The question was asked, "Who was Tom Wieser to me?" Here is my answer...
please take a few moments to reflect on this and share your answer. Please post it here so we all can read it together.
When I think back about meeting Tom Wieser for the first time, I quickly remember that I did not meet Tom Wieser first. I met his daughter, Emily. Emily was a volunteer working in the Spa at Camp Challenge. Emily was massaging my feet when I began to ask her about her motives for giving up a perfectly good weekend to help a bunch of sick people. Emily was shy and did not really say much about who she was. Emily had a very powerful spirit and it was apparent that she was connected to this battle in a very intimate way. Later I would learn the reason for the magic sparkle in her smile... and the wisdom in each step she took. Indeed she was deeply committed to the cause.
I spent the weekend asking people about Tom, listening to the description of this man I wanted to meet. It was not until Saturday night that I was able to understand the significance of this person, and the role he would ultimately play in my survival. I watched Tom speak that night at Camp Challenge during the Scroll Ceremony and I was instantly transformed. I did not know it at the time, but I would never be the same again. I was forever"¦ changed.
Tom carried a heavy burden, although one could never have guessed it. With an infectious smile and contagious optimism, Tom had a way of touching the soul of every person he met. He carried with him the confidence of a man who knew what his purpose was, and was intent upon reaching his destination. Tom wanted to change the way the world experienced cancer by bringing JOY into the lives of the cancer patients (and their families).
I realized the moment I met Tom Wieser that he was intimately connected to a greater universe... And that Tom represented this new population that I was now a part of. Tom gave a voice, and a name, and a face, to anyone who had ever been abandoned by optimism. He became a conqueror and a champion to everyone who had been labeled "non "“curative", or "terminal". Tom looked at odds and saw opportunity.
Tom represented the ultimate underdog. He was David to our Goliath.
Tom looked cancer in the eye and laughed, saying "You can't win. You can't beat me. I won't allow you to have my spirit. And I won't let you have my body without the fight of your life".
Tom's determination to beat cancer gave the rest of us the courage to stand up and fight. We, the cancer patients, who had felt defeated and hopeless were able to experience a quickening of the heart.. And we were healed of despair. In that, we were given the opportunity to ask the questions that began with the words, "What if"¦?" We were able to ponder the future once again.
As this man continued to live, and victoriously battle cancer even after being given a death sentence, we began to believe. Tom simply refused to die. For 9 years after hearing the word, terminal, Tom thrived in the face of hopelessness. Tom said, "If I can do it, so can you". So we did.
And we still do believe. We will continue to fight and move mountains to find a cure so that Tom's courage, faith and passions for life are memorialized.
Tom Wieser became, and always will be to me, "The Face of Hope".
This is the moment when we realize that all we have is the memory of the experiences that changed who we were... the moments that Tom touched us so intimately, and personally that he left an indelible mark on our soul.
For those of us who have been changed forever by Tom Wieser... we demand the world to pause in recognition of who you are to each of us. And we take this time to honor you, just as you honored each of us during your life.
We celebrate you and continue to work to bring your family out of the financial devastation this disease brought upon them. We may not have been able to find a cure in time to keep you here... but we can continue to work to spare your beautiful family from the consequences from a life ravaged by cancer.
We continue to donate and contribute whatever we can to honor your memory. We will not rest until your family is fully provided for... and imagine that you are smiling in heaven knowing that your loved ones are being held up in reverence the way you held up so many of us during your time here on Earth.
Each of us can give $1, $5, or $10... not a mighty amount by the judgment of a King. But together we move mountains by the mighty name of our Lord God.. and we lift up the family of this disciple of God who we came to know by the name of Tom Wieser. Together, are stronger than cancer.
Join me in the continued effort to rid this family of debt. They have suffered for a decade as they fought to find a cure for this disease. It is time to end the suffering once and for all.
Please join me in donating. Each of us can afford to give $1, $5 or $10. No amount is too small. Collectively... we change the world for this family.
All we have left is each other... and the Hope that Tom's inspiration will result in a cure for cancer that will someday save you or I... bringing this circle of life to it's completion.
We are family. We are... Team Wieser.
In Faith, Hope, Love and Determination...
Fellow Cancer Survivor
Fellow Velveteen Rabbit
World's biggest fan of Tom Wieser
The email I never wanted to send and the email you never wanted to receive. Tom passed away at 2:30 this afternoon in our family room surrounded by myself, Emily, Tommy, Allie, Timmy and our dog Summer. Tom's parents were also here. Tom was not in pain. He was talking and smiling up until a few minutes before he went home to Jesus.
I will send out another email by mid week with arrangement times. We plan on a rosary one night and a mass and reception the following day. My only request right now is for prayers for my children.
At the mass, NO ONE WILL BE ALLOWED IN THAT IS IN BLACK OR DRESSED FANCY. You can only come to Tom's celebration of life if you wear a jersey or something special that reminds you of my Tom. NO BLACK ALLOWED!
As we sit in silence longing to be with Tom, Heidi and the family.. perhaps each of us can take a moment to post a loving thought to the family via this website. While we may not hear from them daily, they do read every post.
If you have not donated, please consider contributing a small donation to help cover the catastrophic expenses incurred during the last nearly decade of Tom's battle with Cancer. As I have said before, no amount is too small. If 100 of us give $10 each... well you can do the math. It all helps.
Bless you for all of your love, support and encouragement of this family. Without you, this would have been an incredibly lonely journey for Tom and Heidi. Every word written is carefully read and pondered upon by the Wieser family.
God bless you and your loved ones as we continue to rid the world of this dreadful disease. Thank you again for all of your love.
Tom's Prayer Tree update from Heidi Wieser on May 9th:
Dear Friends and Family,
Tom has been on hospice now for ten days. They have been helpful but the best thing happened last night. Tommy got home from taking all of his finals in Tucson. All six of us are now under one roof and Tom knows it. God is good. I no longer have to stay awake even longer at night to think about all the what ifs? All is right with the world when the six of us are together. As I sit and type right now, the boys are upstairs playing together and the girls are chuckling together downstairs in the family room while Tom continues to rest on the recliner. I cannot ask for more. Emily never went back to Tucson. She decided not to walk for her graduation from the University of Arizona. A very selfless act for a girl of only 22 years old. Emily has been an amazing help with Tom. All five feet two inches of her has helped me walk him, put him in the car, and in his wheelchair. She is a dynamo. I am sad she is missing her graduation today and tomorrow, but am so proud when I look in er beautiful brown eyes and know she made the best choice for her.
Hospice has delivered us a hospital bed with a waffle mattress to prevent bed sores. Tom is not a big fan of this bed. The last four nights Tom has chosen to sleep in the recliner in the family room. We are actually happy about this because there is more activity through this room. The phone rings, the children come running through, and it is attached to the kitchen where he can hear us eating our meals. We open the blinds and let the sun shine in.
Tom has not eaten any real food for over two weeks. He does enjoy his cold ice water. We got sippy cups with straws and Tom can use these cups himself. We try to foster as much independence for him as we can. He remains on five liters of oxygen at all times and still gets short of breath. His coughing fits have decreased dramatically. Tom's liver is shutting down. He remains very yellow. Tom is VERY swollen and his poor feet and legs are so tender and tight. He will get a catheter for his urine tomorrow as it is just too hard and painful for him to walk, even though we use his wheelchair to get him from his chair to the bathroom. He is not in too much pain. He is still so stinkin' cute. He rambles most of the day. This will come as no surprise"”much of his rambling involves sports.
Tom is orientated about 25% of the day. The children and I will sit and listen to him and hold his hand. We love him so dearly. We give his 'bed baths'. Emily found some no rinse shampoo today and Tom said it was "refreshing". So cute :) We are not doing anymore lab work. Tom is not taking his blood thinner any longer because it has become too hard to monitor his INR and his liver is not helping the matter.
Thank you for all your continued support and endless prayers. This journey has been a long one, one we never would have changed. As we prepare for this new part of our journey, we know God will be holding us all tightly in the palm of His hand.
Please take this opportunity to send Tom and Heidi Wieser a virtual greeting card on this site with a small donation. If ever there was a time this family needed our financial support, it is now.
They also need to hear our words of love and support so they know that we will never, never, never give up on Tom Wieser.
On Wednesday, April 24th, Timmy was playing a freshman baseball game at Oakmont High School. Tom and I did not know that Timmy was expected to start pitching this game. Tom gathered as much strength as he could and although we only had a limited amount of oxygen on his portable tank; off we went to watch the baseball game. Tom's brother Matt was able to borrow the gator that clears the fields after games to transport Tom more smoothly to the field. Once there, we saw the entire game from the top of the second inning. God blessed us with the miracle of Tom at the field and for Timmy to have a fabulous game. He won the game with only two hits off of him. He did great at the plate with a triple. Tom and Timmy were in their glory. I have attached a photo of Tom at the game at the bottom of this prayer tree.
