Lorrie Blunck Yates is organizing this fundraiser.
Brandon was a typical 27 year old, college graduate, who was trying to establish himself as he searched for his ideal career fit. After working at a spinal cord recovery center throughout college and after graduation, the center was, unfortunately, closed. As he was looking for his next career, he started to lose weight unexpectedly and started to experience increasing fatigue over the course of several months. My father, Ed Blunck, had just lost his incredibly brave, many year, battle with colon cancer at the end of June. When Tyler, Brandon’s brother, and I flew into town on 7/27 to attend my father’s, his grandfather’s, celebration of life, we noticed Brandon’s appetite was greatly diminished and he was extremely pale. At Dad’s service, countless friends and family members commented on Brandon’s coloring and extreme weight loss. On 7/30/18, I took Brandon to a local primary care physician who, after examining Brandon, called an ambulance to have him transported to Temecula Valley Hospital. The doctors quickly established that he had a hemoglobin level of 5 (normal is 12) and began the first of many blood transfusions. He was admitted and the team of doctors began to search for the source of blood loss. A CT scan revealed a large mass in his abdomen. He was then scheduled for a colonoscopy and we learned that Brandon likely had colon cancer. We were all beyond shocked and devastated as we had never known of anyone so young being diagnosed with colon cancer. However, the doctors thought that a surgery planned for the next day would be successful in removing the cancer and that he might need some chemotherapy afterward. The day of his first surgery was every parent’s nightmare. After a little over an hour of surgery, the surgeon informed us that the mass could not be removed. Fortunately, my Dad had made a wonderful and lasting impression on his GI oncologist at UCSD which resulted in him giving his personal cell number to Larky, Brandon’s Grandma. She called him that night and he called her back on a Saturday morning to let her know that he and a surgical GI oncology partner would take on Brandon’s care at UCSD Medical Center, Brandon was transferred to UCSD by ambulance on Sunday evening and we were all beyond pleased with the wonderful care of the entire team. The original plan was for Brandon to recover from his surgery and head home to recover before beginning treatment with a second surgery further down the line planned to remove the tumor. After a few days, he was sent home. Unfortunately, after only two nights at home, Brandon woke up in severe pain and felt extremely ill. He returned to UCSD and after several tests, it was determined that he needed emergency surgery. His amazing surgeon came in on a Sunday evening and proceeded to perform approximately a 7 1/2 hour surgery on Brandon. He was able to remove the mass in the colon and resection his colon. He discovered that his tumor had ruptured within his abdomen and worked for hours to remove the infection. He was able to remove many, but not all, lymph nodes in the area. He had also previously feared that there was a spot on Brandon’s liver as well, but was also uncomfortable removing that spot during this already taxing and difficult surgery. We are forever grateful for his talent, competence and compassion. Brandon spent the next few days in ICU and then another week or so on the surgical oncology floor of UCSD since he started to show signs of infection. Brandon was finally released from the UCSD on 8/23. He was sent home on IV antibiotics, with a wound care regimen that his Dad and I have administered, and multiple other medical instructions. Due to the spread of the cancer, he was officially diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. His treatment plan for UCSD Cancer Center is being established and he is expected to begin chemotherapy after he has healed from his surgery and after he is no longer showing signs of infection. Throughout this entire ordeal, Brandon has made us incredibly proud. He is courageous and brave. As always, he is compassionate and incredibly kind. We remain extremely optimistic and just take things day by day. Fortunately, Brandon had signed up for Covered California’s PPO plan which allowed him to be transferred to and receive care at UCSD. Unfortunately, his health insurance does have a high deductible for medical care and prescriptions. His co-pay amounts are also fairly significant. I’m sure it is very similar to the coverage that many people of his age might have. At 27 years old, no one is expecting this type of a medical emergency. We are so grateful that he has the coverage that he does and we are exploring several other financial aid options to help cover the extreme costs associated with his medical care. We are beyond thankful for all of the love, support and prayers that we have received. Thank you so much for any support that you may be able to offer to help with Brandon’s medical care.
Lorrie Yates, Brandon’s Mom