Tag Archive for: Ellen

It’s me again. Many of you know me through my dad and by way of the Writers’ Police Academy. Most of you, however, know me from the tragic events of my life.

As many of you are aware, I was diagnosed with Endometrial Cancer and underwent surgeries and received extremely aggressive chemotherapy and radiation. By the grace of God, I made it through, but not without severe repercussion. Still, I truly believe all the prayers helped me through my journey.

Throughout the process medical bills soared into the millions. Each of your generous and kind donations were the means that helped my family survive. Eventually, an end of the cancer was in sight. Then all of the side effects of the chemo and radiation started.

But I was alive, and I had an army fighting with me and I was going to deal with it. Then it happened, I received the call that our house was on fire. That feeling was actually worse than hearing the “C” word. Because, not only was this new devastation was something I’d have to endure, but now my family members were suffering. We’d lost everything—our fur babies, clothing, memories, and suddenly we were homeless. All we had were the clothes on our backs.

We lived in a hotel for four months. Tyler slept on a pullout couch in hotel room while finishing his junior year of high school. We made it, though, and again, we pulled through as a family. We sucked up all the pain, leaned on each other, and came out the other side. I applied for disability but was denied. The same for other assistance.

After those four long months we finally secured a house. It was a house that needed a lot of backbreaking work before it was a livable structure, but it was a house and not a hotel room.

We worked on the house for months. John, my husband who worked 12-hour shifts, left the hotel for work each morning at 4:30 a.m. When his day was done, he came to get me and we worked on the house until 10 p.m.

In the meantime, neuropathy in my feet and legs had become unbearable, to the point where I couldn’t walk at times. We still moved forward. Unfortunately, the little money we had for repairs ran out long before the work was done.

The day finally came where we had to move out of the hotel and into the house. There were no floors or walls in a couple of the rooms, and when I say no floors, I mean that the ground below was visible. There was no working tub, and the list goes on. But we made it and have since installed both floors and walls, thankfully.

We consider ourselves blessed to have a roof over our heads, but we’re living without heat. There is no heating system in the house. We have a couple of electric space heaters, but it’s cold. We made do without air conditioning last summer in southern N.C. But the wintertime cold causes my neuropathy act up so very bad. The pain is excruciating.

Recently, I saw my endocrinologist who informed me that a thyroid nodule they’d wanted to remove before my cancer diagnosis had grown substantially since I stopped chemo. It had wrapped around my esophagus and windpipe. Surgery was scheduled for the 24th of November. During this time my husband was laid off from his job at a company who makes parts for GM. Therefore, when the workers of GM went on strike there was no demand for car parts. His unemployment caused us to go further into debt that we were already drowning in.

As my luck would have it, soon after John was laid off my car broke down while on the way to a medical appointment. My used car wouldn’t budge and I’d only had it barely a year. The transmission was shot. It’s now parked in our yard.

I decided that, after shedding many tears, I would use Tyler’s car, a car with 253,000 miles on it, to get me back and forth to medical appointments. My doctor’s office and other appointments are an hour’s drive one way to my Dr appointments. It wasn’t pretty but it did the job, until a week before my surgery date.

On November 16, Tyler, my son, was involved in a pretty serious car crash. The subsequent phone call was the call that brought me to my knees. It was the call no parent ever wants to receive. Cancer, fire, surgery, chemo, radiation, losing my doggies, none of that held a candle to the thought Tyler may be hurt.

Thankfully, Tyler and his friend walked away with a few bumps and bruises, but they were safe. His car was not. It’s totaled.

Currently, we are living day to day. We may have dinner tonight or we may not. The lights and water may be on tomorrow, or not. It’s shameful to have to admit these things. I feel like a failure as a parent. I’m tired, I’m embarrassed, and I’m an emotional wreck.

I sit here today with a cut across my throat from surgery, worrying about if I will be able to see the doctor for my post op visit because we don’t have the co-pay. John has finally gone back to work but has to take off to get me to see the doctor. I hate to reach out to all of you again, but I need help, please.

