Christina's Beat Cancer Campaign
November 11th, 2016: This was the happiest day of our lives. After over 3 years of dating, I finally proposed and she said yes! Christina could now put all of her attention on wedding planning rather than anxiously watching my every move.
January 1st, 2017: We celebrate our last few months of being "single" according to government forms.
January 5th, 2017: In the midst of planning for our wedding in October, Christina begins having difficulty breathing while walking up the stairs to our apartment. She wanted to wait and see if it got better before heading to the doctor.
January 7th, 2017: After being unable to sleep laying down, Christina tries to find a doctor that will take new patients on Saturday, but the best she could do was get an appointment Monday morning before work. By this time, she had done some research and determined that she most likely had walking pneumonia.
January 9th, 2017: Christina goes to her appointment and gets a chest x-ray. The doctor informs her that there appears to be a large amount of fluid in her right lung and she should go to the ER. The inital diagnosis is severe pneumonia and will require her to be admitted for a day or two. After we arrive at the ER, she has a CT scan performed to better understand the severity. Until this point, the staff were light-hearted and cracking jokes. When the doctor walked in after seeing the scan, there was noticeable change in demeanor. The CT scan revealed that fluid was not in her lung, it was outside the lung. Essentially, the fluid was collapsing her right lung. The cause of this fluid build-up was attributed to an 11cm mediastinal mass sitting above her heart. This was the first time we heard the word "cancer". At this point, it was only a possibility, but it was still the last thing we expected.
February 8th, 2017: Christina finally leaves the hospital. Since first arriving in the ER a month ago, she had a chest tube inserted, stayed in the ICU for 6 days, had a drain tube place below her heart, transferred to Moffitt Cancer Center, confirmed her diagnosis of T-Cell Actue Lymphoblastic Lymphoma (ALL), received her first round of chemotherapy, and finally had the drain tubes removed. Today is the day she finally got to be reunited with her dog, DJ. Today was a good day.
February 16th, 2017: Christina decided to transfer her treatment to the University of Chicago Hospital after much debate regarding two different treatments. Her new treatment would be strictly outpatient and would spread the chemotherapy over weeks rather than days.
February 21st, 2017: Christina started her first cycle of the new regimen today. She found out that the mass was now 8 x 4 cm! Just before starting treatment, it was 13 cm! Although this regimen will last 7-8 months, we are excited to know that the chemo is working!
Why create this campaign?
We have not yet received the larger bills from the multiple hospitals and providers yet. So far, there are only a few coming at a time, but they are quickly piling up.
On October 21st, 2017, I am going to marry Christina. I want this to be exactly what she was planning before everything happened. Family members already put money down on various deposits, and we want to alleviate some of the financial burden on those footing the bill for her medical expenses.
Other ways to contribute:
Gift/Gas Cards (traveling to hospital 4 days/week)
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I know each of our lives can be hectic at times, but I am truly thankful that you took the time out of your day for Christina.
Last week, we recieved some unfortunate news. Christina’s cancer has relapsed and there is another 8 x 7 cm mass in the same location. The mass is causing fluid buildup around her right lung just like last year.
After consulting with her oncologist at Moffitt, our best option involves 2 months of intense chemotherapy (with the possibility of radiation therapy) followed by a stem cell transplant.
While there will be costs involved with these treatments, the most important gift we can receive at this time is a perfect match for a stem cell donor. If you haven’t already, please visit bethematch.org to sign up as a donor. They will send you a kit in the mail which will be used to add you to their database. Even if you are not a match for Christina, you could help save someone’s life.
Thank you for the continued support each of you have given us. It has and continues to help us immensely.
In the midst of all the turmoil going on lately, I think we all need some good news.
Christina has completed her intense chemotherapy cycles and today is her first day of maintenance therapy! On top of that, she's busy packing and planning how she will spend her first week back in Tampa next week!!!
Do you need more good news, well I've got some for you...
On October 21st, our parents will be joining us in Tampa for an intimate gathering where Christina and I will commit to each other in marriage for the rest of our lives. I think we've proven that we will be there for each other in sickness and in health.
We will have another ceremony and reception next year, at which we hope to include the rest of our family and friends. We both want her to have the energy to enjoy the entire day of events which a wedding normally entails.
2017 has been a daunting experience for us, but you, our friends and family members, have been our strongest supporters. Despite cancer, hurricanes, and distance apart, Christina has shown just how strong she is by fighting back with all of us in her corner.
Today is just the first day of her maintenance, but we are very hopeful for all for the days to come in our life together. Once again, you have proved just how strong a simple act of kindness can be.
While we both understand that asking for donations at this time is compounding with all of the other campaigns, we welcome any and all donations to help with medical bills or medical-related travels (monthly visits and procedures).
At the very least, we hope you can see that offering support through words, actions, and prayers truly does have an impact on those in need. We thank each you every day for your continued support.
Throughout this entire process, Christina has been poked and prodded, driven to and from the hospital weekly, and dreaded answering the question "How do you feel?". Despite every day being a new journey, she fought through it. She forced herself out of bed (moaning and groaning some days) to face her cancer one on one. She fought and continues to fight because she won't let her cancer get in the way of her life.
All of those who helped her along the way are to thank for this. The physical pain and emotional turmoil was eased with the best medicine known to man: compassion and encouragement. From the teams of doctors, nurses, and hospital staff that put her needs first (there are a few excluded from this list) to those who have helped raise these funds, sent messages, and made visits when possible, we thank each of you.
We know that many people don't get to hear the news Christina heard today. It is a truly humbling experience to realize just how lucky we are. But it wasn't all luck. It was a lot of work for Christina and a lot of sacrifices were made, but we have made it to this point and are charging forward thanks to your support.
Every donation, message, and prayer has been and will continue to be an inspiration to keep moving forward.
If you haven't already, be sure send a celebratory shoutout to Christina, the strongest woman I know!
She is doing well, but doesn't want to think about the next cycle. She's looking forward to getting back to sunny Florida.
Thank you for keeping her in your thoughts and prayers!