Also, on this Wednesday morning, I awoke with a gut wrenching feeling in my body that I needed to get Emily and Tommy home to see Tom. I spoke with each of them about their school and finals schedule. Emily and Tommy flew into Sacramento late Friday night. This, too, was a blessing from God. I was able to put them on a great flight and upgrade them because of all the generosity given to us through the CureTomWieser website. The PET scan we had on April 23rd showed problems around Tom's heart, fluid in his liver, hemorrhaging into his left lung, and a pleural effusion in his right lung.
We met with the cardiologist on April 25th; the only option he could provide us with for Tom's heart was open heart surgery to remove Tom's entire pericardium. This is not an option for Tom. I prayed so hard to keep Tom awake and strong until the Emily and Tommy arrived late Friday night. Saturday, we were able to wake Tom up enough to walk to the family room and talk with each of the children. This was a powerful and much needed time for all of us. We cried enough tears that afternoon to fill an entire swimming pool. But in typical Wieser style, our four amazing children were able to rally; go get takeout food and the five of us were able to eat and laugh together at the kitchen table that night with Tom sitting in the family room able to hear all of our voices. Home is where family is and our home is perfect! More miracles"¦"¦
Tom is barely eating and only takes small sips of cold ice water. He is VERY weak and needs to be watched at all times as he is not able to know his motor constraints of his body right now. Tom is on five liters of oxygen continuously, which really is not enough. He is still able to swallow his pills for now. Watching our four children suffer like this is more than any of us should ever have to witness and yet in the same breathe; I thank God that all four of them are here and old enough to make these powerful memories with Tom. Tom will be going home to God someday soon and our home at 224 Dove Meadow Court will never be the same. There will be a forever void of the man we call our husband, our Daddy, our best friend, our miracle man. I do not regret anything in our lives. I am honored to have shared the last 33 years of my life with Tom. Blessed and thankful for the four most outstanding children in the world. Hopeful that through our lives and our journey that many others can guide the path to free the world of this horrific disease.
We met with our oncologist today. It was decided amongst the three of us that we will transition to hospice care. Our oncologist said we can always come off of hospice if Tom starts to improve, but for now this is the best decision for Tom. We are working on giving Tom more fluids and increased calories as much as he can tolerate. The miracle that is Tom Wieser shall live forever because of all the amazing lives Tom continues to touch. This is a sacred and special time for the six of us. Tom knows how much he is loved by each of you. Out of respect and protection for Tom, I ask that you allow the six of us the time we need to go through this part of our journey. I know we have shared everything with each of you over the past nine plus years and we are forever grateful for all of your love, support, and prayers. Thank you for honoring and loving all of us so very much. We will meet with our oncologist again next Monday. I will update you as frequently as we have any changes.
In faith and hope,
Tom, Heidi, Emily, Tommy, Allie, and Timmy
Holiday is one of my favorite words. This means the children are home. Holiday means we can all be together under one roof. Life is complete when we are altogether. Holiday means to stop doing the normal every day stuff and take a break. We saw Tom's oncologist today. Many new side effects have been emerging in Tom over the past 2-3 weeks. Side effects is not one of my favorite words as it usually means there is a problem. Well, Tom has many side effects right now. So, many that our oncologist has taken Tom off his chemotherapy and declared it a "treatment holiday." Tom will have a full body PET scan on April 23rd. We will meet with the cardiologist on April 25th. We will have more blood work done at the end of the week. We will meet back with Tom's oncologist on Monday, April 29th.
For all of you who know Tom so well, I do not even have to write out all the crazy side effects and problems he is having. All I have to say is that Tom missed TWO of Timmy's baseball games last week (one is which he was the starting pitcher) and he missed ONE of Allie's soccer games. That my friend's is how bad Tom feels. We are praying that these tests will offer some answers to the side effects and give us some peace of mind. We are still sleeping downstairs. Our wish is to get some answers and provide Tom with a better quality of life. A life where he is able to see Allie and Timmy in their sporting events; a life where we can fly him to see Emily graduate from college May 9th and 10th, a life where he can swim with the family in the pool this summer. We are going to move heaven and earth to make these things happen because for Tom if he does not have this, then he is not living.
Tom and I have decided that I need to be on disability right now so that I can take care of Tom as well as the children without worrying about work. This will be difficult having both of us on disability but we have made it through worse. This is a very scary time for all of us. We have no answers. Tom gets confused at times and it scares all of us. I cannot begin to tell you how many times at night I wake up just to make sure I see his chest wall rising. This is our holiday; our time to love each other just a little bit more. A time for us to cuddle for a few more minutes each night and take more time to talk and laugh with each other. We were able to cuddle in one of the twin beds two nights ago. It was so special even with the oxygen blaring through Tom's nostrils. We felt like we were on a holiday from the world and it was just the two of us, no cancer allowed. I am everything I am today because of Tom. He has inspired so many of us and we are blessed to have him. I pray he is still able to enjoy all of us. I pray he is able to get in the car more often and see all the beauty that life has around us.
Thank you for your continued support and prayers. I will keep you updated as we learn more next week and make more plans to keep Tom alive.
"Hold on I have to breathe" Tom Wieser's words in the kitchen April 9th, 2013 talking with Allie and Heidi. We knew we would get to this spot one day. Breathing is our biggest challenge these past two weeks. Breathing has become harder and more of a luxury for Tom when he can do it on his own, which is not as often as we would like. But Tom is still breathing, so today we celebrate, today we laugh, today we listen to music just a little bit louder and we dance; today we love harder and hug tighter, today we never forget to give butterfly kisses. This is what love and living is all about. Tom is our Christmas joy 365 days of the year. Tom keeps getting more determined. I am in love with him more and more with each passing day. In my dreams and in my heart, I will always see him soar in my life. Tom will have a place in my heart and everywhere I am in my life. Tom's strength is remarkable. A part of Tom Wieser is in each of us.
Tom's most recent chest CT showed some tumors growing, a few stable and a fewer even shrinking. However, since this news is pretty much a wash and with all the side effects Tom has increasingly accumulated over the past two weeks, our oncologist has ordered Tom to go down on his chemo dosage. Not really a good sign, but we will try it for a while and see if it helps us find out why Tom has "fallen off a cliff." We pray dropping the chemo dose will still provide some efficacy. Needless to say, we will not be adding that other chemotherapy at this time. Tom's oncologist said that these side effects are "unacceptable toxicities". He told us Tom needs a "better quality of life". Since Friday night, we have been sleeping back downstairs again. We will not leave any dreams behind. We will make them realities. Tom will continue on disability. I will continue working until it becomes too hard for Tom to care for himself. Tom had an echo of his heart today as it is showing pericardial thickening. We are waiting for those results. We will meet back with our oncologist in two weeks.
It's funny now that we are at this part of our cancer journey, so many ideas and thoughts come flooding into our minds. The simple things are still here and we need to embrace them. We need to hug and kiss more. We need to love each other more. Yet, there are simple things we have realized that we will never do again; like we will never go to Lake Tahoe again as a family, Tom would never be able to breathe at that elevation. Tom can never throw batting practice to Timmy or shag soccer balls with Oceay. These simple life events bring tears to our eyes, so we try to find other amazing gifts we can keep giving each other and to our children. How can I be so scared of losing him and yet feel so grateful for all the great memories we have created together. We will continue to laugh, to cry, to smile, to hug, to love, and to live. As long as Tom continues to tell us to "Hold on I have to breathe", we will wait and we will breathe with him. I watch him breathe. I listen to his beating heart and I fall in love all over again.
An oxygen tank and a wheelchair will be new additions to our daily travels, but not permanent according to Tom! Things are starting to become more tunneled in our goal of a cure for Tom. But we will continue to fight and provide Tom with avenues to feel better and enjoy his life and to help Tom breathe easier. A month from now Emily graduates college and prepares her life for law school. We have ordered Tom's wheelchair. We need a captivating phrase for his new means of transportation, if any of you can help us think of a catchy phrase let us know. Tom is proud and stoic and feels he does not need his oxygen tank while he is out in public. However, it is getting harder and harder for him to ambulate outside our house. Tom wants to get to all of the children's activities, so I am trying to empower his to use the tools he has in front of him to obtain his goal more easily. Just as he taught our children to embrace the tools around them to become better at academics, sports, and being good human beings, I ask Tom to use his oxygen and wheelchair so he can better enjoy the love and beauty that is outside of 224 Dove Meadow Court.