I hope y’all can find it in your heart to help us. Thank you.

With love,


To help, please go to:


Last Friday our daughter’s home caught fire and was destroyed—the structure along with all of their belongings. Everything. They’ve also lost their two beloved dogs who were inside when the fire started. Fortunately my daughter’s family was not at home at the time the fire started.

Denene and I left home to be with them as soon as we tossed a few things into suitcases. We arrived there around 2 a.m. Saturday morning. I sat up with Ellen until after 4.

Many of you know that Ellen (our daughter, has suffered from serious cancer and
subsequent surgeries, chemo, and radiation during the past year. This is simply devastating. They had very little before the fire and now they have nothing.
Absolutely nothing. Even her expensive medications were destroyed, along with the wigs and hats she’d purchased after chemo caused her to lose her hair. And, the signed books, her cherished Kindle, and other gifts sent to her by each of you during her cancer treatments … are gone.

Tyler’s medal, trophies, and awards are gone. His clothing and shoes, gone.

TV’s and computers and tablets and X-boxes and games, gone. His wrestling gear and other prized possessions are no more.

Ellen’s husband’s clothing and work shoes are small mounds of charred ash.

Their fish tank and fish. Appliances … melted. In fact, the fire was so hot it melted the siding on their neighbor’s home, and it’s not very close.

But the biggest loss of all, to them, was the loss of their four-legged babies, their cherished dogs. Tyler tried to enter the fully-engulfed home to rescue the dogs but was tackled and pulled away by firefighters who, by the way, did go inside to complete the rescue. They performed CPR on both dogs but were unable to revive them.

So kind thoughts, well-wishes, and prayers, if you’re so inclined to do so, are much

Please, if you can. They need you! No amount is too small.


I desperately need your help. My sweet daughter, Ellen, has cancer.

Most of you know me and those of you who do understand that I am a private person. I’m not one to discuss my personal life. Nor am I someone who typically asks others for help. That’s just not me.

So for me to come to you today and during these past few weeks is truly unusual, and if there could be any other means, believe me, I’d opt for the alternative.

Unfortunately, the alternatives are no longer.

Ellen had been experiencing serious health issues and doctors simply blew them off as other things until one day a few weeks ago she went to yet another doctor to see if he could help. Well, within minutes into his exam he rushed her into emergency surgery to deal with a tumor the size of a golf ball. The tumor was causing a great deal of hemorrhaging and intense pain due to its location, size, and the fact that it had by this time grown into surrounding muscle. This doctor removed as much of the tumor as he could, at the time. Any other doctor who’d have bothered to take a look should’ve seen the same.

Two weeks later, Ellen had a second surgery. This operation was performed by a well-respected oncologist. Even I like her, and that says a lot because I’m picky about doctors who perform life-saving procedures. Not to mention that Denene has been involved in the medical field for quite a while, managing hospital labs, directed a med tech program at colleges and universities, and she’s served as senior director of biotech companies where she and her teams developed drugs that received FDA approval and are now on the market. She knows her field.

Currently, Denene is a professor at a medical university and has access to a plethora of top specialists who kindly examine the reports we receive regarding Ellen (and my mother-in-law who is now receiving chemo after major cancer surgery a few weeks ago). So yes, we have all the confidence possible in the two doctors/surgeons.

Ellen’s second surgery was a success in that the tumor is now gone. However, the surgeon elected to biopsy a few lymph nodes from other locations, as a precaution. Unfortunately, there was a positive result near the aorta. More cancer, and the fight just became an all-out battle.

Without going into a lot of personal details, let me simply say this—Ellen, who most of you know indirectly through the Writers’ Police Academy (she’s the poor soul tasked each year with contacting each of you for raffle and auction donations), and, you know her through Tyler, her son/our grandson, the champion wrestler—needs financial assistance. Her family, like others facing similar situations, simply cannot make ends meet while facing huge medical bills that are piling up daily. Then there’s travel to and from the treatments (1.5 hours each way).

