We are #StottlemireStrong, and we are fighting the unimaginable. As we prepare for the next life saving battle, we are faced with the financial crisis that cancer has imposed.
In September of 2016, my husband was diagnosed with Stage IV Adenocarcinoma of the Appendix. Appendiceal Cancer is extremely rare and aggressive, but Jim has fought his way through 19 months of chemotherapy, multiple surgeries, and a handful of setbacks. Still, he fights hard.
Family and friends, that's what keeps Jim going. Our life is abundant with both. With six kids, it is impossible to slow down! This has been a difficult journey for each of us, but particularly for our three youngest children, just 16, 12, and 10. They have watched their strong and invincible hero fight against cancer every day ... while continuing to work full time, coach their wrestling and baseball teams, always helping who he can, and maintaining his upbeat view of life. He inspires me and those who know and love him. He is determined to watch our children grow, but knows that time is no longer on his side.
An Appendiceal Cancer specialist in Pittsburgh has agreed to perform a cytoreductive surgical procedure, aimed at manually debulking the abdominal cavity of all visible disease, and followed by a heated chemotherapy wash known as HIPEC. This is a brutal procedure, often requiring more than 10 hours of surgically removing all, or portions, of any involved organs as well as the resectioning of the bowels. It is commonly known as the MOAS, or Mother Of All Surgeries. The procedure comes with great risk, but is also the last viable option for prolonging his life. A life that he deserves to live.
Having lost my job in the midst of his fight, I've not found a position that allows me to work around his treatments and appointments, and continue to be present for our children. I have not given up the search, but it has crushed us. Jim has been carrying our financial burden, with the help of our family and friends, but knows that this surgery will have a far reaching financial impact that we simply can't manage.
My pride has taken a backseat to my determination, and desperation. Our story doesn't end this way. We have so much more to do, and I cannot allow him to pass on the chance to watch our children grow up because we can't afford to save his life. I won't.