What a whirlwind the last two and a half months have been! Since finding out on March 19th that I had Stage 2 Breast Cancer, I have undergone a myriad of tests and procedures, including a successful lumpectomy and removal of seven lymph nodes, and two weeks of hormone injections with an egg extraction, and a port placement. I was hoping to only have to do six weeks of radiation, but upon further testing of my lymph nodes the cancer had spread, so I am undergoing an aggressive five months of chemo, followed by six weeks of radiation. The prognosis after this course of treatment is a CURE! I'm not going anywhere!
My chemotherapy began on May 17th in Boise, and will be every other week for two months, and then weekly for the next three months. My goal and hope was to be able to come up to Ketchum on my recovery weeks and teach and keep the store open. I have made it through two treatments, and have healed enough from my port placement to try to start playing and teaching again. So far it seems like I will have enough energy to come up for a few days on my recovery weeks, so I will be sending out a tentative schedule, which could change due to my white blood count, energy level, and overall health. Teaching and playing music is the best thing for my mental and emotional health - it brings me so much joy! So I am going to continue working as long as I am able. When my chemo switches to weekly treatments on July 12th, I will update the schedule once I see how I respond. In the meantime, please take as many lessons with Brad and purchase all your musical needs from 5B Music Company so I can have a job when I come back. The way our community has risen up to support me has given me so much strength and hope, and I plan on coming straight back to living in the Wood River valley full time as soon as I am able!
My family has been an incredible support network during my treatment in Boise. I am staying with my mom Amy Jo and step dad Tim in Robie Creek, and they are treating me like a queen! It is a beautiful mountain oasis, but there is no cell service and limited internet access. It's basically camping with a permanent structure. So the best way to communicate with me is actually through Facebook Messenger because I can consistently check it even if the internet is slow. They have a landline, but I can only make outgoing calls to Boise, but you are welcome to call 208-344-5084 if you want to chat! I love getting all your messages and videos and updates, even if I don't have the energy to respond right away. I have started a CaringBridge website for updates, so I can keep you all informed. https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/alyssajoyclaffey
Your kindness, support, prayers, patience, and understanding over the last two and a half months have been instrumental in helping me maintain a positive attitude and hope for the future. I will be sending out an email to get your summer lessons scheduled. Also look for announcements about group classes and rock band camp opportunities!
What you can do to help:
1. Send lots of videos of students playing - music keeps me going!
2. Keep practicing! (And yes I'm pulling a cancer card to advocate for practicing!!)
3. Take lessons with Brad in my absence to keep the store open! I am so grateful that my cancer won't be getting in the way of learning.
4. Sign up for one of the group classes and/or camps we will be offering in July and August!
5. Stop by the store on Saturdays when we are open from 10-4 and pick out an instrument or some accessories!
Thank you so much for everything, I have been overwhelmed by the love and support. Keep in touch and I'll let you know what days I am going to be in town so you can come visit me!