Esther Rodgers (JazzTurtle) Cancer Recovery Fundraiser

For: Esther Rodgers
Mebane, NC
Organizer: Ashley Martineau
Esther Rodgers (JazzTurtle) Cancer Recovery Fundraiser (Esther Rodgers)
$26,269
of $35,000 goal.
Raised by 510 donors
75% Complete

The Story

Esther Rodgers is a legend in the fiber art world. She has classes on Craftsy, has been published in multiple books, and has been invited around the world to inspire creativity in spinners around the globe. And now she is a cancer survivor.

Let's come together and help lift Esther's financial burden while she heals so that she can have a mental & emotionally peaceful recovery and get back to what she loves most - teaching and inspiring creativity in the fiber art community. Cards can be mailed to the following address: Esther Rodgers, 603 Hunters Run, Mebane, NC 27302

All donations on this website go directly into her paypal account to pay for medical expenses. You can read Esther's cancer story in the Fundraiser Update below.

Thank you so much for your kindness and generosity.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on January 12, 2018

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Posted on January 12, 2018

My surgery went ok. It was long.. almost 6 hours.  and the hospital stay was difficult.  it was 7 days of high anxiety and some crazy pain.. and I swear I have no idea how a hospital as good as Duke could so consistently send up the worst grilled cheese sandwiches.  They found some deep infections and additional fissures so the surgeon felt it was best to give me a temporary ostomy bag for a few months. After my workshop in April I will have to have one more surgery to reverse it. It will require another few days in the hospital and then hopefully I should be done and ready to finally start to heal.
I’m home and doing alright. I still have to give myself lovonox injections each day for another week which sucks.. but it’s just preparing me for the humeria injections I’ll have to give myself biweekly for the crohn’s..   If it indeed is crohn’s.  The pathology still isn’t back from the tissue they sent from surgery.  The surgeon said if it is crohn’s, that it explains everything that happened.. but if it’s not (my original biopsies came back negative) I’m still a huge gold star in Duke’s WTF Chart. 
My pain management is going fine.. I hate being on the couch, but I’m not as sick as I was last time by any means.  It’s almost harder that way, because my when my brain wants to do something, my body has a harder time fighting it off, because it wants off the couch too.  But I imagine another 4 weeks off my feet at least.  I’m having a harder time processing mentally the ostomy bag, and dealing with the fact that this part of my journey is indeed not over, and I have to go through one more round of hospital food...
I have post op appointment with my surgeons in a couple weeks and I will hopefully get the wound vac removed and switched to a regular gauze dressing and schedule the reversal surgery. 

I am just ready for it all to be over.. but I know it’s all a part of the journey to get me back to the healthy place I want to be.  

- Esther

Posted on December 27, 2017

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Posted on December 27, 2017

December 28, 2017. That’s the date I’m going back into Duke Medicine for the surgery that is going to fix my leak, and get me on the road back to wellness. I’m a couple months past the original surgical date.. and the postponement was a bit abrupt- I had my presurgical CT scan, and when I sent in for the pre-op appointments I was told there was “an anomaly” spotted on my scan, and surgery has been postponed until all has been figured out.  Maybe it's Crohns.. and if that's the case then a new surgical plan has to be created.  It was disappointing to say the least- frustrating.. I was ready to be fixed. I was ready to be done with the pain…  and to be told I’m back in the limbo place of waiting... and now with a possible NEW diagnosis!! I struggled.  But I do want my doctors to be the most aware of what they are getting into before they get into it..  to know what they are dealing with when they open me up.

Another colonoscopy and then multiple labs and appointments with a new GI specialist and a new colon/rectal surgical oncologist, to which the esult is I have an  Advanced Crohn’s diagnosis.  The surgery has now become more than just "fixing my leak", and now includes removing the section of small intestine affected by the Crohn’s- which they now know is where leak actually is, to put me into Surgical Remission.  Depending on the scar tissue left from the first trauma, he may have to take the entire chunk of midline, with my colon, small intestine and bally button.. He will also take the lymph nodes closes to the cancer just to make sure there was nothing else they missed. He has booked the entire day in the OR and has told my family to expect surgery to last anywhere from 6-10 hours.  There is a 30-40% chance I'll be left with an ostomy bag, though I'm trying to focus on the 60-70% I WON"T be left with the bag.     This new surgeon is very honest, and just doesn't know what he's going to see when he opens me up. 

Timeline wise.. I’m now looking at 7-10 days in the hospital.. NG tube, the whole exciting shebang.  With surgery 12/28, my New Year Eve should quite the hospital room party...  I’ll get to clink my glass of ice chips!! Hopefully the additional infection will be low so I’m out in less than 10..  but I”m bringing plenty of fiber with my espinner, and yarn with my Ashford Samplet loom to keep me occupied for closer to 2 full weeks.