You know what is so cool; none of my children's friends are afraid of Tom or what he looks like or when he gets his coughing fits or when he is tethered to his green oxygen cord all over the downstairs of our house. How cool are these children and how grateful the six of us are that they feel so comfortable around us. It could be so easy to alienate us. Yet, these children have embraced us not just today but throughout the past nine plus years, WOW, you are all part of the miracle that is Tom Wieser.
So, next time you are talking to Tom and he says, "Hold on I have to breath" breath with him, take a moment to love the simple things in life just for a moment; like the simple task of taking a breath.
It has been a while since we have posted a message requesting continued support for Tom Wieser and his family. We know the folks that have donated have been more than generous. You have done more than we ever expected. We are forever grateful to all of you.
That being said, the need is still there to try to reach our goal. Although time has passed, the dollars needed have not diminished. In fact, it is just the opposite. We are still making attempts to garner regional or even national coverage. It is simply a very difficult nut to crack. What looks like an appealing story to all of us involved is met with indifference by those that run news divisions on broadcasts. We are trying but we have yet to succeed.
However, we still need to continue to raise funds. If you have given, and can afford to do so, please give again. If you have passed this story on to others, please remind them again. We can reach our goal but it will take perseverance and as much giving as possible by those that have already given and those that have yet to give.
We know it makes some uncomfortable when we continue to request donations. We remind you why we are doing this: An amazing family continuing to battle an obscene disease and the ridiculous cost of continuing to live and fight it.
This is a good battle. This is an excellent cause. This is why we continue to ask. Please give some more, if you can. Please share some more. We will continue to do our part in attempting to make this a public story.
The Miracle of 2013"¦"¦Please God let it be to keep Tom alive!
Every December we speak all about the Miracle of the birth of Jesus. It has always been my favorite time of year. However, ten days before the day we celebrated the birth of miracles in 2012, Tom was having brain surgery. Where was my miracle? He was lying on that operating table fighting with all the spirit, love, and strength that makes him the Tom Wieser, we all know and love. He is our miracle. The first of the year brought about more miracles as he survived cardiac tamponade and three blood clots in his right leg. Only to turn around two weeks later to have radiation to his brain, so this brings us to my miracle already for 2013. I do not dare ask for more, except one more, small miracle from God (see below).
Tom had a brain MRI about a week ago. It showed no tumors! Tom still has some residual swelling at the area where he received brain radiation. This will take some time to go away. Tom still has occasional headaches. Tom started on oral chemotherapy on February 7th. He takes oral chemotherapy every day for three weeks, then one week off. Tom has already increased his dosage because he wants to WIN! This higher dose has caused Tom extreme fatigue and shortness of breath. His lab work is all fine. His appetite is very low, although he did gain one pound. He has mouth sores and the feeling of paper cuts all along the sides of his tongue. He still uses oxygen while at home. He continues to have these horrible coughing fits which cause his heart rate to go into the 120's. He continues to take his heart medication and Coumadin for his clots. This usually requires twice a week blood tests. We can even go one more dose higher on his current chemotherapy, but we will wait until April to decide whether to go that route or not.
We received the extensive testing of his brain tissue back from Harvard today. Thankfully, we met with our oncologist at UCD today as well. Tom will have one more week on of chemo, then a week off. The off week is when we will do a chest CT scan (Monday, April 1st). This will be a big scan to see whether this treatment is working or not. However, with the detailed report we received today, we are blessed to know we have one more bullet in our arsenal to fight against this war of cancer riddled in Tom's body. Tom tested positive for a genomic abnormality in his brain tumor tissue with only one FDA approved drug. It is the one he is already on. There is a backup chemotherapy we can use to battle this as well. It is FDA approved and he tested positive for it but it the drug is given to other kinds of cancers that Tom does not have. Depending on the chest CT results, we could potentially put Tom on both of these oral chemotherapies. WIESER TRIAL #2"¦"¦now these two chemotherapies have never been used in combination on a human before. But in typical Tom Wieser style, he says, "bring it on!" Why? (Here comes our miracle for 2013"¦"¦) because Tom wants to be alive and well enough to travel to Tucson on May 8th to see Emily graduate from college.
So, as much as my miracle for 2013 is to be able to lie under our Christmas tree for just one more blessed Christmas season, to watch It's A Wonderful Life and Charlie Brown's Christmas, what I pray for more, is that Tom is well enough to travel and enjoy watching Emily walk for her college graduation. This is the miracle of 2013! Now, I recently informed Tom that this trip would require him in a wheelchair. Yes, I know you already know his response. However, we decided that this precious weekend and family gathering in Tucson in May is about Emily. It is about all the amazing accomplishments she has completed over the past 9 years of her Dad battling this horrible disease. About Emily being the oldest of four fabulous children and setting the stage for a life filled with wonderment and excitement. I plan to bling out Tom's wheelchair with all Arizona colors and Emily stuff. It will be a miracle to witness and be a part of the six of us celebrating Emily and celebrating our everyday miracles we call life with cancer.
As much as I love Christmas time, I have decided I need to find miracles in every day, all throughout the year. Even if it is just the miracle that I got the washed folded after a crazy night at work. Or that Tom took one less pain pill for a day. These are our blessings and our miracles. March 18th, I was working; Timmy had a freshman baseball game at Oakmont High School that Tom was able to watch. I got a text message telling me from Tom that watching that "game was a gift from God." Tom loves his baseball, he loves helping coach those boys, he loves his family and his friends, and he loves living. Miracles happen all around us and we will honor and be thankful for each and every one of them. Big or small, we are thankful for each of our daily miracles. We meet with our oncologist next on Monday, April 8th.
Tom writing...always feel like I need to specify who is talking as a couple of us have access to send you all updates and for good reason. I just wanted to share some good news, at least to Heidi and me. For the past three nights I have been able to sleep upstairs and in my own bed without the need of oxygen!
Now for some of you, this may sound relatively mundane. For the two of us, it is an indescribable pleasure to be back in our own bed. Just having your own sheets, our own pillows, and of course room for the dog to climb between the two of us is just a blessing.
Thursday morning as I was still in slumber I was surprised when I felt Heidi place two fingers into my hand - as if we were gently holding hands. You can imagine my surprise when as I gently gave a loving squeeze to the fingers, I felt the retreat of what was actually a paw from my dog. I guess it was her way of saying she was glad to be back in the big bed too. The nights on the trundle bed were a struggle...and as for those awful plastic things at the hospital...I think I would prefer a bed of nails!
Life is still moving along. The current therapy seems to be hitting me pretty hard with fatigue, and it may be causing me some loss of appetite. Honestly I eat so many crazy pills these days - thinning my blood, controlling my heart rate, hopefully killing my cancer...I don't know who to call the honest culprit. But I need to do something...I've dropped from a light heavy weight to a middle weight in the past two months...I need to get some pounds back on.
But of all the pills I have, I am most impressed with Xanax for anxiety. Every time I need to take one, and yes it is a little yellow pill, I hear Mick Jagger singing in my head "she goes running for the shelter of her mother's little helper and it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day" Doctor please, some more of these...oh yeah!
I still have my bad coughing days and am hoping someone will invent a little vacuum to run down my throat and remove the flem that I fight with so much when they strike...it is very, very tiring to cough for hours at a time. I end each episode too tired to eat, to move, to do much else other than hope that there is something stimulating on television to keep me from becoming permanently one with the couch.
As always, thanks for your prayers and wishes for me and my family. I will keep moving down my path trying to reach the top of this mountain and looking forward to the view. One thing is for certain...this climb has been high enough that once I get to the top I will be able to see you all clearly, and you will know I am there as I will have both hands showing the universal sign for I love you, because I do.
HI all! I just wanted to drop a hello to all of you and let you know how things are going. I am officially recovered from my Gamma Knife - which means I will stand under the shower water and not worry about getting the 4 new holes in my head wet. My parents have been my surrogate nurses for me the past week or so, as Heidi and Emily did a world wind tour of Chicago and (gulp) Boston to see some of the schools that have accepted her to Law School. Our good friend Tara Web made the trip to Chicago not only ridiculously affordable by setting them up with a fantastic place to stay at no charge that included massages for each of them too...not even I can top that and that HAS to give Chicago a slight edge in choices to study law! Boston was beautiful, but has turned into a bit of a nightmare with the blizzard. They are both struggling to get home but did get to visit 4 schools that she has her eyes set on. It has come at a cost of at least one more night in Boston until they can get flights, and prayers they are not bumped or pulled from the frail connections and flights they are currently allocated.
As for me, I am hanging in there. I have started a new chemotherapy - Stivarga - by Bayer and am hopeful as it targets numerous pathways that I have tested positive for in the past. As I said in the Tucson article, I'm still swinging and looking to knock this sucker out with one loud crack of the bat!
