Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
We are sure this will come as a surprise to many, but our feisty friend, Lillian, was recently diagnosed with a rare and very aggressive form of cancer, Neuroendocrine or NET and each nuance we learn of her condition funnels it further down the spectrum of rarity, even for NET. While she is not yet even 40, athletic, fit, cooks at home, has never smoked, and always takes her vitamins, cancer has decided to pick a fight with her.
In Lillian's case, cancer appears to have started in her lung before metastasizing to her lymph nodes, ovary, and brain so in the simplest of terms she has stage 4 lung cancer. We are waiting on the PET scan results which should tell us any other areas of involvement.
To add insult to injury, this comes at a time when the entire world, and specifically our medical community, has been brought to its knees by the global, respiratory pandemic COVID-19 that is crippling the resources she needs to fight this diagnosis both physically and emotionally.
Medical facilities are reduced to skeleton crews and medical staff members are all fighting fights of their own. Experimental treatment options that would otherwise be available are shut down at the national level due to fear of contaminating results and endangering patient lives. Every trip Lillian makes to the hospital (sometimes multiple times a day!) puts her at greater risk of catching the virus herself and she is already the epitome of the risk factor ‘underlying health condition’.
But worse than all of that, she is completely cut off from the many friends and family that love her. Shelter-in-place means no gathering with her volleyball crew or law school friends. She can't have a girls’ night out. She can’t even a quiet dinner at home her closest friends or family. There may be no worse time in modern history to go through this kind of hardship.
Through all of this, though, she remains strong and fierce and obstinate; all the things you would expect from her. And while she certainly goes through moments of rage and hopelessness and bewilderment, she also rolls out of bed every morning at 6 am, turns on her laptop, and goes to work improving the lives of others…just like the rest of us but with a crippling cough, a swelling brain, and an unanswerable but corrosive question, “Why me? Why is my body turning against me?”
Our hopes for this page:
· Better distribution of information:
Early on we were good about getting information out to various pockets of friends and family. But as more and more details arise it has become overwhelming to keep up. Specifics grow vaguer with each message and people get inadvertently left out of the loop.
· People want to know how to help:
Lillian has such amazing friends, family, and colleagues and so many of you want to know you can help. But without some way to funnel information and strategize, the requests become overwhelming and it’s easier to just say "Thanks but no thanks" when we really do need the help. With the resources this page provides, though, we hope to be able to actually ask for the help we need.
· We want Lillian to see the support network she has when she needs it most:
One of the most important parts of processing this harsh reality is finding opportunities to detach from it for a few minutes to groom the dog, binge some Netflix, or take a nap to recover a little before facing it all again. But with so many reaching out to check-in, offer a hand, or ask for an update those moments rarely last and every update she gives forces her to wrestle with all of those emotions again whether she's ready to or not. It's hard to fully appreciate a warm message when it comes at the cost of facing your own mortality.
Through this site, we hope to focus those updates and well wishes so that she can update when new information comes in and consume the good feeling when she needs them most.
· Sharing Lillian and sharing WITH Lillian:
As we add our stories and pictures, discuss what she means to us, recall the good and bad times that build our relationships it will help her see herself through our eyes so that she can continue to find the strength to fight this thing and win. Her mind is so full of medication schedules, survival rates, medical bills, and fear that she needs US to be her memories and give her reasons to keep kicking and screaming and clawing her way through this time.
So please help us push the isolation that his virus has cast on us aside and bring to light the love, friendship, and support that Lillian has all around her. If you'd like to leave a message for Lillian, click the "Well Wishes" link in the ribbon above or go to: https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/lillianwafford/guestbook
If you would like to contribute to the mounting medical expenses, you can access a GoFundMe account that we've set up for her by clicking "Ways to Help" above or go to: https://www.gofundme.com/f/lillian-wafford039s-cancer-treatment?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link-tip&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet
Donating through the "Donate to CaringBridge" link will not go to Lillian but rather to the company that hosts this page. By all means, feel free to donate to them, but those funds will no go to Lillian.