Aten Family Cancer Fund
UPDATE: Dan's most recent PET scan and now biopsy results have confirmed that his cancer is back - he has a very painful lymphnode area on his back that is growing by the minute. He cannot get treatment locally for this next step (more intense chemo and possibly a stem cell transplant) so they need to move to the Philly area for inpatient and outpatient treatment - even when he's out of the hospital, he has to be within 30-45 minutes of the hospital incase anything happens. They will be there for at least 6 months are moving a lot of their things out of our house this weekend so he can start treatment next week.
I’m starting this Go Fund Me account for a work friend and fellow speech therapist that I actually met by covering her maternity leave last school year. In May 2015, Emily was blessed with her first child, a baby boy, Tyler. She and her husband, Dan, were busy taking care of their new baby when unfortunately on Christmas Eve, when Tyler was just 7 months old, Dan was diagnosed with Stage 4 non germinal center diffuse large B-cell lymphoma/cancer. The timing wasn’t ideal, although, it never is when it comes to cancer. While away from work, Emily took care of Tyler but also cared for her sick husband. He got 6 outpatient chemo treatments locally between February and May 2016 and they got good news via a PET scan and blood tests that the cancer had seemed to be resolved! Time to get back to enjoying life. Emily started back to work at the start of the new school year this fall, taking Tyler to daycare for the first time. They had just started to get into a new routine when Dan recently went back to the doctor for some follow up tests and they detected a ‘spot.’ It could’ve been nothing, possibly just a cyst, but they needed to do further testing as it’s better safe than sorry in these types of situations. Unfortunately, the PET scan and biopsy results came back that Dan again has Lymphoma. This time though Dan will have to go through more intense inpatient chemo and stem cell transplants at Penn in Philadelphia. This requires he and Emily, with a toddler in tow, to stay within 30 minutes from the facility and both to take even more time away from work. This family has a lot on their plate with financial burden of medical bills, stay (paying for their current home and their “Philadelphia home” where they will have to pay to stay while Dan goes through treatments), food, travelling, taking care of a little one, and losing income while taking more time off of work. They would be appreciative of any help you can offer whether it be money (any little bit can help) and of course prayers and positive thoughts. If you’re unable to contribute to this fund, please share this Go Fund Me link and pray and/or send positive energy to this family in their very difficult time. Thank you!!!
We had 2 main choices to make:
We do nothing relax and spend the next two to three months "making myself comfortable" and being with the family. That's right I said 2 to 3 months and none of us thought anything would happen that quick. This fucking sucks.
We do chemo called R-EPOCH. It like a lot like my original chemo RCHOP, but this is delivered over 5 days in the hospital at Penn since it is much stronger and we have added the E. We also hope to add Venetoclax but This Has to go through insurance...This choice Has 3 paths emerging from it, they are as follows in grim to best order..
Post Chemo Path 1:
My bodies bone marrow can not handle the chemo and I can't bounce back. Essentially my bone marrow is fried and I die in the hospital. Unsure of the timing on this and my doc thinks and so do we that we won't need this path.
Post Chemo Path 2:
My bodies bone marrow can handle the chemo however we show no tumor drop. In this case we interupted my quality of life to try and save me and I am back in the Choice 1 "make me comfortable" path.
Post Chemo Path 3:
My body can handle it, my tumors shrink and we do 1 more chemo cycle in 3 weeks. Voila! After we complete chemo round 2, I could potentially now quallify for clinical trials again when my kidneys are doing better, or a few other options.
Its a long path, but we will take it. Choice 2!!! The fight must go on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thursday was my birthday. Friday was the start to chemo (5-8 days). I'm tolerating meds pretty well but I'm tired and my heart rate goes low at night. EKG and echo are fine so they're monitoring this.
Dan has another brain MRI, full body pet Ct scan, and EKG tomorrow. He has blood work on Saturday. All of these have to have the results that we need them to have for us to start his trial on Tuesday.
Prayers/hopes/wishes that everything works out!!! Thanks!
We also have found an apartment/hotel! It's at Memorial Sloan Kettering’s 75th Street Patient Residence - 411 East 75th Street. Yesss!!
We got the results back of Dan's full body pet and CT scans. The cancer has not gotten into any other areas which is good but it is still growing in previously known areas.
Dermatology got back to us today and the spots on his body are not lymphoma, fungal, or bacterial. They think that it might've been a reaction to a combination of drugs but the spots are definitely improving.
We have a crib mattress for Tyler as well as a crib for him to use when we are there. Thank you everyone for offering to help with this!
We are still working on finding a place for the car to be parked whenever Tyler and I are there. And I plan on coming back in for one or two times before the end of the trial after I coordinate with work.
For those of you who do not have Facebook and therefore do not see many pictures of our family, Dan is still able to walk around and play with Tyler on a limited basis. The majority of his pain comes from his back left flank which limits his typical bubbly self.
When we go out and do typical, normal fun things for our family, our spirits are really lifted. We are looking forward to tailgating with our friends tomorrow for a few hours.
Thanks all for your continued support
Dan and his dad are in Philadelphia today to see a kidney specialist since his kidney numbers/ function have not been the best and we want to make sure we are doing everything we can for them. He is also going to get his full body pet scan and CT scan while he is at Penn. These are requirements of the trial. He is going to see his oncologist there quickly too and might see a dermatologist because he has had some red dots show up on parts of his body. We aren't sure if it's from lymphoma or possibly something else so they might take some samples to test them in the lab. This will be determined after he sees his oncologist.
Dan is done taking his steroids at this point because we are nearing our start date for the trial.
We are waiting to hear back from one place in New York regarding an apartment for us to stay in. We hope this works out because it's actually somewhat affordable and they work with cancer patients on a regular basis. Fingers crossed!
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
I am still praying for all of you every day.
Dan, our family will be praying for you and yours. All the Best, - John Sharrar
Keep strong I am praying for your family you can fight this.
Lenny and I are praying for all of you .
God created a cure lemon grass tea cure without the poison of chemo Aunt told a stage four breast cancer the younglady is now cancer free the family now grows their own lemon grass .