My spirits are fair and I am honest enough to admit that; they are just fair. The recovery from the radiation and surgery are proving I am no spring chicken anymore, and it is a bit disheartening, but I am trying to cling to the nicer things in life. I am hit with many blood draws these days, and doctors appointments, and MRI's and CT's and ER visits, and phone calls with insurance companies, my human resources department and of course - since I live in California - I have to deal with EDD...the states version of disability. Every time I spend my 30 minutes on hold I have to laugh at those who so willingly and blindly charged towards Obama care as the panacea to our health care issues...and that's not to say that it doesn't have some excellent virtues to it...but as for the execution...good luck folks.
Enough negative, that's just the insanity I am dealing with right now. I try to laugh that I went on disability after 9 years of trying not hold off to finally relax and take time for myself...my reward has been more stress than I ever dealt with at work. How's that for a kick in the pants?
So that's where I am at today. My #1 request to each of you is the simplest I can make...please spend 30 seconds of your day thinking of my family and me and ask God, Allah, Buddha, or the golden calf of your choice for some peace and healing for my clan. If my path is to walk with a heavy cross I will attempt to bear it with grace...I find no reason I need to have my wife and children feel this pain as well.
You people are the colors in my Crayon box and I color my world with thoughts of you daily. I hope this message finds you all well and that 2013 will be the year of the miracle!
Tom has a new theme song: Mad Mission by Patty Griffin.
We have entered a new phase of Tom's cancer. We are not giving up, not ever, but with all that has happened to his body over the past month, this has caused the six of us along with all of Tom's fabulous doctors to re-evaluate where we are at and what our goal is with Tom. Tom did great after the brain surgery for the tumor in his left frontal lobe. The brain is the sanctuary site with metastatic cancer. Once it crosses into the brain, there are much fewer options. However, then came the New Year, which plagued Tom's body with half a liter of fluid around his heart, 3 blood clots in his right leg, and leaving him somewhat oxygen dependent for who knows how long. The results from the fluid around his heart showed no cancer cells, but per our oncologist this is only 60% accurate, so there is still a 40% chance there are cancer cells in his heart that we just cannot see right now. Tom will still not nor ever surrender to this terrible disease. Tom and I sleep downstairs as he can not go upstairs yet. We sleep on two twin pullout beds. It is rather fun! We feel like Rob and Laura Petry from the Dick Van Dyke Show. It is always easy to find Tom around the house, all you have to do is follow the bright green oxygen cord, and voila, there he is!
Tom's cancer in his body is on a Mad Mission to take him out, to defeat him, to crumple his spirits, to keep him from watching his children grow and achieve great things. So he found this song and per the lyrics, he has decided to "sign up" for this new chapter of his disease. Bring on this new Mad Mission of his cancer. Where most people would roll over and throw in the white towel, not our Tom, nope, he stands even taller and more committed to fighting for that one miracle. Tom is a strong headed and determined man. It took a lot of courage and strength to get to this point but Tom has decided to go on disability. This was no easy feat for my husband. He has worked and provided for us all of his life, so to be on disability feels like he is cheating somehow. Again, this is not a sign of surrender but a new strategy for Tom on this Mad Mission. Tom has opted for "˜Tom time' and to build up his strength and ambition even more to beat this disease. By not working, this time will allow Tom to concentrate on what is vital to him living as long as humanly possible.
At our oncology appointment on Monday, our doctor feels this will be Tom's last year on earth. Of course, we have been told before that Tom would not make it past 2007 and here we are in 2013. We know we are against greater odds than ever before and Tom is unwavering in his decision to make this world a better place than when he first arrived. Tom will have his gamma knife radiation to his brain on January 28th. On January 29th, Tom will have another echo of his heart to make sure no more fluid is building up. Tom is having lab draws done twice a week to check to make sure his INR is therapeutic for his Coumadin, which will hopefully keep his blood clots away. On February 4th, we will reconvene with his oncologist and decide the next course of plan. At this point in time, our best laid plan will be to place Tom on some type of systemic chemotherapy. No more procedures to his lungs will ever happen even those some of those tumors are growing. Our main focus needs to be on Tom's brain and heart. Not many chemotherapies cross the blood-brain barrier so our options may be limited but again, Tom will continue on this Mad Mission because of his will to live and watch our children grow. This has been a horrible past four weeks for our four children. They did not sign up for this Mad Mission, nor do they deserve to be on it. But like their Daddy, they are "signing up" because they want their Dad around as long as they can have him. He has so much more to teach us. As Tom said, yesterday after he was told he has less than a year to live, "Life is a gift and I refuse to let it go without a fight."
Thank you for all of your love, support, and prayers. If you feel up to it, please join the six of us in the next phase of our trial with cancer. Help us stomp out this Mad Mission we have been placed on.
Central Valley Today
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By KSEE Sales
January 17, 2013
Updated Jan 17, 2013 at 11:20 AM PST
Doctors say he should have been dead years ago, but Tom Wieser, a Northern California man
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with terminal cancer has been named the face of hope. He's survived nine years of aggressive treatment for his condition and continues to mentor and host families in the Central Valley through his Me One Foundation's Camp Challenge. Holly Carter, the owner of Carter and Co. Communications tell us more about this inspirational man and her fundraising efforts to keep Tom and his foundation alive
Tom Wieser of Roseville, CA, was diagnosed with Stage 2/C Rectal Cancer.
As a then 40 year old husband and father of four, he began his battle with this deadly disease. A year of aggressive treatment, including chemo, radiation and surgery, failed to keep the cancer from metastasizing to his lungs. Wieser aggressively battled cancer in hopes of finding a cure. Short of a cure, his prayers were to prolong his life long enough to see his children grown. Nearly nine years after the devastating diagnosis, Wieser continues to defy the odds while baffling the medical industry. Medical providers now refer to Wieser as The Face of Hope. When options were depleted, the doctors were so inspired by Wieser's will to live that they introduced a clinical trial named the Wieser Trial. In spite of the hardship of fighting deadly cancer, Tom and his wife Heidi along with their children and close friends founded the Me-One Foundation (me-onefoundation.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to lightening the load that cancer inflicts on a family. Thousands of people have been touched by Camp Challenge, a free weekend vacation sponsored and hosted each year by the Me-One Foundation thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Wieser family. The namesake represents a virtual score card, keeping the score of cancer down to Me 1-Cancer 0. The nine years of fighting cancer has left the family with some significant financial issues. The Wiesers have spent virtually every extra moment fundraising and volunteering to help other families battling cancer have more meaningful and joyful lives. As the news began to spread of the Weser's financial needs, the public responded.The financial need is now greater than ever as new options emerge which are not traditionally covered by insurance. Carter & Co. Communications, a public affairs firm, based in Fresno, with a background in fundraising for cancer organizations, volunteered to help the family raise funds to pay for necessary medical treatments needed to cure Tom Wieser. For more information, log onto www.me-onefoundation.org
Click the link below to see the video of the interview:
Tuesday Jan 15 2013 | 3 comments
Roseville man refuses to let cancer defeat him
Doctors name experimental treatment for Tom Wieser
By: Sena Christian, Staff Reporter
It's the question with no easy answer: Should a
person with a life-threatening disease and dire
prognosis forgo additional treatment or keep
going until all possible options have been
It's a decision only a person in that situation can
Roseville resident and former youth sports coach
Tom Wieser, who has battled colorectal cancer
since 2004 that metastasized to his lungs, keeps
choosing to pursue aggressive treatment, which
has meant multiple rounds of chemotherapy,
radiation, surgeries and an endless intake of
To prolong his life for the sake of his wife and
four children, Wieser underwent a clinical trial
named in his honor by doctors inspired by his
story. In addition to never giving up the fight,
Wieser and his wife Heidi founded the Me-One
Foundation, a nonprofit organization that hosts a
free weekend camp for adult cancer patients and
their families to forget about the disease and
heal together. The name represents a scorecard:
me 1-cancer 0.
Wieser started the trial on Feb. 21, 2012 at the UC Davis Medical Center. In an email to
his wife on that day, and forwarded to the Press Tribune, he remarked on the
magnitude of the journey on which he was embarking: "So here we go "” first guy in
the world to do this. It is amazing." The email subject line reads: "Life."
For eight months, Wieser took a combination of an oral chemotherapy twice daily with
an intravenous chemotherapy once a week until September, when treatment ended
because the tumors in his lungs started to grow again, Heidi Wieser said.
One side effect of the drug combination was that her husband had to stay out of the
sun. He wore special clothes, purchased online, with SPF in the fabric. He wore hats
and used creams.
