Jay had a mass in the left frontal lobe of his brain.
The neurosurgeon was able to remove almost 100% of the tumor and identified Jay's tumor as something called astrocytoma. It was removed, but it is malignant and will come back. Graded on a scale of 1 to 4, Jay's is a 3, or anaplastic astrocytoma. It requires more aggressive treatment.
Surgery went well, but complications set in after surgery. Jay developed blood clots that caused two small strokes. One slightly affected his vision, the other was in his brainstem and caused weakness on the left side of his body, affecting his ability to walk and communicate.
For Jay, this meant a longer stay in the ICU and instead of coming home from the hospital, he was transferred to a rehab facility. Returning home six weeks later, Jay began radiation treatments and began the arduous journey to reclaim control of his body with ongoing physical therapy (PT), occupational therapy (OT) and speech therapy sessions.
And then, the bills began to arrive.
Jay's out of the critical part of his treatment. His hair is growing back, he's able to walk with a cane and he no longer needs assistance climbing the stairs in their home. But he's not done yet. He's continuing his PT, OT, and speech therapy appointments, he's working to regain his stamina (He can stand for at least 30 minutes now!), and he returns to Seattle every other month for an (expensive) MRI and follow-up appointment.
So, there will be more bills and expenses to come.Jay's disability insurance covers only 65% of his income, and drops to 60% on December 1. Although their medical insurance is great, it doesn't cover 100% of Jay's expenses. And, on January 1, they'll have to start over in reaching their deductible before any medical expenses are covered.
Their budget was tight before Jay's diagnosis. Jen borrowed money to pay the first round of medical bills. And, we still don't know when Jay can return to work. His job is physically demanding and requires him to drive "” a lot.
Jay's wife, Jen, is struggling to maintain her full-time work status to maintain their medical benefits, while continuing her roles as wife and mom, not to mention her added responsibilities as Jay recovers. Their son, D.J., is a high school senior, and their daughter, Rachel, is an 8th grader.
Jay and Jen have always taken pride in being hardworking, self-sufficient and independent. So, they have a hard time asking for help. Jen keeps telling me that she is already so thankful for all the meals given to them, all the drivers and caretakers who enabled her to go to work while they attended to Jay, all that so many people have done for them already "” that she can't bring herself to ask for more help.
So, I'm asking for them.
I hope you'll help me relieve the financial duress this family is under, so they can just concentrate on Jay's healing. My goal is to raise $7,000 before Christmas to help them get on top of their existing bills and, more importantly, relieve some of the stress of their situation. It's been tough enough dealing with the cancer. I hope you'll help me spread some holiday cheer!
Thank you so much,
For Degnan updates, see their CaringBridge journal here:
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