by Ellen Vibert-Miller
Christine is a member of our Kemptville Cancer Support Group. At her first meeting, she told me that she had visited a doctor many times because of severe abdominal pains and was finally referred to a specialist. After tests, it was found that she had stage 3b cervical cancer, with a 6cm tumor and a left iliac lymph node involvement which was three times the normal size. She started chemo, with external radiation, and also had additional internal radiation treatments, all while trying to continue working. Finally, she had to leave work as the affects of treatment became too much, she is still to date left quite vulnerable from treatment, with most days still spent in bed from the severe pain, fatigue, bowel and bladder problems. She was left with no choice but to start receiving unemployment insurance.
Christine is a single mom with three boys. Two of them are living with her, and their ages are 15 and 17. Her story shows how quickly and how devestatingly cancer can hit a family:
“I was diagnosed in March 2019, the Ottawa Cancer Centre gave me a list of cancer support groups within Ottawa and Kemptville areas. It took me three months to reach out to the group, but it was the most amazing experience once I did. The Kemptville Cancer Support Group are an incredible group of kind, thoughtful, loving, compassionate and understanding group of individuals. They have helped me so much and been so generous and understanding with me. No one completely understands what you’re going through quite like someone who has gone through it themselves. This journey has been, and continues to be, something that I never thought I would have to go through and has been very difficult, to say the least. Having my friends and families as well as my children’s support has made this a little easier and, of course, the support and love that the Kemptville Cancer Support Group has given me has just blown me away. And in such a short time: I’ve only been a part of their group for a couple months, and there are no words that express quite well enough how much they have meant to me.”
Christine had her follow-up MRI last week, and meets her oncologist again this Friday. Even though she underwent an extreme treatment plan, it did not work as hoped and the cancer, though it has shrunk, is still present. Meaning more treatment is necessary. The odds of success are unknown.
Her unemployment insurance, which only gave her a fraction of her salary, runs out this week. She is in dire need. She has approached the Salvation Army, the pastor at her church, and is waiting to see her doctor to ask him to sign the forms required for Ontario Government Assistance. However, the government programs will not give her enough to live and survive on.
With very little funds left, she is behind in her rent and other outstanding bills. Your help would be greatly appreciated, as well as passing the word to family and friends. Please donate at Go Fund Me on Facebook (https://www.gofundme.com/f/ud8xb7-christine-johnson), or get in touch with Ellen Vibert-Miller, Kemptville Cancer Support Group, at 613-258-7778 for special bank account opened at CIBC.