Journal entry by Donna Mathwig

Whew. The whirlwind of tests, procedures, and scheduling culminated in my first chemo treatment of TCHP (Taxotere-Carboplatin-Herception-Perjeta) is done. Monday was a long day, but I had the help of my daughter, Megan, to completely saturate my scalp in preparation for the DigniCap (37-degree cooling cap) in hopes of preserving some/much of my hair. The cap remains in place for about six hours, or the time of the chemo dosing. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be able to utilize this relatively new-ish, (though spendy) technology - thanks to those who are helping to make it happen. 

Megan also brought lunch from across the street, My Father's Kitchen, which is Vietnamese comfort food - which accomplished its mission. Nothing like a steaming bowl of pho when your head is freezing. 

Several people were curious how I tolerated the 37-degrees - it's relatively simple if you consider that I'm a woman of a certain age familiar with hot flashes. 

We arrived home last night, and I'm feeling pretty good. The Neulasta dosing last night is expected to result in bone pain, but I'm trying to keep ahead of that with meds. Neulasta is intended as "a colony-stimulating factor, a man-made form of a protein that stimulates the growth of white blood cells, used to decrease the incidence of infection, by treating neutropenia, a lack of certain white blood cells caused by receiving cancer chemotherapy". 
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Journal entry by Kelsey Mathwig

This week has been one long string of tests. The amazing team at UCSF are gathering as much information about my moms cancer as possible so that they can treat her as effectively as possible. Bilateral mammogram, echocardiogram, PET CT oh my!! It's been a whirlwind. A scary, busy, wonderful, hope filled whirlwind. 

Today is when her port is being placed. This is how they'll administer her chemotherapy. Her first round of chemo happens this Monday! 

Below is a picture of one of moms favorite people at UCSF. This is Erika. She is a nuclear medicine tech, an amazingly comforting & compassionate presence, and a new friend. She has been such a supportive and calming presence as my mom has gone through the extensive (and often anxiety inducing) testing process. So of course, even though most of my family has never met Erika, we all love her and are so grateful to her! 

We'll keep you all updated as things continue! 

Much love, 

Journal entry by Kelsey Mathwig

As my mom prepares for the week ahead, she asked me to share these words with you all. She will be going through many tests and receiving her port so that chemo can begin soon. Keep her in your hearts this week and don't hesitate to reach out with words of encouragement as she takes these first steps in the process. Thank you all. <3

“It’s a BIG week of tests and the port placement on Friday - it’s getting so real, this new season of walking through the darkness - which, coincidentally feels so very Lenten apropos, if you’re into that space.

Pardon me a moment of raw vulnerability. In the midst of this chapter, I’m deeply needing peace. Calm is not my middle name, and all the thoughts of ‘what if’ and ‘it’s all gonna be bad’ are flooding my brain on steroids right now.

A quote from tonight’s 3rd Sunday of Lent:
“...a necessary and not-so-comfortable waiting for something new”

Pray. Hope. Plead. Believe.
That all will ultimately be well - even though it’s a tough road ahead.

I have so much gratitude for the sacrifice of your time, thoughts, and hope of my behalf. -Donna"
Donna’s Story

Site created on March 3, 2018

For the past 25 years, Donna has devoted her life to caring for those in crisis situations. We have watched her work tirelessly and selflessly to ensure that the local non-profit she runs is able to provide much needed care to local families. So much of her life has been devoted to caring for others, and now it's time for us to care for her.

With the sudden discovery and diagnosis of breast cancer, it has become clear that treatments will need to begin as soon as possible. She will be receiving care at UCSF with the help of an incredible team. She is hoping to approach this with a complimentary model of care, incorporating various dietary changes, supplements, and other alternative treatments alongside the chemo, surgery, and radiation. 

This website is the main avenue through which we will keep everyone updated. Additionally, this is where you'll find potential ways to help out as we navigate this new chapter. Much love and many thanks to all who are supporting our family along the way. 

**Please note: If you would like to contribute monetarily, you can do so by navigating to the "Ways to Help" section and clicking on the GoFundMe page. That money goes directly to our moms care. (If you click on the "Tribute" button and donate there, that money goes to the CaringBridge company. We had someone mention that they were confused by that so we wanted to clear that up.)