#HelpMelanieCervantes Fight Cancer

For: Melanie Cervantes
San Leandro, CA
Organizer: Gina Acebo & Morning Star Gali
#HelpMelanieCervantes Fight Cancer (Melanie Cervantes)
$57,584
of $70,000 goal.
Raised by 802 donors
82% Complete

The Story

If you would like to send Melanie snail mail please use the following address:
Melanie Cervantes
PO Box 666
San Leandro CA 94577

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As many of you may know, Melanie Cervantes, our friend, movement sister and cultural warrior, recently shared that a nodule has been found in her right lung after experiencing heart palpitations. Despite a battery of tests and a bronchoscopy procedure, she now faces a biopsy to determine if there is evidence of cancer, and if there is no evidence of cancer, there is a possibility of undergoing a lobectomy which would remove one of the three lobes in her right lung.(Update: Melanie has been diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer. She has a carcinoid tumor in her right lung and will need to undergo treatment).

The physical and emotional stress of this health set back has been extremely challenging for Melanie, but more so because she has not had enough strength to continue working as an independent artist, which means zero income generation at this time. With so many extra and hidden costs, Melanie and her partner, Jesus, are confronted with a significant change to their out-of-pocket expenses as they deal with insurance, medical treatments, day-to-day living expenses, and most importantly, time to manage this new reality. When Melanie made the decision to go independent and to devote her life full time to her movement art making, she probably never thought that she would have to stop working for months in order to confront a medical battle.

Here’s where you come in: Melanie needs our help and support now more than ever to help her weather this medical storm, to give her the necessary time to focus her energy on healing, and to not worry about how to live day to day for the next 6 months. We can help her to do this.

This page has been set up to help Melanie not have to worry about generating an income in the midst of this frightening medical challenge. Any amount, large or small, makes a difference. Won’t you join me and chip in to help Melanie?


We know that we are so very grateful to have worked with Melanie and to be moved by her cultural contributions to our shared movements. Let’s show her that we have her back and stand in solidarity with her as she moves towards health and well-being.  It is going to take all of us with prayer, love, strength, and support to help you her through this.

Thank you all for your love and generosity in supporting Melanie. 

Sending you much love, blessings and gratitude,

Gina Acebo and Morning Star Gali

Note:
With your donation to Melanie, the secondary contribution to YouCaring is optional, you can edit the amount to $0.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on February 5, 2018

UpdateImage

Posted on February 5, 2018

Nine months ago I received a NET cancer diagnosis and my life path was forever changed.

The winter holidays were very difficult for me because I didn’t see my family. The month prior Jesus and I drove from the Bay to L.A. and the trip ended up being too taxing on my body and as soon as we got home I became ill. Being sick was never so stressful. I was so worried about the increased risk of pneumonia and the complications that would ensue. Fortunately, after 10 days I felt recovered from my cold. But the experience prompted me to cancel all travel plans for the foreseeable future.

Sadness has been a constant companion the past nine months. I have struggled to feel connected because I often found myself isolated. The tension between avoiding the miserable and threatening flu and being out in crowds of people does not help. I’ve struggled to come up for air from the depressive states that sometimes bound me so tight I felt like I would never escape them. Gray skies make it all worse. The past week the sun came out shining and I found myself more optimistic, more grounded in the here and now and more engaged in creativity and focused on daily appreciation. Creating new artwork has given me so much life and getting out into the world has helped lift my spirits.

In a few weeks I will undergo another nuclear imaging test to see if there is recurrence. “Scanxiety” is part of my life. I both want to know where I am at after being shocked by the news from my surgeon that the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes (and is therefore metastatic) and I want to avoid the radioactive injections that have to be put into my body. I want to avoid those needles like like the plague. It’s a catch 22.

Writing this brings a flurry of emotions to the surface and I can feel the tears ski down the skin of my cheeks. The uncertainty has always been there I am just more aware of it now.