"One day, when we were driving to Marysville for our youngest son's baseball game, he
got huge blisters on the top of his hands from holding the steering wheel in the sun,"
Hendricks can help in fight to
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she said. "So I went and bought special white cloth gloves, like Michael Jackson, for him
to wear. He was not able to swim in our pool at all last summer. That part was really
Nine years of battling cancer has drained the family's bank accounts, but the Wiesers
have still found a way to fundraise and volunteer to support other cancer families
through their foundation. Now they need some help. The experimental treatment
wasn't cheap or covered by health insurance, and Carter & Co. Communications, a
public affairs firm based in Fresno, is raising $200,000 to cover the costs. About 200
people had donated a total of $44,000 as of press time.
"This family has touched lives all over the country and we needed to find a way to
quickly update everyone about Tom's current health condition and make it very easy
for them to help in whatever way they were most comfortable," said the firm's owner
Holly Carter in a press release.
They started a Facebook account and a GoFundMe.com fundraising page where people
can donate money. Wieser expressed gratitude for this effort from his hospital bed. He
has since been discharged, but will be returning for brain radiation in late January.
"Words just can't do justice for the love and support we feel from so many special
people," he said. "My family and I will win this battle and we will share the victory with
the many people who have inspired me to fight on."
Patrick Finley: Like Cats' rally in 1986, Wieser is an inspiration
JANUARY 14, 2013 12:00 AM "¢ PATRICK FINLEY ARIZONA DAILY STAR
Doctors told Tom Wieser he might not live through this year.
Tumors pockmark his lungs, where cancer spread from his colon after his diagnosis in 2004.
The Arizona Wildcats baseball team's student manager from 1982 to 1986 had surgery last month to remove tumors from the left frontal lobe of his brain. He'll start radiation in two weeks.
Doctors drained a half-liter of fluid from around the 49-year-old's heart, which had a rapid beat, two weeks ago. They found three blood clots in his right leg.
Tom tells me this, and then starts a story.
"That first game in Omaha, in the College World Series, against Maine (in 1986), we were down 7-0 in the seventh inning," Tom said, talking fast, enthusiasm rising in his voice. "And we won the game.
"It's only going to take one swing of the bat to knock this thing out of my body.
"I need to keep taking cuts until I can't anymore."
Tom should have been dead years ago.
When Stage 2 colorectal cancer spread to his lungs in 2005, he was told that, with treatment, he'd live maybe two years.
He survived, and lived well.
He never left his job, kept raising his kids with wife Heidi in Roseville, Calif., and cheered his beloved Wildcats with abandon.
Doctors were so stunned by his will to live that they named a clinical trial after him.
"Tom is one of the most heroic figures I've ever met," said former UA coach Jerry Kindall, who visits Tom when he goes to the Bay Area to see his grandkids. "I'm looking for adjectives and I'm running short. I love him.
"He's one of the great people in my life, Tommy."
UA assistant athletic director Phoebe Chalk, who has been close with Tom since the two worked for the baseball team as students, called him "a miracle, walking."
Tom credits his family - he has four kids from ages 15 to 21, with two at the UA -and his faith for strength. He chose aggressive medical treatment, based on he and Heidi's experience.
Tom works for Oro Valley-based Ventana Medical Systems, which creates cancer diagnosis tests.
In a cruel dose of irony, Heidi was driven to become an oncology nurse after, when she was 15, her father died from colorectal cancer.
Tom's high school sweetheart and wife of almost 25 years saw the same type of cancer attack her husband, at around the same age as her father.
It's enough to make you sob.
"I remember in the '86 season, sitting in the locker room," Tom said earnestly, as if he's trying to cheer me up. "We had four games left - three against ASU and one against Grand Canyon.
"Coach Kindall told us he'd spoken to the (NCAA tournament) selection committee, and the only way we'd get into a regional is if we win three out of four.
"The next words out of his mouth were, 'I look at this team and I see national champions.'"
He was right. The Wildcats reached, and won, the College World Series.
Tom's lesson: look past the hurdles.
"We're all intelligent folks - we all know the terminal nature of it," said friend Ken Fogel, who met Tom in 1982 at Graham Hall, a UA dorm.
"People who get this don't live. But people who get this don't live seven years with it, either."
The downside is the cost.
Fogel helped set up a web account - www.gofundme.com/CureTomWieser - where supporters can donate to Tom's family.
Even with insurance, Tom's family needs $200,000 to cover costs from nine years of fighting. So far, they've raised more than $44,000 in only one month.
Tom, though, would just as soon I focus on the charity he and Heidi started about five years ago, the Me-One Foundation (as in "Me 1, Cancer 0.")
The Wiesers took out a second mortgage on their home to start the foundation, which has provided a weekend getaway for, to date, about 150 families with a parent who has a cancer.
"He enjoys other people's joy," said Fogel, who keeps, folded in his wallet, a photo of he and Tom dancing in the street on Tom's wedding day. "He's a huge Pirates fan. I love the Giants.
"When the Giants have won the World Series two times recently, we've been on the phone together for the last half-inning. He's enjoying that his kids and I love the fact our favorite team is winning."
The most frustrating part of his disease, Tom said, is the sorrow it brings others. Tom wants to make people smile, all the time; Fogel called him "as close to Robin Williams as you can be, without being Robin Williams."
"If you're looking for the Ebenezer Scrooge example," Tom admitted to thinking, "why are you picking me?
"I love my life."
Tom is realistic about his future. He's requested medical leave from work for the first time. He compared his body to an old car - eventually, too many parts will break at the same time.
When Tom was diagnosed, he prayed for 20 more years.
He's almost halfway there.
Another rally is coming. He can feel it.
"I go back to when we were sitting in the dugout, down 7-0," he said, "And going, 'What in the world are we going to do?' "
I will be attaching images of a press release for your use. I have also emailed a pdf version of the press release for you to re-distribute. If you have not received an email from me, please contact me at TomWieser@Cartercoco.com so I can send you the press release right away.
Here is the scoop:
We need for each of you to submit the press release along with a photo of the family to your local media outlets (TV, Radio, Newspapers, etc) as well as post the images on your social media. Please be sure to include a brief personal message of the significance of this to your local media. In other words, tell them WHY they should care. Perhaps you are in the same region as Tom. Or, you went to school together. Or, he works for your company... or coaches your kids... or you were one of the families that was touched by the Me One Foundation..... or perhaps Tom has inspired you to face adversity with Hope and Resilience in spite of overwhelming odds against you.
This is your opportunity to help Cure Tom Wieser. We need to get this spread out to the general mainstream public. The media will need a reason to care. Give it to them. Tell them why this story is so inspiring to you.. and the impact that the Wieser family has had on you or someone you know.
Ask everyone you know to post this on their social media and share it. That is the reason for my posting the press release as an image. Send an actual pdf to the media as well as the images.
Look up your local cancer charities and submit Tom's story. Ask your local donors to help contribute to "The Face of Hope". Do what you can... together we can climb mountains.
As always... please contact me if you have any questions about how to do this. It is best to call your local media outlets and get an email address for which to send it.... then follow up and make sure they received it. Then, follow up and ask them if they are going to run a story. If they say no, ask them if they have a suggestion for who might be willing to write a story about this. This is a game of persistence. If we approach the goal to getting media coverage the same way that Tom has approached battling cancer... we will succeed.
The Press Release will be posted in two separate postings as this will not allow me to include more than one photo at a time.
I come to you with a message of victory and defeat. Victory because Tom continues to battle the dragon we know called, "Cancer". Defeat because our loved one, Tom, is still in the hospital... albeit against his will. LOL
All kidding aside, I am coming to you this evening with a serious request... or, perhaps request(s).
We need to rally together to Save Tom Wieser. As much as the Wieser's want every cent raised to go to Camp Challenge to bless other families battling this horrible disease, it is time that we of courage push back a bit against the wishes of our hero, Tom Wieser, and focus on raising money to CURE TOM WIESER!
Given the chance, Tom would take every penny he has to stay the course of blessing families who have been stricken with the plague of this disease. And, make no mistake, this is a noble and worthwhile cause. However, I am taking an extreme risk as a friend of the family and asking the world to also include Tom Wieser in their list of benefactors. Tom would/will never ask for a penny. Tom will take the burden of the expense of his treatment to the grave... here lies the problem. Sometimes, we need a hand up... This is the reason I am writing to you all tonight.
I have known Tom since early 2009. I was battling aggressive cancer myself which is the reason I came to be lucky enough to meet Tom, Heidi and the family. I too was sent home to die. What I have learned is that the Wieser family is completely focused on helping others that may have lost Hope. Never once have I seen this family draw in and focus on their own battles first.
Because of this, I am asking... No, I am praying... that you would join me in declaring war on the cancer that has restricted this family from the joy that most of us experience every day.
