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This fundraiser ended on 02/25/11

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Maureen has successfully battled breast cancer for 10 years. She is fighting her third reaccurance, as well as trying to stay on top of her

Maureen has successfully battled breast cancer for 10 years. She is fighting her third reaccurance, as well as trying to stay on top of her medical bills and living expenses.. She has metastatic breast cancer and will be receiving chemo for sometime. She is a survivor! Learn more about her at Change Alive -- a blog created to 1) help raise funds to cover treatment expenses and 2) share what she's learning through this journey to wellness. In Maureen's own words: My battle began in September of 2000, when I felt a lump, not expecting at all that it would become the scariest and most important challenge of my life. When you're diagnosed with cancer your whole life changes...until that moment, you really have no idea how much. I had just moved to Los Angeles with my son, Danny. My husband at the time was making a job change, and so I found myself in a new home and a whole new neighborhood. It was amazing. After being diagnosed, I underwent surgery, as well as chemo and radiation. I recovered after one year, not only because I had the support of my family and friends; but, also because the members of Corpus Christy Church gathered around me and my family. They did enormous things to ease my burden. From taking care of Danny every day, to bringing me meals constantly, taking me to appointments, praying for me, walking with me, etc etc etc. I will never forget that time and that place and those people. To this day, I am sure they have no idea how much they touched me and my family. I moved back to Laguna Beach to be closer to longtime friends. I also received tremendous help from the people whom I loved there , they created a fundraiser for me to help me once again get back on my feet. In 2007 after many years of marriage, my husband and I separated and I moved to Chicago, my home town.  Seven years cancer-free, I was again told I had cancer. This time, it had gone from my breast into my left lung, the doctors now calling it metastatic cancer (meaning it is now in my bloodstream and not curable; but, it can be managed via chemo). They call it a chronic illness now. In December 2007, I began having trouble with hives and breathing, requiring many emergency room visits. I was always told, "There's nothing wrong. Go home. Maybe it's in your head..." I knew it wasn't...just a feeling I had; but, I think when you get cancer you are much more sensitive to everything. Intuitive even. Luckily, a very experienced doctor in the ER, asked after my medical history. I told him I had had cancer. He immediately said, "Let's do a scan." They found cancer, and fluid in my lungs. After clearing my lungs, I had 16 more months of a very heavy-duty chemotherapy program. It was even tougher than the first time (and I thought that was tough). Somehow my body is strong. It withstands a whole lot, and because of that I am able to tolerate the chemo. My thinking is: I will tolerate whatever they throw at me!! I had recovered again. Or so I thought. Three years passed. In April 2010, I was happily working at a wonderful job back in Los Angeles...really feeling like I was getting my life back again. I was on top of the world!!!!!!! My son now getting to graduate from College. Yet, I began to feel something in my back, and knew it wasn't right. I went to my oncologist...and, well, the rest is history. Or at least my story. Because of the state of our healthcare system in America today, I had to again leave Los Angeles -- my job, my home and car -- and move back to Chicago where my insurance would be somewhat more effective. I am currently undergoing chemo again at a wonderful facility, Northwestern Medical Hospital, and happy to say that I have a wonderful doctor. I gaze at beautiful Lake Michigan every week as I endure another treatment. Life has its good moments, too. Unfortunately cancer has a way of really messing up your life in so many ways. Financially I am really struggling and need to ask for help. This is not something that's easy for me, or that I ever get used to doing. But I have to survive somehow, and in order to do so, I need help. I do the best I can to suppport myself. I've also have been blessed to have had help from my family and others in the past. The worst part for me of having cancer is the need to continually ask for help from others. It makes me feel weak and useless, and it takes away so much of my energy that should be devoted to healing and health. One day, I hope to give back in some way to others in need. I have been talking alot about finding a way to help people like me. I know I cannot be the only one out there. I would love to go to Congress somehow, someday, and tell them: "All this money that goes to research, to all these organizations. Why does none of it go to the people whom need it to live each day as they fight this fight with cancer?" But, closer to home, my medical bills mount and my living expenses and bills just keep piling up. I could sure use whatever help you can give. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to visit my fundraising page. Maureen  
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