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Come join Shakti Seva Simran (aka Shelley B.)'s new community.

Check It Out

Cancer didn't take me out, but one of it closest allies, Cancer Cachexia, has taken my mobility and more.

In humility and with gratitude for all that I have received, I am continuing this fundraiser now because of my very urgent need for financial support in order to move beyond the devastating effects of Cancer-related Cachexia (often referred to as catabolic wasting or "Wasting Syndrome").  Thank you in advance to all you compassionate souls who choose to read this appeal. (There is good news, too ... below.)

I am very fortunately a survivor of Multiple Myeloma. When my oncologist told me in 2013 that I was "cancer free", I naively assumed the crazy ride was over.  I am finding now that rebuilding my body after cancer is a harrowing journey of its own and that this new mountain I am climbing is called "Cancer Recovery".  I have come to liken it to the clean up and repair after a major natural disaster. 

All of my personal and professional plans were put on the back burner when my health took a serious downturn for the worse. After a series of surgeries for skin cancer and gastric issues last summer, my body began to suffer the effects of cachexia. My doctors and I were unable to move the insurance company to assist me despite their various Herculean efforts. The debilitating symptoms of neuromuscular and metabolic deterioration came on suddenly and progressed rapidly over the course of winter and spring 2015. Along with the almost constant flu-like symptoms, I now experience severe extremity weakness, atrophy and neuropathy, lack of coordination and fine motor skills in hands, and uncrontrollable muscle spasms. Simply stated, there are many days when I cannot walk on my own or use my hands, let alone accomplish any of the mundane yet somehow holy tasks of day-to-day life.    

And, like many cancer survivors, I have also experienced serious mouth and teeth problems. In my case, all of my upper teeth and several of my lower teeth were removed due to a rampant infection that could not be stopped in 2010. I have learned that my existing dentures cannot be repaired to fit my mouth and will have to be remade. Being without teeth makes it difficult to obtain nutrition on a good day and nearly impossible for someone like me who is dreaming of graduating from baby food!  

I think the "wasting" effects of cachexia are illustrated very well in the photo montage "A Year in Review"  above.  The photo on the left was taken April 2014. The middle photo was taken October 2014 as I wheeled off for a special hot yoga event . At that point, I began to have mobility problems, but I still thought I could "power through" things without serious repercussion.  The third photo was taken in April 2015. It was so nice to be outside again after a very tough, housebound winter and spring.In that photo, I'm still smiling, but you can see that I am missing a great deal of "cheek" and teeth!  (Loss of our temporal muscles, "cheeks", is common in cachexia patients.) 

S0, ON WITH THE GOOD NEWS:    I am here now, with proven cancer recovery treatment protocols and a team of experts to help me carry them out. I am a patient of Dr. Susan Godman of Partners in Healthcare Naturally ("PIHCN") and she, my primary physician and my physical therapist are all confident that we can work together and get me out of the chair, off the cane, and back out in the world.   

I am following the nutrition and supplement protocol she created to the best of my financial ability, but without help I can only manage about 30% of it. Dr. Godman would also like to include certain metabolic diagnostics, nutritive IV infusions and therapeutic injections which I cannot afford on my own. I am already benefiting in significant ways from her accupuncture treatments and we saw strong, positive changes in my condition when I was able to maintain all of my prescribed treatment protocols together as a result of this fundraiser's early efforts. With your help now, we can go forward and stop the progressive wasting syndrome before it takes my life.

Unfortunately, and as many cancer patients are painfully aware, the experience of cancer in our life journey is devastating not only to the body but also to our resources and relationships.  As I live alone, am single and do not have familial support of any kind, it has also depleted my resources beyond repair (Including my trusted car, which has been parked waiting for its repairs since New Years Day 2015). I have sold all of my jewelry and other nonessential personal property and I do not have credit lines to draw from.  I am proud of the fact that I have learned to live independently and happily within my means on less than $9,000 a year (my annual income). Unfortunately, I will need at least that amount to conquer this deadly foe!

Naturopathic cancer recovery treatment and this fundraiser are my only hopes to overcome cancer-related cachexia and avoid its slow and inevitable end.  And, since my insurance does not cover palliative care, your donations will also be helping me to avoid further decline and ultimate placement in a state-funded nursing home. It's far too early for that I think! 

Current Fund Goals / Estimated Costs:   

Specialized Nutrition and Supplements - $200-300 per month  (estimate 6 months) 
Car Registration, Re-Insure and Repairs - $1,000  
Existing Medical Bills - $1,700  
Dental Work/Prosthetics - estimated $4,000  
Naturopathic Treatments (2015) - estimated $2,000 

My healing journey has been a solo mission for years.  My "return to life" is something absolutely sacred to me and is part of a spiritual journey shared with but a few cherished souls. My commitment to life and my ability to deal with what it brings to my door have been strengthened in ways inexpressible. Cancer forced me to simplify my life and my focus. I am more prepared to do what needs to be done that I have ever been.      

To all of you have given here and/or supported me in other ways, I am eternally grateful.  

Thank you to all you compassionate souls who have read this appeal.  I hope you can find it in your heart to make a donation  of any amount.  Every cent counts towards a better outcome and is appreciated beyond what words can express.

I know that not everyone reading this has money to give. Your emotional and social support is invaluable as well.  Perhaps you will consider helping me spread the word by sharing this site via your social media?  

I look forward to being able to be up and out there; creating, playing and giving back to the world and I hope I get to see you there! 

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