Cancer Sucks

On August 26, 2013, Liz was diagnosed with an inoperable Stage 2 Cervical Cancer. It was inoperable because the tumor had grown too large to safely and completely remove.  Her treatment plan included 36 rounds of radiation to shrink the tumor and 6 mild chemotherapy sessions. We finished those just before the holidays last year and decided to travel and enjoy our Christmas season visiting family in Puerto Rico.  We spent 2 weeks in Puerto Rico and another week in South Florida (I was on a business trip and she came along).  We really enjoyed ourselves.

In the end of January, we discovered that Liz's disability application was denied.  Even though she had cancer, they said she could "still work as a telemarketer, since it was something she did while she was in high school."  That was so ridiculous and roughly 20 years had passed since she did that job... Since then, she worked in public safety / law enforcement both in Orlando and in Boston through the years.  For them to come back with that was absurd. We appealed and are still awaiting a decision.

Liz was feeling so good and doing so well that we were on a "live for today" high.  We decided to try to conceive the baby we had been dreaming of for years.  We were successful on the first try; I got pregnant in March and am currently 31 weeks pregnant with a son - exactly what we wanted.  He is expected to arrive on the day before Thanksgiving, November 26, 2014.  Liam Jaxon is our greatest blessing. 

During that time, we also had problems with her health insurance. It took us over 4 months to resolve her insurance issues. My employer doesnt recognize same sex partnerships, so I couldnt add her to my insurance, she had a pre-existing condition making insurance costs near impossible to afford, and medicaid was denying her because of a technicality with the child support enforcement agency.  I had to write several letters to local congressmen and state representatives both in Florida and in Washington, D.C. to finally make headway with her insurance.  We finally got that resolved in April. 

In the end of April, she finally had the PET scan done that was due in January. It showed that there was still some cancer in her cervix and a lymph node in her right groin area also had some highlighted parts.  The doctor scheduled a hysterectomy right away and we got that done the first week of May.  They did a biopsy of both and found that there was active cancer in both.  But, even though they had been completely removed, her oncologist recommended another 6 rounds of an even stronger chemotherapy, which meant she would lose her hair. We started that right away at the end of May and she only made it through 3 sessions.  Her body wasn't handling them well at all and she completely stopped eating.  She didnt eat for over a month and lost a ton of weight.  I thought I was going to lose her. Thankfully, that wasn't the case in July.

But, they did do another scan of her abdomen, due to some new pains she was experiencing.  The results were completely shocking to us.  In May, there was only cancer in the cervix and one lymph node - which were both removed.  In July, it had spread to her liver, kidney, intestines, and abdominal wall.  They explained that this cancer was very aggressive and it had to be in her blood stream, which was causing it to pop up in various organs in her body.  At that point, they recommended we stop treatment and just enjoy our time together.  They gave her 2-6 months to live.  We were just devastated. 

Stopping treatment was the most difficult decision of all for Liz to make. Especially, since she wasn't ready to give up the fight. But, she was too weak. Not eating, not drinking enough, and tumors popping up everywhere was just draining her body of any energy to fight.  We came home with hospice care and have been trying to stay positive and fight this cancer with alternative methods from home ever since.

In August of 2014 (one year after she was diagnosed), Liz's condition started to deteriorate further.  She was throwing up over 20 times a day. There is a tumor that is obstructing her small intestine, not allowing any food to pass through. So, anything she ate or drank would sit in her stomach and eventually come right back up.  So, to alleviate the pressure of her stomach and give her some relief from the constant nausea and vomiting, we had a gastric tube put in which now drains her stomach contents into a bag 24:7.  Now, she can eat and has her appetite back, but it really adds no benefit.  Anything that goes in her mouth comes right out into the bag.  She has lost so much weight. When she was first diagnosed with cancer, she weighed 130 pounds. She weighs 84 pounds today.  We have her on IV nutrition to give her the electrolytes that she needs to at least prevent seizures... but she's already had three scary episodes with seizures, even while on the IV nutrition. 

With the seizures came chest pains and shortness of breath. We've been in and out of hte hospital several times since August.  In our most recent hospitalization (about a week ago) they reran the CT scan of her abdomen and found that the cancer had spread even further.  It is growing and spreading at an incredible rate. In August, it was just in one spot on her kidney, one spot on her liver, in her intestines, and in her abdominal wall. As of this scan - four masses in her liver - the largest being almost 8 cm large. She has four masses in her spleen - the largest being 5 cm. There is a huge mass in her right kidney and diffuse tumor encasement of the distal right ureter. Multiple tumors in various lymph nodes. Various tumors in the small bowel loops measuring up to 4cm. Another in the distal ileum and the terminal ileum is decompressed. In the abdominal wall every mass has worsened. In the left midabdomen, one of the tumors shrunk a tiny bit, but there are two others that are enlarging and they extend into the chest wall.

Her time is limited. We need a miracle. We truly do. :(

She is so strong; so loved; such a fighter; so admired.  I just adore this woman. To think that our time together is going to get cut short because of cancer really makes me angry. It kills me. I know that Liam will always know his mother because I will always talk about her to him, but I wish so badly for a miracle so that he can get to know her himself. She is the most incredible person I've ever known and a wonderful mother. She loves Liam so much. All she talks about is how she wants to meet him and hold him. Please God, give us that...

So I'm here on because the harsh reality of this all is that Liz may be gone soon and I will have to find a way on my own (we dont have any support from her family) to make her final arrangements. Furthermore, I will have to raise our son alone. He is not protected by any laws in Florida. We are not legally married yet(another item on our bucket list) and therefore, he will not even be eligible for social security benefits when she's gone. This is not fair. We made this baby together. We did everything together.

I can't belive I'm even talking about losing the love of my life - especially when I'm 7 1/2 months pregnant with the son we've so greatly desired......

Any assistance you can provide would be greatly appreciated and allocated towards final arrangements and a separate account for Liam. Thank you. Im at a loss for further words.  All I can say is that I am broken and numb.

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    • $30 
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    • $20 
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    • $30 
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Joan Vanessa 
Orlando, FL
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