Justin's Journey

Our brother, 37 year old, Justin Meinert, started feeling “something in his throat” back in July 2017. After numerous trips to the doctor and being told it’s nothing or we don’t see it, he demanded a biopsy. The results came back malignant for a sarcoma cancer. In September, Justin was diagnosed with an extremely rare and aggressive form of cancer called Pleomorphic Rhabdomyosarcoma. The issue isn’t only the cancer itself, but the location as well; it is in his throat and lymph nodes of his neck. Chemotherapy was started in October. Two months of chemo did not shrink his tumors and was cancelled. Due to the growing tumor in his throat, Justin is unable to swallow/eat and has therefore lost a significant amount of weight. A jejunal (intestinal) feeding tube has been inserted and a permanent tracheostomy as well. Due to the trache, Justin is unable to get air past his vocal cords and cannot talk. He must write everything down. Tomorrow, January 2nd, Justin is having major surgery to remove the tumor in his throat and all of the lymph nodes in his neck. His Adam’s apple, voice box, vocal cords, and esophagus will be removed. He will be having major reconstructive surgery. This reconstructive surgery will require a tissue graft from his forearm to make an esophagus and a skin graft from his thigh to cover what is taken from his arm. We are told it will be a 14-hour long surgery with 2 teams of surgeons. The goals are to remove all of the tumors and make it so he can swallow food again. We pray that this surgery goes perfectly and his recovery is as best as possible. His most recent PET scan does show a lesion in his lung. Radiation is his doctors current plan for that. Justin is married and has two children; a 14 year old daughter and a 5 year old son. Their son has special needs; he was born with Tuberous Sclerosis and had brain surgery to remove seizure-causing, non-cancerous tumors. Justin and his wife, Michelle, chose for her to quit her job to be their sons primary care giver. Michelle is now also Justin’s primary caregiver. If you would like to donate to Justin’s GoFundMe account, it will be used to help pay medical bills, life expenses, and possibly alternative treatments if that route should be considered. Thank you so much for your positive thoughts and prayers during this immensely difficult time.With love and gratitude,Melanie Pereira and Heather Everhart (Justin’s sisters)


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Melanie Meinert Pereira 
Livermore, CA
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