Ellen’s husband, John, must take time off from work (he works night shift, 12 hours per night) to drive her to appointments and treatments, or to help her when needed at home. His employer does not pay him when he’s not at work. Sick leave and vacation time are long gone. Chemo (aggressive) begins tomorrow followed by daily radiation for four-six weeks, and then another round of chemo. Doctors will then have a look to see if what they’re doing is working/helping.

Their son, Tyler, is a 15-year-old champion wrestler whose hope is to make it to the Olympics and to wrestle at a fantastic college. He already has colleges looking at him and an Olympic coach has offered to take him under his wing to train him. It’s no secret that it takes money to support school kids/teens, and it takes even more when your dream is help your kids achieve theirs.

For now, though …

Ellen’s first and very brief and extremely tiring outing after surgery was to see Tyler wrestle his first high school meet of the season. So Denene and I took her.

Tyler won his match in spite of wrestling in a heavier weight class than his own, and against a much larger and older opponent. The same was true for the rest of his matches … all taller, heavier, and older competitors.

Denene and I had to leave to catch our flight back home, but John took Ellen back to the tournament later in the day to see the last match.

Tyler was determined to win the entire tournament for his mom, and he did, besting every single opponent throughout the day. I saw some of the young men he faced and they were huge.

When he pinned the last one, a top state contender, Tyler leapt to his feet and yelled for his mom at the top of his lungs and then after spotting her, ran to Ellen to plant a kiss on her cheek (above photo). That young man is amazing!

Right now, we have a few dreams and goals:

1. To see Ellen healthy and cancer free.

2. To ease Ellen’s mind (and the minds of her family members) regarding mounting medical bills and expenses.

3. Repair their vehicle which may make it to doctors’ appointments, or it may not. The latter has already occurred once. They need proper transportation.

4. Make certain Ellen has prescribed medicine (she is also diabetic).

5. Heat, water, electricity, clothing, medical supplies, food, school supplies and expenses, tournament fees (Tyler still must continue as a student and athlete, etc.). It’s important for him to have some sort of normalcy in his life.

6. Hair loss – wigs are important!

Ellen’s hair is gone, sadly, but it’s a bump in the road. The majority of the cost of her first wig (she’ll need to wear one for at least one year) was donated by a foundation at the oncology center. The next will be at her expense.

Here she is last week after receiving the first wig.

Remember, Ellen’s husband must take off work to drive her to appointments. They have no family or friends in the area having recently moved there. Actually, other than us and a step-sister, we’re her total support system outside the hospital. And, we’re in California and her step-sister lives three-hours away. Therefore, we’ve been making the trip as often as possible coming home for a few days at a time. But Denene has a job, too, and she must be there. Fortunately, her schedule is a bit flexible. However, flying coast-to-coast every two or three weeks, hotels, rental cars, etc., are taking a heavy toll on us as well.

I could go on, but you get the picture and it is grim. Denene and I do what we can and one of those things, in addition to financial support, is to turn to you for help. Several of you have already donated and those dollars are very much appreciated. You just don’t know how much it means to me.

As I said in an earlier post, all her life, I’ve tried my best to handle the woes, small and large, that came Ellen’s way. From bee stings, scrapes and scratches, to sports injuries and dumb luck and more. I’ve tried to be there. Fix things. That’s my job.

A young and proud undercover cop holds his precious baby girl.

This time, I’ve failed her when she needs me the most. I can’t fix cancer. I would if I could. I would also, without reservation or hesitation, change places with her. Can’t do that, either.

Anyway, I could ramble on and on and beg and beg, but it boils down to this, if you can and are able, please, please, please help me help my little girl. I simply cannot bear to see her hurt, physically and/or emotionally. I’m actually wiping away tears as I type this so please excuse typos and other errors. This is tough for me.

She’s my little girl. Always will be.

Thank you for anything you can do. No amount is too small or too large.

Again, thank you!

Please go here to donate. Please …