Esther Rodgers (JazzTurtle) Cancer Recovery Fundraiser

For: Esther Rodgers
Mebane, NC
Organizer: Ashley Martineau
Esther Rodgers (JazzTurtle) Cancer Recovery Fundraiser (Esther Rodgers)
of $35,000 goal.
Raised by 431 donors
62% 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 August 9, 2017


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


Posted on April 27, 2017

Posted on April 27, 2017

So we're at 6.5 months post surgery...weeks from 7 months.

  • My colon is still leaking.. and it varies from a constant drip to more significant fluid.  Other than the 2 openings, the rest of the surgical wound is finally healed, so that's huge progress.  
  • I had an appointment with my oncologist a couple of weeks ago. He ordered a colonoscopy that found a few pollops, but they came back from pathology clear.  He is now concerned that the colon will not heal the leak on it's own due to the way the scar tissue has formed.  He is giving me until Aug 2.. which at that time I will have another CT scan.
  • If the scan shows the leak is still there he will schedule a bowl rescetion for November.  He referred to this as a "difficult" surgery for me, since it can't be laparoscopic, but involves an abdominal incision, another week stay in the hospital, 4 weeks off my feet, and many months until I feel like I didn't have someone's hands inside of my abdomen.
  • If he does need to do the surgery, it is a chance for him to take the lymph nodes closest to the appendix to make sure that the cancer didn't metastasize.    If my colon DOES stop leaking on it's own, then he's not sure it's worth the bit of extra information that getting the lymph nodes will provide to put me through the surgery and recovery. 
So for now I'm just trying to get as strong as possible, so that if the surgery does happen, I can do what I can to make my recovery easier.  I have started to pick up massage clients, though my stamina is half of what it was, so it's slow getting back, but progress is progress.   My creative mojo has returned, so that makes me happy.  I am finding peace again in spinning and weaving.
I'm still working with Blue Cross on the hospital bill. We have an attorney and if the hospital continues to be unhelpful we will go to the attorney general if we have too.   I'm not letting the stress of the money impact my healing.  Visualizing to actualizing positive healing is the most important right now.

The worst things now are constant dull pain in my abdomen, the leaky drip, and the itching from the constant tape..  but perspective is everything-.. and I am constantly reminding myself how far I have come. I really appreciate everyone's messages and emails of support and encouragement, prayers and well wishes.  I can't tell you how much they mean to me.

- Esther

Posted on January 21, 2017

Posted on January 21, 2017

Things are progressing alright. There’s still pain, which is frustrating, but my surgeon says it’s normal for the trauma I went through. I got my PICC line out a week before Christmas. I felt great, and then not so great.  The not so great worried my infectious disease doctors, so they asked me to go back to the ER (all the clinics were closed for the holidays) and get evaluated.  I was admitted for 24 hours and it was determined that my insides were working more, which is what increased the pain, and that my infection had not returned.  So they had me make a follow up with my surgeon for 2 weeks and sent me home on Christmas Eve. They did take me off the narcotic pain killer and put me on non narcotic pain management, so that is fantastic.  My appitite as returned, as well as my desire to create.

The recent appointment with my surgeon went very well. She said she was thrilled with my progress and determined my colon had stopped leaking the icky fluid. She said the incision was healing nicely and the fluid draining from it was now looking like it was just leftover from the trauma, rather than new.  At the next  appointment my Oncologist will join my  Surgeon to determine the plan of action for the next surgery and recovery. We are hoping it will be in March. 

So that’s what’s happening.  I’m slowly feeling like progress is happening..  slowly, but it’s happening.  Thank you everyone for your continued messages of support. It makes my days brighter. 


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