Hi, I'm Caty. Paul McKenna is my father. Paul lives with my mother, Sara, in San Anselmo, CA, where he drives a taxi and she works in a restaurant. They will celebrate their 35th anniversary on July 14th. Maggie, my younger sister, rounds out our close-knit, nuclear family. Luckily, Paul gets a break from the female majority when Stian (my husband), Jason (Maggie's boyfriend), and Buddy (Maggie's Goldendoodle) come around for visits.
Paul is 65 years old. He is a poet, an actor, a writer, and a singer. He is creative, funny, sensitive, and a great storyteller. He would do anything for his family.
Over the past few months, Paul started losing weight rapidly and found it difficult to eat comfortably. He became very tired and weak, feeling winded after only a few steps. We lined up visits with endocrinologists, surgeons, cardiologists, and gastroenterologists to get to the bottom of things.
On June 21st, Paul was informed that he has Stage IV colon cancer. He has a large tumor in his lower colon with malignant spots in his lymph nodes, liver, and lungs. Paul had a clean colonoscopy 7 years ago; the tumor began growing silently some time after that, as colon tumors usually do.
Paul's surgeon and oncologist agreed that surgery would be futile and he began chemotherapy immediately. He spent 5 days at Alta Bates Summit Hospital in Oakland getting his first chemo blast, a 50-hour-straight infusion of 5FU and Oxaliplatin. We brought him home yesterday, where he'll rest until his next chemo round.
Paul has been unable to drive his taxi for weeks and he'll likely be unable to work for the foreseeable future. I have applied for SDI benefits on his behalf, but as an independent contractor, his benefit amount will be low or he may not qualify at all. Sara is now faced with supporting the household, although she too has to miss work regularly to drive to appointments and care for Paul.
I appeal to you now to support my beloved dad, Paul. His doctors are optimistic that chemotherapy will shrink his tumors and restore some feeling of health and strength. Your support will allow him to pursue treatment without fear of crushing medical bills, and will allow Sara to care for my dad and for herself with less worry about rent, food, and other basic costs.
This is very hard for me to write, but I'm motivated by the feeling that it's one of the most important things I've ever done. If you've been faced with life-threatening illness, you know that every day is full of unknowns. Our family love has brought us this far, and our fear and sadness are tempered by hope and determination.
We are so grateful for the messages of love and offers of help we've received from you all thus far. I humbly ask you now to support my dad with any amount you can spare to help pay for his medical and basic living costs during this challenging time.
With all our love and gratitude,
- Caty, Sara, Maggie, Stian, Jason, and Buddy