Help Nancy Sains Beat Lung Cancer
My name is Mike Sains and I am asking for your help. My mom has stage 3B lung cancer. Adenocarconoma in both lungs, to be exact. We have started this page because with just a few days before she starts her first radiation and chemo therapy sessions, we are finally starting to see the mountain of bills pile up.
But before we just ask you for your money, let me tell you who she is and how she got here in the first place.
Nancy Sains is a mother of two children. Michael, 29 and Amanda, 25. She is also the matriarch of 4 cats - Radford, Benny, Simone, and Oliver - and 2 dogs - a boxer, Morgan (pictured above) and a Boston terrier, Jackson. She is also the operations manager for Destiny's Tree Service, based in Fairfax, Virginia.
In early 2014 my mom, Nancy, had started to complain of a growing pain in her shoulder. For years she had worked in DC as a Chief Secretary for a law firm, has worked for an inside sales firm for the last 4 years, and continues to manage a local tree removal company from her home in Northern Virginia. She has been top salesperson in her office for the last 3 years running. But all of those jobs are just enough to keep us going.
For obvious reasons, our family thought that in her years of carrying around large purses and business tote bags, she had developed a pinched nerve or some kind of posture-related malady.
We went to her general physician in February and he diagnosed her with a pinched nerve and inflammation in the shoulder area. She was given a neck brace and an at-home traction device, along with steroids and pain medicine to cure her. Well, after the sharp pains in her shoulder went away, the discomfort shifted to her back, near her lung.
This distressed both our family and her doctors. She was sent to a series of specialists who were able to determine that a tumor in her lung was the root cause of this pain, not a pinched nerve. After even more tests and doctors visits, they determined that she is currently stage 3B. She needs radiation treatment and chemo therapy immediately.
Did you know that before you can undergo chemo therapy that you have to have all of your dental work taken care of? It's true. If you have an open infection of any kind in your mouth, you need to fix those before you can receive treatment. My mom needed to have SEVEN teeth extracted and replaced, a temporary bridge in the top of her mouth, and several amalgum / mercury fillings removed. All in less than a week.
So, before even one treatment, we are already more than $6,000 dollars in debt due to the dental costs and have endured more pain than previously anticipated. Now that she's finishing those requirements, she is about to receive the treament she needs: 30 radiation sessions for 30 straight days and chemo therapy one a week until otherwise notified. The possibility of a second round of this treament has been anticipated by her doctors.
So, given the severity of her stage and the immediacy of the required treaments, we are asking for your donations. We simply can not afford to pay for these treatments under her current insurance. We also do not know exactly how much this will all cost, but we know it will exceed $50,000 by the end of this year, and could potentially continue deep into 2015. So we have set the bar high.
We are also asking for this amount because the cost of living for her in-home caregiver and son, me, must be taken into consideration. I can not work while this is going on and once my mom starts to feel the effects of the treatments, neither will she. Cost of transportation, gas, car maintenance, and quality of living must be taken into account. But there are also other avenues we are considering to accomodate those needs, as well. Not just crowd-sourcing.
Just so you know, we have every intention of BEATING THIS CANCER with EXTREME PREDJUDICE. But to do that, we will need help. Any an all money that you can donate to us will be a drop of water in a very large bucket. But it is a drop that we shall cherish with every ounce of our being. Thank you in advance. We are forever in your debt and you shall remain in our good graces until our last moments on this planet.
**To be very clear, we would like to clarify that Nancy has a tumor in her right lung and the lobes in her chest wall. When we say that the cancer is in both lungs, the left side has shown that there are small, but still significant, areas of infection. This spread has made her current stage ineligible for surgery.
HOWEVER, the idea here is to stop the spread into the other lung and lessen the swelling in the tumor. This could potentially put her in contention for a surgical procedure. Then, more than likely, more rounds of chemo therapy and radiation treatments.
We wanted to clarify the diagnosis for us and our donors, alike. Thank you again for your time and your donation.**
It's been a few months since we last updated our fund-raising campaign and my mom and I both felt that it was high time that we catch everyone up to speed with what's happened since we last corresponded.
In regards to my mom's health, her cancer has been - for a while now - been referred to as a "nodule" or "nodules" inside her lungs. Last year the doctors used words like "tumor" and "node" rather than "nodule" so we're at ease a little with the idea that the growths are getting smaller in size as time goes on.
After her last chemotherapy treatment three weeks ago, she will in the coming weeks be downgraded from full-strength chemo medicines to what they call "maintenance chemo". Not the knock-down-drag-out stuff, but chemo nevertheless.
However, when we went to her chemo treatment today, 7.31.15, we were told that her white blood cell count had increased over 48 hours and that indicates an infection. An infection in her body means that chemo is out of the question until the medical team knows what they're up against and how to treat it.
Now, for the most part, most of that is good news. Granted the infection is dodgy, but I'm sure we can take care of that. However, I'm sorry to inform you that from this point on, the news will be less than good.
On May 27th, 2015, my grandma, Nancy's mother Mary Ann Lloyd passed away. There were complications after a medical problem required an operation and it quickly grew out of anyone's control. It was a sad situation that escalated so quickly that all we could really do is witness the events as they took place. Luckily, the silver lining in this is that my grandma was able to be with her family - her entire family; from her brothers to her daughter down to her grandchildren - and we were all able to say our goodbyes together, as a group.
It was and still remains a very tough time for my mom's family. And especially for my mom. Those two were inseparable. Thick as thieves, as they say. In a world where it's not so cool to be attached to the hip with your parents, our family has a tendency to be proud of how much we stay connected. Her funeral and life celebration was a proper send-off, though, I will say that. She received a military burial at Quantico National Cemetery at the FBI Headquarters in Quanitco, Virginia, a spot that my grandfather earned her during his time served in the Korean War.
