Daniel ~ Jai Jot's surgery fund

$20,468 of $35,000 goal

Raised by 330 people in 15 months
Created March 1, 2018
Daniel Jai Jot Higuera has been diagnosed with a rare skull base tumor that currently takes up a very large amount of space in his head, sinus cavity, behind his eye and in his brain. Although benign, it is massive and is pushing against several critical structures in his head and needs immediate surgery. 

Daniel is the guy whose smile lights up the room ~ drummer, percussionist, Kundalini yoga teacher, sound healer, a member of our community and a sweet loving friend to so many! He is about to go into an intensive 12 hour surgery with 3 surgeons, and really needs our help now!

Following the initial shock of the news, Daniel explored a variety of natural healing options, yoga, meditation, and other healing modalities for the past 3 months. Unfortunately, the latest MRI showed that the tumor has increased in size (5 golf balls!) and needs to be operated on immediately. Daniel ended up in the ER
last week with an intense episode related to his condition and since then has been having dizzy and nauseous spells, and extreme fatigue.

Below are some images of his MRI. As you see the entire area on the right side is taken up by the tumor. His emergency surgery is scheduled for March 7th. 

Let’s come together as community and help him through this super challenging time! 

These are just some of the things he will need during this process:
 Monthly insurance premium and co-pays
 Follow-up procedures, Lab Work, ENT follow-ups, etc.
 Possible additional surgery and reconstructive surgery.

Since he will not be able to work, teach, play music or drive, and will be on bed rest at least 4 weeks following the surgery, he will also need help with living and
transportation expenses. The total amount of recovery time, depending on what happens in surgery could be 6 months or more.




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Hi tribe!

Daniel's second surgery in Pittsburg UPMC was a success! He was in surgery for about 12 hours and is now recovering.
It was a very difficult surgery, and luckily he had a world class team of surgeons working together for the best possible outcome. He will be here in Pittsburg for about 2 more weeks until he is cleared for travel. The surgical team believes they got all of the tumor out this time, and are still doing some testing to confirm this.
Daniel is so grateful for all your amazing support love and prayers that you have blessed him with and sends a giant hug to each and everyone of you!
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From our lovely Daniel~

To all of my supporters and friends, thank you!!!! From the deepest parts of my soul! The funds have helped me immensely. This is a rather long but detailed update of my full story. What I have been going through and what I am currently going through. We've updated the GoFundMe goal in light of a necessary second surgery. Every little bit helps. And every share on social media helps as well! If you could share again that would be deeply appreciated.

Hi friends and family!

I'm sitting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania right now having just completed my first MRI out here at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. I wanted to give all of you an update on my health and what the next steps are for me. As many of you know I had my first oncological surgery for the resection of the sinus, eye and skull base tumor back on March 7th. Since then I've had a heck of a ride through my recovery process. Many days of bed rest, gaining strength back, and the most seemingly trivial things, like carrying a gallon of water, turning into a full blown workout. Many days of nausea, pain, and dizziness. It's only in the last week that I've began to really feel a semblance of being back to normal, though at times it still feels far from it.

The surgeons initially thought that most of the tumor was resected but they miscalculated. Upon reviewing the MRI they saw that they had actually left a fairly big chunk still pushing against the brain and a piece behind the eye. I found this out about three weeks ago while still feeling the post op feels. All of the neurosurgeons I've spoken to including ones from UM, Johns Hopkins and UPMC have suggested surgery sooner than later so that the mass doesn't cause severe damage. None of them believed that it was small enough for it not to grow.

The neurosurgeon in Miami offered surgery within 2 weeks of seeing him. It would have included a sacrifice of one of the two arteries in the brain and a craniotomy, which is an opening of the skull in order to gain access to the brain. They were also saying that bruising of the brain is a common thing that happens when they lift the brain up in order to gain access to the area in which they need to get to in my case. I scrambled for second opinions and got in contact with UPMC which is a leader in the field of skull base tumors. They've offered an approach that would not involve a sacrifice of the artery that is involved with the tumor and a minimally invasive approach. They would go up through the nose, make incisions at the roof of the nose and follow the channels that lead to the midline of the skull floor. They would proceed with drilling through there, cutting the vessels that are connecting the artery with the tumor and then resect the tumor from there. They may also have to remove a piece of bone next to the eye to aid in the resection process as well as to remove the remaining piece behind the eye.

Amongst that hustle of trying to find the best possible approach for this surgery, so that theres no diminishment of my quality of life, I’ve had a timing issue with my insurance in trying to switch hospitals for the procedure. I was in contact with the doctors at UPMC and had a pending surgery date but it wasn’t confirmed until this past Wednesday, the 18th, for this upcoming Wednesday, the 25th. All of this because the insurance was needing proof of need for surgery. So as soon as I got off the phone with the hospital I booked my plane ticket and made accommodations for the trip up here. I landed last night for my first scan today and five more appointments tomorrow. Tuesday I will undergo a cerebral embolization procedure like the last time. An embolization is when they enter the arteries of the groin and travel to a region of the body and blast coils or temporary glue in order to stop blood flow, in this case the tumor in my head. And then Wednesday I’ll be undergoing the endoscopic brain surgery.

