Help traci through her cancer-fighting medical care journey!

For: traci kato-kiriyama
Los Angeles, CA
Organizer: traci kato-kiriyama
$28,111
of $6,624 goal
100% Complete
Raised by 356 donors

The Story

Hello friends, family, and community!  [[SCROLL DOWN for most recent UPDATES]]

If you're reading this, you likely know about my breast cancer diagnosis from June 20, 2016.  Surgery Date is finally here:  August 25.  (more details at http://www.traciakemi.com/blog/2016/8/19/tracis-cancer-blog-update-2)
In terms of the crowdfunding ask here - I got major-angel help to get onto the best plan possible that would allow me to see City of Hope.  I’ll be on this particular healthcare plan from June 2016-May 2017, which equals out to:

$552 per month -or- $6624 per year

Your generosity has covered not only my monthly premiums until May 2017 - the current amount raised covers the initial goal of $6,624 + $834 (3.5% fees toward the payment processing center that YouCaring is contracted with) + $2500 (2016 maximum out-of-pocket fees) + $5,820 for the following year of premiums (estimated monthly bill upon plan adjustment) + $700 (enough for several appointments with the Reiki Master she plans to return to).

If we happen to stretch past this amount, the funds will go to:  
a) my yearly maximum out-of-pocket expenses for 2017 ((not sure yet of exact amount for 2017 when I adjust my plan next June, but in the range of $5,000-$6,500));  
b) additional complementary alternative care including Acupuncture, Reiki, and cannabis treatments --yes, I have my medical marijuana card--;  and
c) days I won't be able to work / the gigs I have already turned down (($575 - priceless)).  

My community has encouraged me to accept the abundance of support in all types of ways - grassroots community fundraiser extraordinaire & API Equality-LA E.D., Audrey Kuo - suggested I work through feelings of guilt for asking a community that gives in so many ways & is constantly hustling as artists and educators and organizers….so I am trusting you will not give beyond your capacity.

And I say this endlessly - if you are not able to give funds at this time, please know I am completely grateful for any, other and all ways you want to support me through this journey.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on October 18, 2017

Posted on October 18, 2017

UPDATE:  October, 2017

--the good & grateful stuff--

Hi folks :)  I know, it's been a really long time since I blogged or put up an update here or on FB.  So, since I'm about to celebrate another birthday --in a much better fashion than i could a year ago-- I think this is the right time to bring some things up to speed here.  


A year ago around this time, I started chemo and my birthday was three days after my first infusion - which meant my first measures of neuropathy were surfacing in terribly un-fun bouts of pain in my feet, shins and knees. Four rounds of this meant cumulative increases in pain through the end of 2016.  Thank goodness for my City of Hope doctors, a solid acupuncturist and an awesome Reiki Master, the excellence of cannabis, and great healthy food & quantum energy from other Reiki artists and magnificent fam - those are some of the major things we employed to get through chemo and the following several months.

For those interested in more of the details of that path, I will post a longer rendering soon (at my blog/site) on my process and practice through treatments (including details on edibles, acupuncture, Reiki, food, art practice, work life balancing and magic) - but for the purposes of this update, I'm going to fast forward to the now-ish period and more importantly, to CELEBRATION!!  
Basically, I all but forgot my birthday last year - I had too much on my mind+body.  And if for no other reason than that, plus the aspect of 98% body regeneration in just under 365 days, time is a marker for some actual meaning and movement, regardless of the construct and attachments we place on it!!!  Ya know what I mean?!

In other words - last year, I could barely stay still due to pain during the first week of each infusion...and a year later, I will be barely able to stay still because of the amount of DANCING I'll be doing at my Bday/Cancer-is-Out Party.  I hope you'll join us.  You can find more details soon on FB, but just note for now if you're in LA on Wednesday Nov 1 - 8pm at Grand Star Jazz Club in Chinatown (a special edition of Midtones, hosted by the rad Shin Kawasaki).  My uber cool musicalicious friends, including DJ Akiko Luv, DJ ANT, DJ Waxstyles, Bitter Party, and Doctors & Engineers will be guiding us through a night of reflection, celebration and DANCE.  Please join us!!

And for you gorgeously gifty people, what I request this year in lieu of "stuff" is a contribution to my healthcare premiums (either here through YouCaring, or if you have Venmo, that's a great way for me, too).

And on that note - a word on all the contributions.  