Posted on December 21, 2017

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Posted on December 21, 2017

The past few months have afforded me a lot of time to reflect. I am extremely pensive especially as the date nears for my first post surgical scans (which will take place in a couple of months) and I will soon be seeing a specialist who is understands Neuroendocrine Tumors much better than my current team of doctors. Being diagnosed with the big C has made me think a lot about death and that I have no idea when my death will come and that I have absolutely no control over the fact that it will inevitably arrive. Thinking about death has made me think a lot about what I truly want to experience in this life, however long I get to live it, and how I want to spend the time I have here. In public presentations I always talk about how precious the time we have in this one life is but this year has underscored, in so many ways, just how urgent it is focus my energy.

This year, 2017, has felt cataclysmic on a personal, political and environmental level. I find myself shedding tears almost daily because of the utter devastation that climate change is reaping on so many communities or due to the latest havoc the Trump administration is reaping on so many lives. I’ve seethed with anger over the transparent White Supremacists that have become so emboldened by the racist in chief but am more infuriated by the apologists whose liberalism has been plaguing our communities with their opaque racism and self congratulatory smugness for decades. There is so much premature death. Toxic masculinity is killing so many women, trans and gender non-confirming people and it feels like there will never be a day without mourning.

There is so much out of balance in the world. Witnessing this global vertigo has made me realize that something inside me, at a cellular level, is also out of balance and that in order to be well I must find equilibrium. And in finding an individual equilibrium I must also help to restore a large scale balance. Finding this balance is neither a solitary or a communal act. It is both. It requires large scale changes fueled by an ardent and revolutionary love. A love that can only be put into action through struggle.

As midwinter arrives I want to express the love I have for all of you. I type these words through tear filled eyes as I am overcome with emotion. I am indebted to those of you who have held me over the course of the last few months. You’ve helped me be fed well, to get the treatments and medicines I need, entertained my request and sent me analog mail in a predominantly digital world and showed up and sat with me to ensure I wasn’t alone in this terrifying illness that will be with me the rest of my life. Thank you so very much.


Posted on October 5, 2017

UpdateImage

Posted on October 5, 2017

I’ve been thinking about writing this update for a while and it’s been challenging to bring my fingers to the keyboard. I know people have been wondering how I have fared after surgery. It’s been so difficult to be ill and to attempt to heal during these das. Every day I found myself crying and feeling so small and powerless. The nearly daily cataclysmic events and the human suffering that follows has devastating. I try to focus on healing for the long term.

Generally, I have been surprised at how well I have recovered from such a major operation. I only spent one night in the hospital and came home to recover the day after surgery. Initially I was prescribed some pretty intense opioids but I quickly worked with my doctors to ween myself off from these drugs. I did have some pain once my nerves started “waking up” at the five points on my body where incisions were made. Managing the nerve pain with cannabanoids, near infrared light therapy and acupuncture were much better options for me. My physical energy has been focused on learning to breath anew as the remaining two lobes of my right lung needed to be exercised as they adjust to filling up the space left by the lobe that had the cancerous tumor in it. The weirdest sensation is the internal adjusting of the lobes that I particularly feel laying down. It’s like I have a crinkled bag in my chest that is inflating and deflating. I’ve found breathing and lungs do best when I do a lot of walking.

The other major element of my process has been the mental and emotional toll of facing my cancer diagnosis. After my surgery the pathology report indicated that they found cancer in one of my lymph nodes which means I am now bumped up to Stage IIA. Both my surgeon and the oncologist have said I have a very good chance of living a long life and that I shouldn’t worry but neither of them have much experience with neuroendocrine tumors nor do they have much knowledge of the disease. When I asked the oncologist how many patients he sees with my disease he said he couldn’t remember the last time he saw someone with a lung NET. This doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.

As I move forward I continue to use the herbal, lifestyle and nutrition protocols as advised by an herbalist who specializes in working with people with cancer. Acupuncture treatments and the time with the amazing healer who provides my weekly treatments are also an anchor for my healing process. My next steps are to see a specialist who works exclusively with patients diagnosed with neuroendocrine tumors. The best and closest specialist is located in Denver so seeing him will require a long road trip from the Bay Area. In the mean time I continue to reside in a deep love for life. Life is precious.

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