"You have Cancer" is the scariest phrase in the world when you thought you were one of the healthiest people that walk the earth.
Hi, my name is Carrie. My husband, Dustin, was diagnosed with Stage IV FHC (Fibrolamellar Hepatocellular Carcinoma), a rare form of liver cancer in June 2011. This cancer usually affects those in the mid-to-late 20's-30's and doesn't target a specific gender. Due to its being such a rare cancer, noone knows what causes this cancer. FHC only affects 1 in every 5,000,000 people. There is NO cure.
In July 2011, he underwent a major surgery, removing the left side of his liver. The cancer had already spread to his lymphatic system. After healing from surgery, he was put on a adjuvant chemotherapy to kill off any residual cancer that might have been left behind from surgery. After 6 months of 3 very expensive, intense chemotherapy, he had a CT Scan and a follow-up MRI that revealed he had 8 more tumors that had grown in the meantime. After trying IV chemo for two months and seeing little to no change, the oncologists felt the need to go in and do a "debulking surgery", removing as many tumors as they can see or get to. This was done on July 3rd, 2012. The doctors were able to remove 6/8 of the tumors with success. Surgery will follow up with chemotherapy or possibly radiation to hopefully shrink or remove the other tumors that were left behind.
Dustin has always been in good spirits and ready and willing to do whatever it takes to get back to some type of normalcy in our lives. We will fight this battle as long as we have to and we are ready to take it on with force. He is strong, and without his strength, I wouldn't have the strength I need to do this.
After he has recovered from his surgery, we will be making our way from Eastern NC to MD Anderson Cancer Center, Texas for evaluation and to make sure that our oncologist is doing what is best for him at this time. MD Anderson is a very popular cancer center that sees and treats this type of rare cancer. Only about 100 cases are known at this time worldwide. There is not much information out there on this cancer, treatment is all done from trial and error, which is very disappointing to those that face this battle daily.
In only one years time, and after insurance has paid what they could, we still owe the hospital and multiple other medical providers over $15,000. After his recent hospital stays and chemotherapy sessions in the hospital, his medical expenses will total somewhere around $20,000-$25,000. He has been out of work since his last surgery. I am working as often as I can, but helping Dustin get to and from doctor appointments, treatments and other places, and helping take care of our children, I don't get to be at work but a few days a week. I am also currently enrolled in school. We try to pay our bills on time but sometimes that doesn't happen because I have a big medical bill to pay before they turn me over to collections. I have never liked asking people for help, ever! But there comes a time in your life where you have to step back and look at the big picture and admit that you need help, whether it be financially, spiritually, emotionally, and/or physically.
We have two children, Ty who just turned 4 and Cameron "Cam" that just turned 2. They have a hard time understanding why Daddy can't play with them sometimes. We do our best to explain it to them but like I said before they are only 4 & 2.
We know that God holds our future and no matter what we do, He is the only one that knows what the future will bring for us. It is just hard, dealing with a cancer that noone knows anything about.
I'm hoping by taking this leap of faith, someone out there will help us.
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