Raphaella from Wyoming

I took care of my mother from 2009 to 2018. She is in her 80s and was diagnosed with Lymphoma. She almost died several times during 6 months of chemo therapy every day. She suffered a partial stroke and heart attack. She remains strong and is now cancer free forever as of August 2018. But she was weakened and has to be cared for. I did everything for her as her only child and as a single divorced mother who raised her son the best I could. We lost my dad tragically and I returned prior to her diagnosis.

Living rurally in Wyoming, we had so many challenges. I got on to a state program but was paid half time and stepped away from my careers. Through it all I never realized how sick I was becoming. I just kept going washing her clothes, cooking and driving. Got only half time pay and put away my career. Ironically last year July 2018 I was diagnosed with a basketball sized tumor and had Stage 2 Ovarian Cancer. I had it removed and it weighed 49 pounds. I had my stitches 12 days later on the day they told her she was cancer free forever. I almost died and spent from July to October 2018 with a wound vac. I had a blood transfusion to learn to walk again and lost 89 pounds. I am still recovering. I could not do chemotherapy, so I get cancer checks every 3 months.

As of this moment on July 27th it has been one year. I still am trying to get disability as I have equilibrium problems and I am weak. Plus, my hands are bad from IVs. Wyoming Medicaid will not put me on the program. Through all this my only son in his 20s stepped up despite his divorce and took my baton to care for my mother and moved back. He also raises his son as a single parent and now has me. He does this as her caregiver full time. I try not to be a burden but we as 4 generations are all we have.

I worry about finances all the time. It is just how it is, and we must go on no matter what happens. Prayer is often all we have. Every trip to the Huntsman Cancer Center for our care is a test. In the pictures I included, we were on our way back. One is also of me and her when I was her caregiver. I was able then to push her on a wheelchair.

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