Then, two weeks later, on June 10th 2015, my father's mom, my grandmother Matea Sains passed away. Both of my grandmothers in two weeks. She had also been dealing with medical complications of her own, but for very different reason that I'd rather not get into. Not everyone is open to sharing this information and it's truly not essential that you know. So I'll just reiterate the important part: it was a true double whammy of absolutely sadness for both sides of my family.
Why this had to happen in this way, with my mom being sick, only to lose her own mother, then to have that same thing happen to my father's mother less than two weeks apart, nearly on the same days of the week, I will never know. It's not for me to know. What I do know, is that this planet will never be the same again without those two beautiful women. Not ever again will Earth be as beautiful as it was before.
In this time of great strife, we've found comfort from within, spending as much time as we can with one another. We've moved my mom's father into our home to help him in his time of grieving and also to have him there for emotional support for my mom AND for myself. I won't lie: I've also struggled with bouts of grief ever since this has happened. It's not been easy, that's for sure.
Now, getting back to the point of this campaign page: we DO need to raise some significant money. In our time dealing with getting my grandpa moved in and all of the things that have come with this mess, we've naturally gotten a bit behind on bills not related to those matters. Specifically, we need to raise approximately $2,000 within the next few weeks to a month's time. We now owe $1,900 in back-logged billing. That's not the grand total, that's just what we NEED to pay and need to pay it ASAP or it moves past friendly reminder letters.
Having said that, I will be a little more active for the next month or so in an attempt to raise the money we need. We're already looking at spending nearly that much on an unforseen series of medical expenses for our pets - one of our dogs has skin cancer; nothing that can't be taken care of, but, it's expensive. And now that my grandfather is in our care, he required plenty of things for his own well being like hearing aids and glasses, etc. Senior citizen issues, if you will. It's all new to us, but, I'm already a caregiver so we might as well add something new to the list, too! That's really what I'm here for these days, anyway. And I mean that with a smile on my face. It's my duty.
So, that's about the long and short of things. This all hasn't been easy to live or to cope with. But we're here, making our way through life. And we're grateful to have you by our side through so much of this struggle. Thank you to our past and future donors / contributors. We love you and we hope that you have a great weekend!
Michael, the Son
Nancy, the Soldier
It's 10:35 am on Thursday, the day after Letterman's last show. Here we are at Sibley Memorial for my mom's 10th chemo treatment in a year, round 2 of chapter 2. But seriously, wasn't Dave's last show fantastic? We kind of can't stop talking about it.
Anyway, the reason I'm even bringing it up is because we are both so tired this morning here at the infusion center. But that's alright. We have decent coffee, good food, and the best nurse in the game taking care of my mom. That's all we can ask for in a situation like this.
So, we are hoping that this is the halfway point of the second round. If not this treatment, then definitely the next one will mark the halfway point. All we have to do is show up and try and put a smile on our faces.
Instead of just asking for contributions, we would like to thank everyone who has given their time and money to my mom's cause. Your contributions help pay for the seemingly infinite number of parking fees, doctors visits, late breakfasts, and the gas. Oh man, the gas.
Do you know that over the course of this last year, my mom and I have travelled to and from DC so many times that we could have driven to Portland, Oregon? That's a fact.
ANYWAYS, thank all of the contributions and the wonderful messages of support we received after the last update. Those emails helped so much I'm considering having them made into art. Seriously, each piece of support has helped build a framework of strength around us that we could have never anticipated.
Thank you all. Have a great Memorial Day holiday and enjoy it with the people you love.
Michael, the Son
Nancy, the Soldier
It's 9:35 am on the dot and as I type this update on my phone, my mom is braving yet another small surgical procedure. This time she's having a medical port installed. It helps ease the application of IV medications - in her case chemotherapy.
She's due for her next round of chemo on Friday of this week. After the first round, we can definitely say that chemo at 100% potency is similar to what she had before. But it's much, much more intense.
Through all of this, though, it is your financial and, shall we say moral contributions that make all the difference. Knowing that she has a support system, even if it's the small ding of an email notice from GoFundMe, truly helps in ways that are hard to explain.
Which brings me to our newest bright idea, well, my latest bright idea. We understand that sometimes people want to reach out to my mom but might not always have the means to contribute financially. If you ever find yourself in this scenario, wanting to reach out but unable to donate, please feel free to send her an email with the heading Messages For Nancy to the email TheMikeSains@gmail.com.
Yes, that's my email address. I know. Putting it out there in the public domain is a bit risky. But I'm willing to endure the random spam email from time to time if it means my mom can receive positive reinforcement from people who care about her well being.
So, that's all we have for right now. If you'd like to make a contribution, we would love you for it. Otherwise, consider sending my mom an email, won't you? Every single one helps.
Thank you and take care!
- From Michael the son and Nancy the Soldier
Round 2 has begun! I hope we are all doing well this Friday morning? Currently Nancy, my mom, and I are at Sibley Memorial Hospital's infusion center. Pre-medications are flowing - that's anti-nausea meds so she doesn't get sick during the treatment.
Anyway, we are writing to say that the fight has begun again, and we are asking for your support. Please help us raise more funds so we can pay our new round of bills and whatever else is to come in the next six months.
And just so we put things in perspective, the chemo Nancy was receiving last year was at 50% potency to help supplement her ration treatments. This time, it will be six treatments, once every three weeks, at 100% strength.
It's not going to be easy. But that's why we fight. That's why we need as much strength and support behind us as possible. And with those things we shall endure this, yet again.
Thank you in advance for your contribution and your continued sharing and support of this GoFundMe campaign. Let's work to get this thing going again as a team. Shall we?
Lots of love!
Mike Sains, son.
Nancy Sains, soldier.