Help Margo Rivera-Weiss celebrate more birthdays

For: Margo Rivera-Weiss
Oakland, CA
Organizer: Margo Rivera-Weiss
Help Margo Rivera-Weiss celebrate more birthdays (Margo Rivera-Weiss)
$36,558
of $36,000 goal.
Raised by 311 donors
100% Complete

The Story

Hello dear friends,


I apologize if this is the first that you are hearing of the rather shocking news that I was recently diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. I am still stunned myself as well as devastated. The diagnosis is particularly chilling for another reason. Many of you know that, for the past 24 years, I dedicated my career to helping women with cancer because my beloved mother died of cancer when I was 15. What you may not know is that she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer at age 56 (my current age!) and that she passed away less than 5 months after diagnosis.


I am doing everything in my power to have a better outcome than my dear mother. I have used knowledge and resources from my work at Women’s Cancer Resource Center (WCRC) to add anti-cancer and immune supporting foods, juices, teas and supplements to my diet. I have been exercising, meditating and creating art as daily as possible. I have asked for and received your well wishes and so many have sent caring messages, beautiful cards, love gifts and healing altar contributions that have helped sustain me. I truly am grateful for each and every day and for all the wonderful love and good thoughts showered on me by so many of you.

It has been quite a difficult year for my family and me. My wonderful wife Hadas had thyroid cancer surgery and my beloved father passed away just three days after. My work hours and income were significantly reduced and then came this diagnosis. As Hadas worked to rebalance her energy and strength, she has been making me healthy juices, soups and meals and caring for me with boundless love. At this time we are both on temporary disability. My capacity to return to work is uncertain.

On January 26th, I will be celebrating my 57th birthday and I would dearly love to be around to celebrate a few more in good health. It is my desire to heal as much as possible and to have as much quality and enjoyment of life as possible for the duration of my time here, however long or short that might be.

I am following an integrative approach by taking the standard allopathic drugs and utilizing holistic and conventional approaches to mitigate their side effects. I have consulted with the Block Center for Integrative Health in Illinois and will continue to check in with them to make sure I’m doing the best I can with nutrition, supplements and the mindfulness realm. We switched health insurance to a better (and much more expensive) plan so that I could have the flexibility to see a wider range of doctors. I am now getting care at UCSF where they have a great team of thoracic oncologists. I am also accessing community acupuncture to deal with side effects of cancer and treatment. As I am able, I would like to participate in more healing activities.

In my years at WCRC I have helped thousands of people access information, resources, and emotional support, learn new skills and connect with others through wellness classes, and much more. Now that I have cancer I am experiencing firsthand how important these kinds of supports are.

It is difficult for me to ask for financial help.  But we are figuring that our medical premiums and out of pocket costs during this first year of treatment will be about $50,000. Our premiums amount to $21,600 a year and our maximum, annual out of pocket payments for both in and out of network (doctor visits, CAT and PET scans, biopsies, ultrasounds, labs, medication, equipment) are $18,000. Also, the supplements, vitamins, tinctures and herbs that we take cost about $250 a month. Community acupuncture to help with energy and medication side effects are $30 per visit. Finally, if we think of food as medicine, a $50 donation will cover organic vegetables for one week’s worth of juicing and $100 will pay for one month of delicious, anti-cancer and immune supporting foods.


If you are able to support us with a donation, Hadas and I would be so deeply grateful. We send you our biggest, warmest thank you for your generosity. Please share this post by Facebook, email, etc. as you are able.


With much love and gratitude,

Margo

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on August 8, 2017

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Posted on August 8, 2017

Greetings!

I'm happy to say that we have enough funds for this year thanks to a longterm disability policy from my job and social security disability. Thanks for all of the support here and elsewhere.

My recent scan showed no progression of the lung cancer. It also hasn't gone away but we are happy with stability. A micro thyroid cancer turned up on a scan but it is papillary and very slow growing so it will just be monitored for growth and change.

My energy is still limited and I have to be careful of sun exposure because of the daily chemo pill I take. But, I am able to eat well (!), take walks with Rosie daily, make art and do meaningful things with Hadas and loved ones each day. 

I'm so grateful for all of the support and well wishes. Hoping that you are all happy and well.

Love,
Margo

Posted on June 12, 2017

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Posted on June 12, 2017

I want to thank everyone for their generous support of many kinds. It has meant so much to me as I navigate this new phase in my life. This has enabled me not to stress about increased medical premiums and the cost of medical care. For instance every 3 months I get a CAT scan, blood tests and have a visit with my thoracic oncologist at UCSF. The total charge for this is over $20,000! My co-pay is almost $1700. At this point I have hit my out of pocket max for in-network services. Things like acupuncture and chiropractic are not in network. Supplements (I take a fistful daily) and medical cannabis are not covered. 

My recent scan showed a small amount of reduction of the lung tumors. I continue to take a daily chemo pill and have several dermatologic side effects. I also experience lots of energy fluctuations and fatigue. I usually am able to take morning walks with my beloved Rosie and spend time each day preparing healthy food. I also make art daily and try to do other meaningful things like tend my succulent garden, go to a farmers' market and spend time with friends. 

With gratitude and love, 
Margo

Posted on February 8, 2017

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Posted on February 8, 2017

Hello,

I had a CT scan Friday and saw my oncologist today. He said that I had a better than average response with a marked decrease in the size of the main lung mass. The average time this med works for folks is 10-12 months and I've been on it for six weeks. It is possible in rare cases that it can work for years. I will take it as long as it works and I can tolerate the side effects. I hope I can seriously mess up their stats.

While my energy is better than it was even a month ago I still have a lot of fatigue and have to not do too much at a time. And while the daily chemo pill is doing its job it is also causing several side effects. I won't bore you with details but will just say it's a juggling act to keep them at bay.

I'm continuing to do acupuncture to manage the fatigue and side effects as well as exercise daily, make art, prepare and eat healthy food and enjoy each day.

Thank you for all of your support and kind words. I don't think I can express how much this has helped me cope and heal. I feel very fortunate to have so many wonderful friends and loved ones.

Big love
Margo

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