Russ started having problems swallowing back in July 2017. Tina made an appointment with an ENT as they thought it was in his throat. At the ENT appointment a barium swallow test was ordered to determine the cause of the painful swallowing/difficulty with swallowing. When this test was performed they found abnormalities at the end of Russ esophagus and into his stomach. The ENT referred them to a GI.
At the end of September 2017, Russ was originally diagnosed by the GI with Stage 3 Esophagus Cancer known as an Adenocarcinoma, later confirmed to be a Stage 4 when the PET scan found a small spot on his liver which made the cancer metastatic as it traveled to other parts of his body through his blood stream. The diagnosis was simply crushing to Russ, his wife Tina, their family and friends.
He had a rough start and was hospitalized 3-weeks in a row. His 2nd hospitalization, he was taken from the cancer center via ambulance as he needed an emergency blood transfusion in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, they couldn’t wait as his tumor had been bleeding. He was admitted into the ICU and received 7 bags of blood as he lost 75% of his blood. They said he was lucky to be alive and he must have an Angel looking after him, he agreed and said yes it is my wife. Tina called the ambulance to get him at home for his 3rd hospitalization. When the paramedics arrived he had a 104 fever and had to get him packed on ice. He is determined to fight and will not give up!! He told Tina, they have a wedding to plan!!
With a significant reduction of income for Russ this account is set up to help cover medical expenses, prescriptions, union dues to keep his medical insurance needed for treatments, household expenses, food/basic necessities, care for their pets they adore, and other unexpected costs associated with this difficult journey they are faced with. In addition, any treatments that are not covered by medical insurance. Also, if he is off more than 6 months, which more than likely he will be, they will need to start paying for their medical insurance. But they need income and are still trying to get back on their feet from this nightmare that has entered their life.
Russ so far undergone 27 radiation and 5 chemotherapy treatments at CDH Cancer Center in Warrenville, IL. They did another PET Scan on November 30, 2017 to access him after the treatment. Unfortunately, even more horrific news on December 1 and certainly not the results Russ and Tina had hoped for. The tumor in his esophagus has shrunk, but the worst is the chemo didn't work on his liver. The original spot on the liver is now bigger and are few more spots have shown up on his liver. Also a spot on his bone in his lower back. They are still very hopeful and positive they're wrong or that considering they did the PET Scan so soon things lite up and it's a false positive. Prayers for this outcome!
They are headed to The University of Chicago Thursday to meet their team to get another opinion and see if they will have a more aggressive and better treatment plan for Russ. Time is of the essence before the cancer spreads more.
If all else fails getting Russ the proper care he needs here at home, last week Tina registered and got him accepted to MD Anderson in Houston, TX, which not everyone gets accepted at this top cancer hospital. She is also looking into other top cancer hospitals – Mayo Clinic, John Hopkins, Memorial Sloan, Cleveland Clinic and a few other that specialize in Esophageal Cancer.
Tina is also looking into clinical trials and other alternative treatments that are not covered by insurance. She is making sure to bring Russ to some of the best hospitals anywhere and provide him with the best care. Although, we don’t yet have all the information regarding specific details around potential trials and others treatments Russ will need in the future, we need to act fast. Things will move quickly once he is accepted into any programs at renowned hospitals Tina is looking into. If Russ is approved to be treated at one of these top hospitals out of state, they will also incur travel and lodging expenses to be out of town and Tina will need to take unpaid time off work.
Russ is a man of simple tastes. He’s not a doctor, lawyer or business executive. However, he is a wealthy man in what really counts: love of family and friends. Thank you to the all the extended family and all the wonderful friends that Russ and Tina have collected throughout their lives that are currently traveling beside them on this long and winding road. God did not intend for them to do life alone, so with you all by their side, they know they will get through this.
Please help by donating whatever you can, however small or large the amount may be. Every dollar will help bring Russ one step closer to full recovery and help with the day to day costs in his household and any other necessities.
The survival rate on this cancer is very low – 5% at this stage, this is why time is critical on getting him the proper care immediately and the best care.
Thank you for your consideration and generosity. Please share this fundraiser far and wide. Those who may not have the means to donate, will hopefully be able to share the link and spread the word.
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