I’m extremely grateful to all of you for having helped me on this difficult journey. It’s with a lot of ease, relative to the first surgery, that I now approach this second surgery thanks to the support of my friends, community, family and those of you whom I don’t know personally but have felt inspired to reach out in some way. I don’t think it’s often that someone approaches brain surgery with any semblance of calm and I owe that in great part to all of you. I’m grateful for all of the beauty this experience has brought into my life. I find myself in touch with my purpose and my truest desires of life. I woke up from the first surgery having had visions of tons of people praying for me while I was under. I heard the sound of “Om” vibrating the cosmos into existence and my being into existence. I saw humanity, in unity, through our roots and through our common fight for survival which is ultimately a form of love. The warmth of taking care of others forms family, which in many ways ensures our survival. I find myself consciously fostering a healthy relationship with the fact of my own mortality. And though there will be an ending to this precious experience of this world for me I find myself inspired to do and be what I feel I am meant to be while I’m here. It’s with great wonder and awe that I woke up from the first surgery. Eager to embark on a new phase of life. With a deep appreciation for the surgeons who worked on me and the intense amounts of studying and learning they did in order to provide the value they did for me in my urgent circumstance. I feel blessed by every encounter these days, even those that are less than pleasant. Grateful for all of you, infinitely grateful. Love to all, Peace to all, Light to all.
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Hi y'all :) This is an update from Daniel himself!!!

Hi, beloved friends and family! It's been almost two weeks since the surgery and I've had the urgent desire to update absolutely everyone but have not had the clarity of mind nor the energy to do so. These last two weeks have been infinitely enriching in many ways and amongst the many things that it has taught me the one that comes up for me at the moment is the gratitude, zest, and inspiration for life. All of your support will stay embedded with me forever and I'm so deeply grateful for the support that you have given me. I'm crying writing. Typing this. Some sort of miraculous cross currents came together to show me how loved and supported I am... I can't express enough how deeply these last two weeks have transformed my soul. From the GoFundMe started by my amazing partner Gina, to the surprise healing party thrown for me two days before the surgery and to the surgery itself and the experiences I had while I was "under" or right after and then waking up next to Gina Gorelik (who is a literal goddess in the flesh) in the ICU while I was still intubated....I've been floored over and over and over and over and over again by the care and raw love humanity has shown me is possible.

I was discharged from the hospital about a week ago since I'm not ill and the hospital could provide nothing more for me other than bed rest. The first surgery was six hours and the second surgery was 14 hours. The first was to do an angiogram and to block off the blood supply to the tumor. The second was the resection of the tumor which the doctor laughed and said was a "bloody, bloody mess". During the surgery, I lost close to my entire blood supply, between 4-5 liters and they transfused it back during the surgery. The tumor was highly vascularized and that amount of blood loss is something that tends to happen during these cases. The pathology confirmed that it was juvenile neural angiofibroma which tends to happen only to young adult males. The doctor commented that its formation was abnormal and that it's placement typically starts out different so one can tell something is growing before it gets as advanced as my case became. He said that he believes it had been growing somewhere around the range of 20 years.

The really good news of all of this is that my surgeons performed a spectacular job and did not need to perform the craniotomy that they had originally believed would be necessary. I woke up reaching for the area of my head that they said they would have to open only to be confused by the lack of stitches and pain in my left temple. They were able to use several openings the tumor had created in my skull bones in order to remove as much as they could in the intracranial portion. They had to leave 10-15 percent of it so as not to sacrifice one of my carotid arteries which they felt wasn't justified for a benign tumor and considering I'm outside of the age range for this type of growth now, they felt during the surgery it was okay to leave behind. I still have to monitor the piece they left behind.

Since the surgery, I've had all kinds of symptoms. Dizziness, nausea, off balance, pain in the sinus, eye and head and there was a facial nerve they had to remove so now I'm numb in a part of the left side of my face. Some feeling has been coming back, which I'm really grateful for! I have to rinse my nose out 3 times a day to get the remaining blood out from the surgery. My sinus is still healing and will be for about 6 months. They had to remove the sinus caverns, which are bones, in order to do the entire surgery endoscopically. I have hardly been able to walk and have needed assistance with the smallest of everyday things. My strength is returning a little more every day. The dizziness and nausea will come for hours at a time. I spend anywhere between 10-14 hours a day sleeping or resting

I have wanted to reach out to everyone who has reached out to me privately and who has donated. Please know that I have wanted to reach out to you and I've received your support and/or read your messages. When I'm in a space of greater ease and energy you will hear from me! I love all of you tremendously. Thank you so much for everything. All your kind words, all your donations, your hearts, your prayers, your lives. Blessings to all of you.
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Daniel is awake and stable!
Though he is in quite a bit of pain he is doing very well!

HUGE THANK YOU for all your generous donations, loving comments, thoughts and prayers!

He is truly blessed to have a beautiful heart centered community, incredible friends and amazing family!
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$20,468 of $35,000 goal

Raised by 330 people in 15 months
Created March 1, 2018
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