Here is what we need:
A letter written to the Editor of your local newspaper and Cancer organization talking about this Man, Tom Wieser, who refuses to die. I mean really, Tom is as close to mircacle as I have seen in terms of someone not allowing anyone to take away his Hope. Now, that does not mean that Tom has not been tested. He has been poisoned, radiated, cute apart, put back together, blown up, medicated, etc etc.... REPEAT
At this point, we need donations. For that to happen, we need mainstream media to pick up this story. The story is about one thing, "HOPE". And ... the man who refuses to have his "HOPE" taken from him... and subsequently defied the best and brightest minds in the medical world as he simply REFUSED to DIE! 9 years later.........Tom is being wheeled out of the hospital because he will not give up HOPE. And, Tom is FULLY ALIVE... and still micro managing the rest of us. :)
Tell your friends.. .tell your neighbors... share this with anyone who is struggling with any kind of adversity. This is a story about Hope and the power that comes from never giving up Hope. This is the Elephant in the Room that the Doctors won't discuss. Please... Let's discuss it. Maybe there is someone you know... who knows someone... who needs to hear this message right now...
We need two things..... donations to help Cure Tom Wieser... and we need publicity. Please contact anyone you know... or simply Google your local media and submit a letter and put links to these pages about the man that the medical community has named "The Face of Hope".
In a world filled with "I Can't", isn't it about time we blow up the media with the news of "I can... AND... I Did".
Donate what you can...... WE have gone a long way with many donations as little as $5. Share our story on your Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Pinterest, etc.... Just share... Shout it from the rooftops!!!!!!
Tom Wieser is alive and well. Look out Cancer.... because Tom is making it his mission to kill you before you even think about killing him.
Won't you join me, Holly Carter, in helping Tom Wieser kill this cancer? Let's Cure Tom Wieser.
Holly can be contacted by emailing her at Holly@CarterCoCo.com or at (559) 321-8884.
I can also help you write article for submission to your local media. In reality, all that matters is that it is compelling, and submitted correctly. Write from your heart. At this point, Tom's life may be depending upon all of us doing so.
Please Forgive Typos... I am writing from a handheld device.
Nine Years now into my battle with cancer, I have frequently visited the Island. I find myself here, once again. In fact, I have been here for a few days. As I laid awake thinking about the scan I would take the next morning... I found myself here again"¦wondering if there was anything I could do or say that would somehow merge the universe into alignment with my plans for living.
My Island is cold, and dark. It is sterile, and lonely. It is not sunny"¦ nor is there a view of the ocean, or grains of sand for my feet to rest upon. It is an Island of darkness, and quiet desperation. It is a place that beckons to the deepest demons that lurk from within my soul. It calls to the voices that have been my enemy"¦calling out to me in the darkest hours of the night. They tell me that I can't, or that I won't... or that I'm not.
This Island is surrounded with an abyss which completely encompasses all access to and from it. The Island is there waiting for me in times like this.
There is a moment that may exist which provides me with the only opportunity to escape. The moment, when the universe ceases to move... or to exist beyond the next words that will come. The moment, when an eternity passes all at once... and silence has never been so loud. There have been many moments. Yet, each moment has a lifetime of its own. I await the moment once again.
I have tried to describe the moment many times. Words fail... and it frustrates me deeply. I make a living off of finding words to match emotions in such a way that it inspires an action. Why is it that the most intimate, private, and deeply personal times of my life cannot be explained with words? Yet, I try. And, I will keep trying.
This moment is not like any other. It is the moment for which all of the universe changes"¦"¦ no matter what the moment holds. It is a bend in the road. Only, this bend is not met with a choice for which path to take. It is a moment when we are thrust in a direction without consent. We see one path, and we desperately long to go in that direction. We see another path, and we are gripped with fear. Fear, another word that falls short. Not fear... but terror... not terror... but a feeling that represents a battle against all things good and righteous in the world.
And so I wait for my moment when I will hopefully be allowed to leave the Island. I wait for the man in the white coat to walk into a room, holding a file with words on a piece of paper. The words, though brief and simplistic, sentence me to the path I must travel. Towards a path which leads me to health and prosperity, and an exit from the Island. Or, to the path which dooms me to death, a permanent home here. And I sit... And wait"¦ knowing that the man in the white coat holds my entire existence in his hands"¦ through the words he will utter that are indelibly marked on that page... in that file... that will be revealed... in that moment.
I remember warmth and I hold onto that once again. I call out to my God and ask for Him to meet me where I am. The Island is not a friend to me. Yet, the effects of the time I spend there make me a kinder, sweeter spirit and for this I am thankful. But I wish, these effects could be experienced through other experiences and that I should never had to have visited the Island at all.
If I escape once again, I know that I will return here once more. For now, I simply wait for the moment, and pray that I am sent down the path that allows me to leave the Island in hopes of never returning again.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a letter sent by Tom Wieser last night:
A lot of people have been posting as to how I am doing and I have been so moved by my support that I feel it is time for folks to hear from the horse's mouth as to how he's doing, and what he's been up to in the recent days. In short"¦it's been a heck of a weekend.
Most of you are aware I have had a tough time breathing recently, and I have always been cautious of words of wisdom my oncologist shared with me "“ "As a cancer patient, be careful when you start looking for things." Well, along with the cough, I was assuming it was representative of what I experienced the last time I had Cyber knife to my lungs "“ that period was followed with shallow breath, difficulty breathing on exertion, and pressure in my chest. When these items displayed themselves once again, as I said I assumed. There was one thing, however, that was different than the last time we experienced this. My heart rate was consistently sitting between 125 and 140"¦even when sedentary. Again, I had assumed.
I loved The Odd Couple when it had its run on TV and there is a famous court room scene where Felix points out to the jury the when we "assume" we make an "ass" of "u" and "me." And now I have the tail and ears to prove him right.
Friday, I begrudgingly agreed to go the local ER and find out what was happening in my chest. An X-ray and a CT scan later revealed that I had pneumonia, and potentially a pulmonary embolism"¦oh, and there seemed to be fluid around my heart. They gave me some antibiotics to start to fight the pneumonia, but sent me off via ambulance to UC Davis "“ my primary hospital. Upon arrival we went through a flurry of new scans, x-rays and echo cardiograms. The slight good news was that there did not seem to be a pulmonary embolism. The bad news was that the fluid around my heart was there and plentiful. It is believed to be a result of my recent Cyber knife radiation as it was part of the field we were targeting. It meant that I need to have a needle tapped into the sac surrounding my heart and the fluid withdrawn. They were very successful in performing this task; however my heart rate is still hanging up in the 130's.
So for the first time since I have been diagnosed, I was introduced to blood products and had my first red blood cell transfusion. It too was supposed to assist in dropping my heart rate, but we have yet to see results. My best guess is that tomorrow will bring another transfusion, and another day praying that my heart rate drops "“ the football playoffs end Sunday and I'd like to be home.
My two older children are home for Christmas break, and in the short time they've been here, I've had a brain tumor removed and my heart tapped to drain fluid. To say I'm frustrated is a ridiculous understatement. They have to return to college on this Tuesday.
I understand my path is my path and that He has a calling for the road I walk"¦but it is days like this that it is hard not to scream out "I've had enough." I know by morning I'll find my peace within my heart and slide into my shoes and continue down my road. Until then, I do ask that you will keep me in your prayers. Maybe ask for an angel or two to be assigned to helping me get home before my kids leave for school? I believe in prayer or I wouldn't ask.
In the mean time I will commit to all of you two things"¦I'll keep you updated on how this is going from my hospital bed and once I am home...no I won't turn this into Twitter, but I'll let you know just how ugly this damn disease can get"¦how it can hit you in places you'd never expect. And it can teach you never to assume. The other commitment I will make to all of you is that I will keep fighting this thing...I shall beat it.
This is an urgent text that came a moment ago from Heidi... Please spread the word that Tom needs a lot of prayer right now... as well as the family.
"Tom has been very short of breath for about 2-3 weeks and high heart rate. Met w radiation onc at UCD yesterday. He ordered cardiology consult. Tom got worse overnight our primary md said to go to closest ER. We have been at Sutter Roseville ER since noon they have done tons of tests no blood clot in his lungs. HEart rate still high. He is on oxygen labs done antibiotics started extra fluids given pain meds on board. Tom is being transferred via ambulance to UCD. Hopefully in next hour or so. Will go home and get children. Please post on cure tom WIESER asking for prayers. Thx. All. Heidi"
The past 32 years of my life have been the most fulfilling and rewarding. I feel as if I do not deserve all that I have been blessed with. I dated and married the most amazing man in the world. God blessed us with the best four children in the world. We have been married over 24 years and each year becomes better and better. We have more laughter, love, song, and tears than any other family I know and for this we count our blessings even more this holiday season.