THANK YOU to all of you who have already given so much.  It has meant more than I can seriously put into 10,000+ words on its critical impact on my healthcare finances, and thus my peace of mind.  I'll provide a handful of bullet points instead on how it helped:

- I wasn't able to work during the season of chemo (last quarter of 2016) and you've helped there
- Costs of services at the hospital took me to my max-out-of-pocket in 2016 and already in 2017 and you've helped there
- I've gone to many, many more appointments than anticipated for acupuncture, acupressure, and Reiki..and you've helped there
- Another form of monetary "contribution" I've seen at work are all the super solid contracts that have come through from the beginning of this year; so many of you have acknowledged the at-times-exorbitant amount of time i've-we've put into our community organizing efforts and those, who were wanting and able to, honored my time and my fees and that has helped a great deal, too

My premiums jumped up an additional $100/month and I spend a good $1K on just health premiums and care per month, so every penny is put to direct use for my baseline healthcare costs.

It was suggested that I raise the stated "goal" on this page, but I wanted to honor the very first ask and show how you all made it grow way past that initial ask.  So if we never raise another cent, I'll still be as grateful as always :)

Lastly, there's another form of contribution that many of you have given that's so worthy of acknowledgment -> that is, to ask and not assume...to ask for my time and trust that I will make the decision of my time, for myself.  I appreciate the balance of that ask with the at-times tricky nature of being flexible when I say YES, yet need to be absent physically more at certain times, and then less at other times.  I am grateful for you making way for me to decide for myself.  

This is a contribution to my spirit that has allowed me to practice more balance in my life...to be able to write and create and travel for performances as much as ever...to try & allow myself longer breaks when i return home from extra-intense gigs or actions...to struggle with my own workaholism as a real issue and...to not feel bad about feeling bad...to give myself time to cry when i need to when physical pain or fatigue arises...to have better, elevated conversations with you or with myself when I start to let the old habit of Guilt creep back in.

i love you all and am forever GRATEFUL.

love,
tra

Posted on October 26, 2016

Posted on October 26, 2016

Tuesday, October 25 (guest post by Audrey K.)

Hi all, I'm posting this on behalf of traci, who completed her first round of chemotherapy today!

1) Chemotherapy Day 1:
traci texted at 6 p.m. to say she was back home, feeling good, riding some anti-nausea medication, and preparing to “eat some chicken pho and take it easy for the night.” traci had company throughout the entire first day of chemo, including Joyce and her mom who were there all day (with “yummy onigiri with umeboshi,” of course). Special thanks also to Scott, Naomi, and Fe for supporting with visits, solidarity, laughter, and love.


traci asked that I relay all of her thanks “for all the folks who made their presence for the pre-chemo, pre-birthday hang in person, and through messages in ALL the ways (from text to quantum energetics)” as well as to everyone who has been able to make contributions. She added, “I have so much relief because of family, friends, chosen fam ... WITHOUT A DOUBT.”


2) General medical update:

traci will go through four rounds of chemotherapy, once every three weeks starting on October 25, with her final infusion on Tuesday, December 27. Recovery will take between 4 and 6 weeks after the final round of chemo, then she will start daily radiation and hormone therapy (the thing traci is least looking forward to, a daily hormone pill for 10 years).


She wants to reiterate: “But it's all good. I know i'm still super lucky and I am always ever-grateful.”


3) Crowdfunding update

If you are able to make a contribution, your generosity will help to offset unanticipated lost work time. traci will be going through chemotherapy until the end of December and has cleared her schedule from November to January, since she’s not sure how her body will react and will need to stay away from public and crowd-filled spaces, where the majority of her work happens (e.g. shows, rehearsals, universities, libraries, bookstores, museums, etc.)

  • $700 (raised) will go toward the Reiki Master traci has seen before; she's giving traci a great discount so I can see her many times
  • $1,200 will cover acupuncture appointments with the doctor who saw two of traci’s big sisters/elders when they went through cancer; that doctor has developed a program with Cedars-Sinai to incorporate acupuncture specifically for breast cancer.

4) Support requests

Now that traci’s medical treatment plan is in place, we are ready to move forward with informing folks who signed up to offer support about how they can plug in. We plan to send an email by this weekend with detailed instructions and time slots for rides, meal drop-offs, and limited visits.


If you have not had a chance to sign up yet, please fill out this form by Friday, October 28 to receive this email, which will also include more detailed information about food restrictions and other ways to offer support.


https://goo.gl/forms/bMqqRYAiH4NjW5XI2


Again, thank you all for reading, donating, supporting, and sharing -- and all of the other ways that you are putting energy into the universe in support of traci’s medical care journey.

