In July 2015 Joe was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma. Doctor's removed the lesion on his arm and some lymph nodes and felt they had gotten it all. In June 2017 Joe began having back pain that became worse every day. After about a week he went into the doctor. Doctor's did xrays and found a spontaneous compression fracture that had been caused by a tumor. After further imaging, they some tumors on his liver and some in his lungs. At that time Joe was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma. After a second opinion in Seattle, it was agreed that Joe would ungergo radiation and immunotherapy in Bellingham with Seattle Cancer Care Alliance being available if needed. Before starting immunotherapy, Joe began to become increasingly weak and eventually unable to walk. Further imaging showed two more tumors on his spine and immediate neurosurgery needed to be performed to prevent Joe from becoming permanently paralyzed.
Joe was taken to UW Medical Center for spinal surgery where they removed most of his tumors and had pins and rods placed. After his surgery in Seattle, Joe began immunotherapy. After his first round of immunotherapy he did well for about a week, until he became confused and couldn't move his legs. Joe was taken to the ED at St. Joseph Hospital and more imaging was completed. This found Joe to have tumors in his brain. Joe was hospitalized for a few days and then began an intense/precise radiation therapy called radiosurgery. Joe again, began feeling better and was doing well until Monday when he began having abdominal pain. This pain seemed to resolve but then came back with a vengence on Wednesday. Joe was found to have a perforated bowel and more tumors found in his abdominal cavity. Joe is currently undergoing an 8 hour surgery and will then be sent to ICU. During all of this neither Joe or Tami have been working, as Tami has been taking care of Joe. The medical bills are starting to arrive and after hounding Tami, she finally agreed to a Go Fund Me page. She is very proud and has a hard time "asking for help". Anything helps to help them get through this extremely tough time. If you are unable to donate, please keep them in your prayers. Joe and Tami, as the do the rest of us, want to thank everyone for their love and support that has already been shown. Joe is a fighter and with your love and support it makes him fight harder. Thank you!!!
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- Chad Peterson
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