As most of you are aware, Tom usually sends out the annual Wieser Family Christmas Letter, AKA: the Novella. However, this year's brain tumor has changed that a little. So, I thought I would do Tom's Prayer Tree with a little recap of the Wieser Family for 2012 as well. Tom is all about numbers and percentages. He has been a baseball fanatic since we met. I never liked baseball but I knew if I was to spend the rest of my life with this man, I had better learn. Not only did I learn to love the game of baseball from Tom, but I learned how to love from him as well. Baseball is not only a physical game but a very mental one as well. Each pitch matters, every player needs to be on their game at all times and "baseball ready", each coach needs to be on the same page and ready to teach the boys all they can, every fan is there to support and cheer on their team. Baseball just like with life is not always about winning (although the SF Giants winning the World Series was AWESOME), it is about the love of the game and how you feel when you leave the field.
Life is about how we play each day. Life is about the impact we leave here when God calls us to heaven. Life is about who is in the stands cheering for you. Life is about teamwork. The Wieser Team is alive and well in Roseville this Christmas season because each of you have been on our team, loving and supporting us in 2012. Tom started the year with his lung tumors growing once again. Tom had radiation to his right lung at UCSF in February of this year and again in October. Tom started the Wieser Trial on February 13, 2012. He was the first in the world to begin the combination of these two chemotherapies. This trial worked until his chest CT scan in September that showed the lung tumors growing. The chest CT in November showed his lung tumors still growing. On December 10th the MRI of Tom's brain showed a large tumor and an enormous amount of swelling. Now the odds of a 40 year old getting colorectal cancer are very low. The odds of a 41 year old with colorectal cancer having 18 metastasis to his lungs are very low. The odds of a 49 year old with stage 4 colorectal cancer having brain metastasis is very low (2.3%). The odds of a stage 4 colorectal cancer patient living longer than 2 years are very low. What does Tom Wieser do, he defies these odds. Tom teaches me and our four children that he shall defy these odds. It is the bottom of the inning and he has a full count and he is going to leave this field a winner!
Emily carries her Dad's love for life. She became a Bobcat at the University of Arizona. This is the highest honor for any senior and only 13 seniors are chosen. Like Tom, Emily defies the odds and she nails it and becomes one of the elite of the University of Arizona. Emily has applied to 13 law schools all over the United States for next fall. Emily has been accepted to 7/13 law schools thus far. She has yet to hear from the other six. She is the love of our life. She completes our family. The joy she felt at coming home for Christmas has been disrupted greatly by the brain tumor and surgery Tom endured. But on the morning of Tom's brain surgery, Emily along with Tom's parents came to walk with him and me to the pre-op area. As many of you know, Emily is not one who likes hospitals, blood or getting up early. However, on that Friday morning, she was there loving her Dad and staying with him until the last final minute that they wheeled him into the operating room. God, we love our brown eyed girl and are so proud of her.
Tommy graduated Oakmont high school in May and headed to the University of Arizona for his freshman year of college. Tommy quickly met with his counselor and mapped out courses for the next four years so that he can become a dentist. He adjusted to the bumps of being away from home for the first time. He pledged and joined PKE fraternity and now has a wonderful new group of friends in Tucson. Like Emily, Tommy was greeted by me at the airport on December 11th only for me to pull off the freeway and tell him that Daddy has a brain tumor. Yet, from the examples set by Big Tom, he quickly wiped away his tears and we darted off to see Tom at the hospital. Not the ideal homecoming from his freshman year of college, but we are a team and we call the shots together as a family. Tommy is no exception. He has been a huge help with driving and chores around the house.
Our little Allison Elizabeth (Oceay), WOW, still has the heart of gold. Oceay is now a junior at Oakmont High School and exceeding in everything she puts her heart and mind too, sound familiar (defying the odds just like the rest of our family). She works as a peer helper at school which has brought her a lot of joy to help others. I love the way she chooses to pay it forward. Oceay is playing competitive soccer for Placer County and is still seeking to possibly play soccer in college as well. She will take the SAT in the spring and start looking into colleges. We love our Oceay as she is the glue that helps hold our family together with her bubbly personality and love for life.
Timmy graduated from 8th grade at Saint Rose School in May. He began his freshman year of high school at Oakmont in August. He continues to play travel baseball and will try out for the high school baseball team as well. Timmy is the freshman class president at Oakmont high school. He really enjoys student government and is meeting many new and wonderful friends. Tom was admitted to the hospital on Tuesday, December 11th. Both Allie and Timmy wanted to try and go to school on Wednesday, December 12th (same stamina as their Dad). At the beginning of second period, Timmy looked out the window and saw Allie crying her eyes out. Timmy's first thought was, "Oh my God, Dad died." Thankfully his first thought was not true. Yet, this is the resilience our children have for life. This is what Tom continues to teach each of us. You only get one chance at playing in this game we call life, so do not waste any time.
So what is the plan for the Wieser Family in 2013"¦"¦Tom and I will celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary. Emily will graduate from the University of Arizona and start her first year of law school. Tommy will continue his years at the University of Arizona in his pursuit of becoming a dentist. Allie will start her senior year of high school and begin applying for college. Timmy will continue on the same wonderful path as his siblings in enjoying each and every day with a big smile and love for life. We will all continue to keep defying the odds placed in front of us because we will do it together, as a team, as a family.
We should soon have the pathology back from Tom's brain tumor. We will then meet with the radiation oncologists at UC Davis where Tom will have brain radiation. Depending how Tom does with these side effects, will determine when and what our next step will be. Tom will need to be on chemotherapy of some sort for the brain and lung metastasis. He will have another brain MRI and chest CT scan. What will all this tell us, it will tell us that we shall keep fighting and defying those odds? It will remind the six of us to keep laughing, singing, loving and crying together. We will continue to count not the odds of the game but the time we have to play the game and make every minute of every inning be a true blessing.
First I want to say that our hearts and prayers go out to everyone affected by the shootings in CT. It simply breaks our hearts and there are no words. All we can do is pray that the Lord will do what is needed to help these families survive this senseless and horrific loss.
I wanted to take a moment to update everyone on Tom's progress. Tom is doing well although having some problems with sleep. He wrote me last night and said he was having very vivid dreams which was unusual. He mentioned a nightmare...something about him being a Dodger's Fan or something??? Hmmm...
Heidi sent me a video the other night during the first "Family Meal" at home since Tom's brain surgery. I have attached it as I know a picture is worth a thousand words... so a video must be worth a million. :)
We are hunkering down and getting ready for the next phase of treatment. We will need to continue our fundraising efforts which will obviously need to expand beyond those who already know Tom Wieser. Our hope is that Tom's story will be "news worthy" in that he was sent home to die in 2005, and has simply refused to die. That message ought to be shouted from the rooftops as there are so many who have heard the same news and simply have given up hope. It is faith and HOPE that keeps people like Tom alive when all else is lost... That is what we are offering to the world by sharing Tom's story. If for no other reason, even if this effort fails to bring in enough money to cover Tom's treatments (which will not happen because I refuse to fail), this story needs to go viral so others can hear the good news that there is hope after a terminal diagnosis.
Tom will start radiation on the brain soon. We are all very concerned and unhappy about this but we really have no choice. It must be done. At the same time, specialists around the world are studying Tom's cancer to find the best course of treatment.
We are not allowing money to be a factor in our decisions to have Tom treated. This is why the CureTomWieser effort came into existence. We believe that anyone who has the courage to defy death for as many years as Tom has ought to have a chance to live if the option exists. The only way we can find out is to get Tom to the right experts who are working on clinical trials that are promising. I think we all believe that there is a cure for cancer out there... but it takes a lot of money and tenacity to get to it. As we all know, there are a lot of politics involved in getting through FDA and often there are promising treatments that never get approved.
The reason for my rambling is this... we believe there is a cure. And, we believe that Tom ought to have an opportunity to meet the person who is working on that cure now... So, we must go viral and we must share Tom's story. We also must find a way to share Tom's story so that others can contribute a small amount to help us get these treatments paid for... unfortunately, cancer treatments are not free and insurance is not exactly "experimental" friendly. In other words, we need some help getting Tom in front of these brilliant minds so they can have a crack at killing that cancer that is trying to steal Tom's future.
So, where does that leave us??? First, a press release will go out. Second, we will be relying upon all of you to take the press release and submit it to your local paper, along with some photos that you can swipe from our Facebook Page ( https://www.facebook.com/CureTomWieser) and videos that you can swipe from YouTube (when you click on the attached video, you will go to my page and you can search for all the "Cure Tom Wieser" videos), and also share your personal thoughts that connect Tom's story in a personal way to your community and/or life. Then, send it to all your regional news outlets and follow up with phone calls to make sure they received it. Then, ask them who would be the reporter to cover those kinds of stories... and call that reporter and pitch the story. This sounds like a lot to ask, and it is. But, we are talking about saving a man's life. So, it is a lot to ask... but I promise we will return the favor if you are ever dying of cancer. How is that for a deal?
