my phyllodes tumor lumpectomy before I forgot about the details, because the phyllodes tumor was so rare in and of itself (see previous post). My tumor was biopsied and I was told the news on the 31st of August that it was malignant with liposarcoma. Three days after my diagnosis, and after scrambling with some friends in the trade to potentially keep my business going on a volunteer-basis, I decided to close the shop because my treatment plan at the time was just too lengthy to manage. On the 3rd of September I decided to close the store and from that point on have never been so busy in my entire life. All of my doctors appointments were in the mornings and after 2-3 hours each loaded with exhausting amounts of information, I had to open the shop and chit chat with people all day long between fielding calls from UCSF about new appointments, second-opinions, testing, alternative treatments, it goes on and on. I apologize to anybody I haven’t contacted in the last month, I have been trying to keep my head above water under the circumstances.

I was finally able to meet with the sarcoma specialist at UCSF I’ve been waiting to see all month this last Monday, October 3rd, and he confirmed that none of this is make-believe, yes I happen to have saroma in my breast tissue. I have a tentative mastectomy scheduled on the 18th which will be followed by plastic surgery to insert a temporary implant. The surgery may happen early next week, I’m keeping my schedule and life open. What I’ve learned in the last five weeks is that flexibility is the name of the game with cancer, and it’s really the one in charge, I can’t swim against the course it’s leading me, only work along side it to get the best care necessary to make it go away. The senior oncologist wants to start my chemo two weeks after my mastectomy. The treatment is in-patient six days (in hospital), every month for four-six months. I’m preparing my life right now and today so it can be as simple as possible tomorrow and in the coming months. I’ve given my landlord notice after laughing deliriously about that decision Tuesday morning… laughing because moving out of my shop and last week and starting this week with the most intense doctor appointment during this current path, there is no way I could’ve considered moving again until waking up Tuesday morning. The pace of this thing is fast and I know there are things I need to do before I am put out from surgery or chemo. I plan to stay with my sister in the East Bay through my surgery and treatments.

One of my sisters is coming down from Tahoe this weekend to help me plan on what needs to be kept for the coming 8-12 months for daily living necessities, and what can be put into a storage pod. It’s been the most intense month of my life, but I know I will be fine, just need to set myself up now in order to have the maximum amount of simplicity and the least amount of stress.

That’s it for now… I will keep you posted! xoMichelle

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