I met Jessica two years ago. We were in the same post-partum support group. Her daughter, Ginny, had the best head of hair I have ever seen on a baby.
Jessica, like me, is a young mama and writer. She is 25. Her blog is called One Shiny Star and is wonderfully written. If you read One Shiny Star, you'll get to know a woman who is generous without hesitation, witty, and who has a heart brimming with gratitude and love for her little family.
Jessica also has cancer.
First day of chemo, selfie.
She discovered it over Christmas, when she mistakenly thought her acute abdominal pain was kidney stones. This terrible pain was actually caused by ten golf-ball-sized tumors pressing on her spine and kidneys, and one baseball sized tumor pressing on her stomach and rib cage. Jessica has Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma, to be exact. She must under-go chemo for six months and will require routine monitoring for approximately two years afterward. If Jessica makes it two years cancer free, then it's not likely to come back.
Chemo sucks. It is incredibly painful, exhausting, and nauseating.
It is also expensive.
Let me just quote Jessica on this one, y'all. Prepare for your mind to explode.
"Because even with insurance medical care in this country is exorbitant. Because curing cancer requires specialized treatments. Because money is a finite resource and life doesn’t stop when you have to pay for cancer.
Because even with insurance we get bills like this:
Rituximab is one of 5 drugs. This is the bill for one dose. One dose of one drug that I will need 6-8 times to cure my cancer. This is one bill. One bill, from one day, with just one drug. In the last three weeks I’ve had 2 CT scans, 1 PET scan, 3 CT-guided surgeries, and a handful of doctor appointments and blood draws."
Jessica and her husband waiting to start the PET scan.
Guys... I can't even wrap my mind around this.
"This is a long-term disease. Even when it’s gone it will still be hitting our pocket books. Every $5 helps. When my friend first created the fundraiser page and my phone was dinging every 10 minutes, I got all mushy and little bits of stress started melting away. Every time it gets shared, and a name I don’t know shows up in my e-mail, I get all mushy and little bits of stress continue to melt away. I have a mountain of stress, and slowly, little by little, day by day, it’s melting away." - Jessica
Let's make Jessica extra mushy, guys. Here is the link to her fundraiser. She's almost there!
If you have questions for Jessica, or would like to help in another way please feel free to send me an email.
Here's one last, beautiful message from Jessica via her findraising page:
"For each person who donates (by name or anonymously), we will write your name on a puzzle piece. When this battle is over we will put that puzzle together - a picture of our family on the front, and on the back a list of people who have lifted us up, hugged us, cried with us, and helped us through the biggest challenge we've ever faced.
Thank you for keeping us together when everything around us feels like it is falling apart.
Let's give Jessica, Brandan, and Ginny more moments like this...