The key is for each of us to share Tom's story and to add our own personal story of why Tom's story is important to us. You can go onto the Facebook page and create a "note": Go here ( https://www.facebook.com/editnote.php)
The note is a place where you can write as much as you want, and add photos of yourself too... and save it on that page for Tom to read. Tom needs to hear optimism from each of us. The Hope that he carries to live is not something that is an endless supply.. .hence we reach out to each of you. Please be a seed of Hope and take a moment to post a story (via a Note) on Facebook. If you don't have a Facebook page, make one just for this. Delete it after we cure Tom if you don't like social media. The fact is... social media is the way we can share Tom's story for FREE.
So, enough said about the subject for today. Email me if you have questions. You can find out more about me (in case you are wondering who this crazy lady is that keeps emailing you) by visiting my website at www.Carter CoCo.com. I am just another huge fan of Tom's that decided it was time to step up to the plate and put my money where my mouth was. I decided it is time to Cure Tom Wieser. Enough is enough. He has battled long enough. And, with the prompting of Tom's life long friend, Ken Fogel, here we are.
You can reach out to me with questions about how to do any of the stuff I mentioned in this note by calling me at (559) 321-8884 or emailing me at Holly@cartercoco.com. Email is the best I will admit.
Please consider helping us get this story in the hands of the reporters. This man was sent home to die in 2005 and simply has refused to die. Why? Tom said he wants to walk his daughters down the isle. Tom wants to see his boys graduate college. And, Tom wants to throw out the 1st Pitch at a SF Giants game on his 10 year anniversary of being diagnosed with Cancer. That, coupled with the support from his amazing family and friends, and his unfailing faith in the Lord, and an extra heaping of HOPE has kept Tom with us.
If you have not donated yet, I mean it when I say that $5 a person goes a long way. If we can get 1,000 to donate $5 each... do the math... it adds up fast.
Thank you for taking the time to read the updates and to be so willing to respond. I am so extremely proud of all of you and I am blessed to be a part of this effort. I hope one day we can have a massive party and all travel to Roseville where we can meet one another in person. We can have an "I Cured Tom Wieser" Party. Let's plan it. Let's do it. Just BELIEVE! Do you?
I leave you with the closing line that I have swiped from dear Heidi Wieser...
In Faith, Hope and Love,
Adopted Wieser Family Member (whether they like it or not!)
Come on friends... we are only $900 away from reaching $30,000 in donations in one week period of time.... please share this with all of your friends and family members... and community... Let's send a strong message to Tom and Heidi as they recover in the Hospital right now.
Ideas for encouraging others to donate to the Cure Tom Wieser fund...
1) It's Christmas and we often choose an "angel" to sponsor. This year, choose Tom Wieser as your angel.
2) Tom Wieser can inspire others who have been either facing tough health challenges or who have been dealing with life adversities. If Tom would have listened to the doctors who told him he only had 2 years left in 2005, he may be long gone by now. Your donation to Tom keeps the legacy of Hope here helping others to BELIEVE.
3) The S.F. Giants surely will lose it Tom Wieser is not around to cheer them on. I am convinced that Tom is the reason they won 2 world series... think about it. This is serious stuff.
4) Consider allocating your tithe this month to the Cure Tom Wieser fund instead of your local church.
5) Offer to donate a certain amount only if you are able to find other donors to match that amount. Then, let us help you get those funds matched.
Reasons 6-10 coming soon....
As I write this, I am in tears. We are so humbled by your kindness.
Another 24 hours have come and gone... and a lifetime it seems as well... As we prepare for Tom to enter into the next phase of his treatment, I am reminded how clearly God has worked to gather all of us around this amazing family during this special time.
Because of YOU, we were able to fly Tommy home from College to be with his daddy before surgery. Because of YOU, Heidi is not having to worry about gas money, or the expense of meals while staying with Tom at U.C. Davis... Because of YOU, the Wieser family does not have to worry about MONEY today. They can spend their energy loving on one another and praying for the Lord to guide the hands of the surgeon during Tom's brain surgery on Friday morning.
Tom, Heidi, and the family are simply looking at this as another chapter in the book they call, "Cancer". It is just another rung on the ladder they climb together as a family in Hope, Faith and Love.
Proof of this is the fact that we have already made plans for Tom and Heidi to attend a Giants game on July 21st, 2013 in the comfort of an Executive Suite... just as we have done every year now for the last few years. This is just another chapter... and Tom is facing this with courage and enthusiasm.
How does he do it? Well, we can't say for sure... but I have heard him mention that his sights are set on walking his daughters down the isle at their wedding. Tom looks to the day when both of his boys will graduate from College. Tom is planning on throwing out the first pitch at a Giants game in 2014, in honor of the 10 year anniversary of being diagnosed with cancer. And, again in 2015... the 10 year anniversary of Tom being told by the doctors that there was "no HOPE", and he was sent home to die... They did not know our Tom. They did not know this family. They did not know that HOPE is not something that can be taken from the Wieser Family.
This is a real life Christmas Story. This is the stuff that movies are made of... a family kept alive by faith, hope and love. Love for each other... and love for each of YOU.
Please keep the Wieser family in your prayers. And please continue to ask 5 people everyday to pray for the Wieser family. If you feel so inclined, ask them to each give $5. We still have a long road ahead of us to get Tom to the other side. And, the finances are no small part of it. It is a real challenge. But, we can do it. Together!! There are so many clever ways we can each raise money. We can hold car washes... we can have a bake sale, we can donate items for a silent auction, we can donate travel (Hotels and Air Tickets) that can be used during Tom's treatment... Thank you for giving from your heart.
From our home to yours... we wish you a week filled with belly laughs and magic as we get ready to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let's hope that Tom will be home in time for Christmas. Regardless, please keep up your notes and support. Continue to share this on your Facebook and all social media sites. We need help... and we need it now. Pray for God to reveal to you who may be able to step up to the plate and continue this magnificent outpouring of financial help for this family. A family who has spent 10 years dedicated to making memories for so many other families who were on their knees in the battle against cancer... feeling hopeless. The Wiesers put their personal needs aside and focused on bringing back HOPE to so many families affected by this awful disease. Isn't it amazing that we are now able to give back to Tom and Heidi?
I hope you are proud of YOU. We truly could not have reunited this family before Tom's brain surgery without you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts... and we can honestly say that we love each one of you for giving to this family. You have touched us in ways I can not explain.
Sorry for the extra long update... I was filled with emotion and really felt the need to share how touched Tom and Heidi were by your compassion and gracious hearts.
On behalf of the Wieser family...
Thank you... and Never, Never, Never give up HOPE!
Tom Wieser has been watching all of the activity on this site this weekend... Heidi took this photo of Tom earlier tonight after 40 minutes of him literally forcing himself to eat. This is a man who epitomizes courage...and is now able to tap into the outpouring of love and support from each one of you. Thank you!
our Celebrate the Life of Tom Wieser page, a fundraising site dedicated to the
mission of helping the family of Tom Wieser.
February 12, 2004, Tom Wieser was diagnosed with State 2/C Rectal Cancer. On that day, the husband and father of four
young children began his battle with this horrible disease. After a year of aggressive treatment
including chemo, radiation and surgery, the cancer metastasized and spread to
his lungs. Tom was given two years to
Wieser aggressively fought this cancer and willingly opted for any kind of
treatment possible that would extend his life long enough to see his children
grow. Tom defied all the odds and the
doctors were baffled by the simple fact that Tom continued to live.
more than nine years of battle, this insipid disease finally wore Tom's body
out. On Monday, May 13th, Tom
Wieser passed away surrounded by his wife, four children, mother, father and
hope for this effort is to continue to raise enough money to provide for the
payment of all medical bills that were accumulated in order to keep Tom Wieser
alive longer than anyone ever predicted.
We want to help ease the horrible financial burden that this disease has
had on the family.
ago, Tom and his wife Heidi created a foundation to nurture other families who
are battling this disease. The Me One
Foundation has sent thousands affected by cancer on a free vacation where they
are able to get away from the day to day realities of battling their disease. Tom and Heidi, along with their four children,
devoted their lives to helping other families rather than try to draw attention
to their own needs for financial assistance.
account was created through a collaborative effort by those who have been
touched by the unwavering faith and love demonstrated by the Wieser family over
the past nine years. We continue raise
funds in order to honor Tom's memory. We
want to provide for the family and try to ease their tremendous burden just a
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