Posted on October 1, 2016

Posted on October 1, 2016

Friday, Sept 30 - 

1) Rate of Recurrence score came back -> "25" = Intermediate range.  What this means, for me, is Chemotherapy + Radiation + Hormone Therapy/Pill (Tamoxifen).  I'll be doing a "lighter" range of chemo.  What I mean by that is, I'll be on Taxotere and Cytoxan and not Adriamycin...and, instead of 8 rounds, I'll be doing 4.  (Chemo treatment every 3 weeks, x 4).  

My medical team didn't see this coming.  They explained --because I was downgraded to Stage 1 and because of my age and that I came up clear through the genetics testing (and other factors)-- they thought that I would go straight to Radiation.  But the 25 score is in the range called Intermediate (18-30) and with the current research for the Onco Type DX test, this range is the grey-area one.  It's not a clear "yes" or "no" in terms of whether Chemo helps ER/PR+ cancer people in my range/Rate of Recurrence.  So, thus the decision to go forth with Chemo, while not adding the potential complication for heart risk factors by taking something as harsh as Adriamycin.  And, all of this research is only for the Rate of Recurrence at 2 years.  More time will have to pass before we know what it means for all ranges (Low, Intermediate, High) for the 5 year or 10 year mark.  But, wow, think of all the things we know, even at this point, with being able to anticipate the Rate of Recurrence for various segments of cancer...technology is a beast!

2)  Yes, I am pursuing Complementary Alternative Medicine/Medical practices during this time - Two friends who went through breast cancer were helped immensely by someone who does acupuncture for cancer patients and even helped develop a program with Cedar-Sinai for breast cancer specifically.  So, I'll be seeing her throughout this (you can email me if you'd like more info on her).  I'm also in touch with a Reiki Master I've gone to in the past and will continue with her, as well as with other Healers.  THANK YOU all for the names and numbers and suggestions and gifts & offers of help in this arena...I'm looking into many things at once and plotting out a pretty comprehensive, holistic approach.  As far as for sleep, the edibles have been helping a lot, although I need to try some sugar-free options (but yay for cannabis, seriously).

3)  YouCaring contacted me and we look forward to a feature they'll be doing on my campaign here!  They were compelled by my story, campaign, and communications on my journey thus far, and want to help propel it even further.  A super cool womyn named Svet came over and we had a great conversation about asking for help, the difficulties around it, and the silver linings of this journey and struggle with cancer.  We'll make sure to share the video when it comes out!

4)  I'm still taking in info and understanding on fertility issues - from others' situations to my own gut feelings on my current & future path and all the considerations alongside my awesome partner, Joyce (who you'll also see me call "rj" from time to time).  While I know there are many people still having babies at the age of 42, 45, 48...and 50 for that matter (go Ms. Jackson!) - that is not the only consideration in the bigger picture of things...in my bigger picture.  
There is an incredible amount of timing, stress, and consideration that goes into a queer couple trying to freeze embryos and thus needing a sperm donor, thinking on who would ultimately carry and when, what that might mean to our bodies and budgets and overall capacity, and so on.  We are leaning against rushing to find a sperm donor and freeze an embryo right now within the few weeks I have left before I begin chemo.  It's actually...just not going to happen.  There is a possibility of doing so between Chemo and Radiation...but that's not sounding so great to me either.  When I have wrapped my head (and heart) around this further, I'll share more on this through a blog posting(s) in the months to come.  Thank you for your understanding on the complexities and multiple factors around a window that is, perhaps, abruptly and quickly closing.  
And for all the friends with babies, please keep sending me those pics - I'll pledge to be a better auntie for all the babies!!!

5)  Work-wise -> thank you to everyone for your understanding with delays on commitments and upcoming dates.  I finally have a sense of my schedule for the short, mid and long terms, so I am able to confirm bookings (and am taking in new ones!) through 2017 and beyond, yay! :)  
For October, November, and December, however, my focus is on getting ready for what's ahead..and then settling into a quieter cave and little public interaction, especially in the 7-10 day period after each treatment, when my white blood cell count will be at its lowest.

6)  Thus, the benefit that a bunch of AMAZING peeps were planning for Nov 13..will now be pushed back to Jan - likely January 29.  Now you have no excuse, though - Save The Date now :) ;) 

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