Tough Love


I have always believed the toughest love is people parting with their money, their time, and service when they have a loved one fighting for their life with stage 4 cancer.

It seems to be the end of the road. The oncologist says to a cancer warrior after a long hard battle, “There is nothing left we can do for you!”. They are in shock; they go home feeling scared and tell those who they trust that their oncologist said, “it’s over”. It’s okay to break down and go through a period of defeat. Sometimes, that’s all it is, ” a moment”, or maybe longer until suddenly they feel a surge of will to fight. They don’t want to give up! They have faith in God or sheer will and do not see the expiration date stamped on their foot! They had heard of miracle stories, where success had happened even when all seemed lost! The thought is like a power surge through their mind, their soul, and body” What if I can be that miracle too! It’s a long shot, but, “What if”?

It’s convenient for friends or family to say “It’s time for them to understand they are in denial.” Is it worth it to “invest money in false hope”? “They are so desperate they can’t even see or recognize a scam, and how alternative doctors are just out for any money they have left! Why take from their children’s college fund? It’s desperate and, in the end, selfish! Is it worth all the effort of fundraising, what about their friends and family, what a burden on them, not again. There they go, a second time around!

I had a second time with cancer. I heard a few things that were discouraging. Let me tell you, I am glad I didn’t give up! My friends allowed me to be that burden, and it was so humbling. I was afraid the entire time! I felt so scared of wasting their time and money but I also made a promise to help others should I survive against all odds!

It’s easier sometimes to try and convince them to just give up, to believe what their doctor said. Just offer and help “Get their affairs in order” because after all, their doctor said it’s time! ” It’s convenient, yes, but to be selective and choose to listen to their physician who is limited in treatment options and ignore the will of another human being who wants to fight to survive is cruel! It is wrong to persuade them to give up if they feel there is any hope left!

I am proof; as well as many others that we are all a possibility for a miracle! Thank you for all who stood by me to keep up the fight when my UCLA doctor ran out of options. I never did chemotherapy because I had pneumonia and staph infection in my lungs. The breast cancer spread to my lymph nodes, lungs, and bones. He did all he was allowed to do, but his best was not acceptable! When you walk out of that office with such discouraging words you are changed, believe me.

Ater the shock wore off and some deep personal introspection I didn’t waste time, I found a hospital in Mexico that I felt good about. It’s been there thirty years. I never asked for a success rate because all my life I fought for individuality growing up with a twin sister. I used to get sick all the time, she was stronger than me. People always said. You two are identical, and I knew they were wrong and how unique we were. I even got mononucleosis and we shared a room. She never got it in those two months I don’t know anyone with my personality, my soul, body or immune system. We have a chance at a miracle. We are not clones.

Getting my affairs in order as the doctors say, could mean anything. For me, it meant fundraising and getting ready for “Mexico”! It doesn’t matter what they tell us. There are no guarantees in this life. So, how can anyone give up when someone has a will to survive and I cannot leave out this part. I felt I had purpose to stay. I liked helping others and I prayed about that.

Tough love is where your loved ones roll up their sleeves and say,” really? The doctor said there was nothing else to be done?!” Do you want to keep trying? my answer, “Yes, but I don’t wish to be a financial burden on anyone” and then friends ask, what’s your plan? Where do you want to go? You tell them and if they love you, they support you. They say something like ” I believe we fight then! I will fight with you, and since you aren’t feeling well, you’re tired and scared, we’ll get a team together, and we will raise the money for you. This is an example of a passionate mission to support the one we love, our sister, brother, friend, whoever’s life has value to you. It is a statement that says I stand beside you!

It is not gossip. Believe me, people can be petty and they can be that bad. It is sad to hurt them when they are already down. Do not ever say to someone it is someone’s time to go unless they say it is. If they are raising money and talking about living, they are not “tired and wishing to die,” They want to live and do not feel well. So If you love them, help them. Don’t send them to resources you believe in or go against what they want. Ask them how you can help. At the very least they are emotionally worn out! Love them enough to respect their choice. Do not lecture them. Find someone to build a fundraising website. Angels for Shannon has fundraising resources (there is no money just information and great examples “sorry”)

Tough love is when you are giving money to someone you love for the treatment that might save their life. You already understand that there is “no guarantee”! It has worked for others, and yet there is no promise of it working for everyone else. That’s hard to accept and yet real honest! If they have faith in the treatment because it is a stone left unturned and they feel it must be tried, then it is worth the effort regardless of the outcome. (Please do not torture them by asking what the success rate is of where they choose to go?) No one knows. There are too many variables especially if they tried prior treatments. My type of cancer only had a 1% success rate, and now 4 1/2 years later I’m healthy and paying it forward. There is value! It was worth the fight.

If someone you love has a battle left in them and you are supporting them, THANK YOU! I am grateful for you. You are an earth angel. If you are not helping, please try and do what you can, even if it seems silly and they want to raise money for a trip to Rome for Holy water. Faith is the biggest part of their battle and if they ever needed it, now is that time! Without your faith and support, trust me you will feel it later on in life the closer you are to them. It will hurt you.