Then once I"m out of the hospital, I'm back on an 8 week no lifting more than 15lbs along with a travel restriction.  I'm pretty much back to "normal" just in time for my week teaching at John C Campbell in mid March..  I'm quite lucky that my contracts worked out with the surgical schedule.  I wish I could just hibernate for the winter and wake up healthy and strong.. but I know that recovery is a journey and I still have a few more mountains to climb before I can close this chapter.

So, that’s the current state of things.I get to enjoy Christmas with my In Laws here, and I was lucky to be able to celebrate Chanukah with my family back in Chicago.  I am grateful for these days I get to spend with my family and friends. I am every day overwhelmed at the messages I get from my community of strength, encouragement and prayer.I am terrified to go back into the hospital, both knowing what to expect and not knowing what will come.. but I know that  my community will be there.. cheering me on, lifting me up and blessing me by their donations that help with our bills.  My words are insufficient thanks, but know you have my eternal gratitude.  

I'll see you in the New Year.. from the healthy side of my path. 


Posted on August 9, 2017

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Posted on August 9, 2017

Last week was my 10 month “anniversary” of the Trauma.  I’m feeling stronger everyday- doing yoga regularly with a bit of cardio. I had an oncologist appointment, with CT scan and bloodwork last Wed.  The appointment was a good one, and my doctor said the magic words..

My labs showed only 2% of the aggressive cancer marker in my blood. This is the lowest I can get, having had a cancer experience.  This low marker, along with the biopsies of the tissue they took during surgery, and the tests they’ve done during these 10 months, gives my oncologist confidence to say I’m CANCER FREE!!!!!Because Neuroendrocrine tumors grow very slowly (mine was estimated to have been growing at least a decade or longer) there will be monitoring over the next 15 years that include yearly CT scans and colonoscopies, and quarterly bloodwork- but in the NOW, I have the cancer free diagnosis!!

The other part of my appointment was about the leak in my colon- which is indeed still there.  My oncologist said at this point it needs to be fixed surgically, which we scheduled for Nov 7, right after SAFF.  He was refreshingly honest, telling me it will be a difficult surgery for me.  I am at high risk of infection because of the previous trauma.  The incision will have to be longer than the first- so I’m looking at an almost breastbone to pelvis incision.  I have a lot of scar tissue in my abdomen from the sepsis that he’s going to have to work through, and find (and fix) the colon leak. Because he’s so certain I’m cancer free, and my high risk, he’s not going to take the lymph nodes that were closest to the tumor. He’s just going to do the bowel resection and close me up.   He predicts a week in the hospital, 8 weeks off my feet with a 20lb weight restriction, 12 weeks until I can lift my massage table (50 lbs)

I admit, I have a lot of anxiety about this upcoming surgery. But I know that I am stronger going in this time-  Well, anything not dead is stronger, so I’ll say I’m MUCH stronger than I was last time. I will keep doing yoga and strengthening my core. I will keep journaling and meditating.   I will plan my room- bringing my own towel, a suction cup wall thing for my toothbrush, and a pretty crystal for my window.  I will put up the cards, felted hearts and words of love and encouragement you sent. I will give myself the illusion of control in the most out of control place there is.

Of course there’s still the everloving stress of the medical bills. (“But you’ll feel so much better if you don’t have stress)  I am $56 from meeting my “max out of pocket” for this year ($6000)  but I am still fighting the current $35,000 they are billing me from the trauma.  I have paid about $10,000 (bless you all for contributing to my medical bills fundraiser), and we are still hoping they will lower the rest..  but it’s proving to be a long fight.   

These 10 months I have spent almost $3000 in bandages, tape, creme, skin barrier, ..  (to you person/s who have sent me bandages and tape via amazon- I have NO idea who you are, but I have cried when I opened the packages. You don’t know how much a couple rolls of tape (and an awesome yarn inspired coloring book) or bandages and tape, makes me feel loved..  Still don’t know how you knew the kind I use.. but  I love you…   

I’m learning about truly just trusting the process, knowing that things will work out in the end as they will.  We are doing the very best we can-Staying positive and enjoying every moment.  I have made what feels like 300 batches of jam this summer, and am currently writing and sampling for 2 new videos I will go shoot in a couple weeks.   I am taking about 1/4 of my massage clients now, and  my husband is working 2 jobs and being an awesome caretaker. The fundraiser will stay active through the next surgery, every dollar helping in ways that words are inadequate to describe.  

Every good wish, every prayer, every positive vibe is appreciated and felt deep in my soul.

Hugs and Love

xoxo
Esther

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