Friday, February 22, 2013

Supporting My Mom in Her Adventures With Lung Cancer

Note: I purposely did not use the words "fight against lung cancer" in this blog post title because for me it has very negative connotations. I think that fighting is generally a bad choice in life. I prefer to think of my mother working with her body in the healing process. Also, it has indeed been - and continues to be - an adventure...

Three years ago I quit my job to follow my dream of pursuing art as a career. My mother wanted to help, so we each packed up our one bedroom apartments and moved into a very small two bedroom apartment. We did this to minimize expenses while I got my business off the ground. The business I've created - Painting Soiree on Santa Fe - is my life. So is my mother.

My mom hasn't been able to work since November of 2012. Since the majority of my income goes right back into my business in the form of supplies to keep working, our finances took a terrible hit. Suddenly I was responsible for the majority of the bills. Not only that, I am my mom's only child (we lost my sister in 1995), and she is the last of my immediate family, so I've taken time away from my business to care for her.

On one hand, I'm lucky to be able to take some time off since I'm self-employed.

On the other hand... I don't get paid if I don't work.

Added to the enormous medical bills that we're facing, there are additional expenses in the form of medical equipment and supplies, medications, as well as basic living expenses that I'm having trouble covering. Making matters worse, I can't work as much as I did because I spend a great deal of time caring for and supporting my mom. I'm honored to do this. She's been an amazing mom, and I want to give her the best care that I can. But frankly, I'm exhausted. And I often feel crushed under the weight of the responsibility.

You see, my mom, Linda, was diagnosed with small cell carcinoma (lung cancer) on January 2nd of this year. She had gone to the emergency room because she could hardly breathe or eat. It turns out she had a large tumor between her trachea and her esophagus, and it was pressing on both. Soon after being admitted to the ICU she had to be intubated to keep the fast growing tumor from crushing her windpipe, and she couldn't speak for three weeks. She could only communicate by writing, which the nurses and I could only understand about half of the time.  It was devastating to see her like that, and there were times when I didn't think she'd make it. She spent the first five weeks of this year in the hospital.

She is now home. She's weak from the terrible hit her body has taken from radiation, chemo, and being off her feet for five weeks, but her spirits are high.

People ask me what they can do for us; really the thing that we need the most right now is money. We need to pay the bills, and I would love to have some of this pressure taken off of me, so I can focus on my mother.

I've always been very independent, and asking for help is not easy for me. It’s taken quite a bit of thought, reflection and courage to get to this point to reach out and ask, but I am asking. There is no donation too small and every little bit helps.

If you would like to help out with expenses, please visit
Thank you so much for helping me support the woman who has supported me!