The lung cancer Michelle has been stricken with is a rare cancer. She has a ALK gene Mutation which only 4% of lung cancer patients have. This is not a cancer caused by smoking.
In 1947, the Manhattan Project was completed in St. Louis, Missouri. The nuclear waste materials were dumped in what would become a residential area. SEARCH COLD WATER CREEK CANCER. There are over 3000 people with rare cancers in very small area. The ALK gene mutation is believed to be caused by long term exposure to ionized radiation.
Michelle is a victim, only guilty of growing up in an area contaminated with nuclear waste. Our government refuses to allow Missouri residents’ access to the Downwinders Fund. Only states used for testing the bomb are included. The A-Bomb was developed in St. Louis and the waste that was carelessly dumped has poisoned many in North St Louis County.
In early March of 2014, Michelle’s struggle began when she developed cellulitis of her arm and went to urgent care to have it treated. The doctor told her that her blood pressure was abnormally high and that she should go to the ER as soon as possible. Once in the ER, it was discovered that Michelle had a large blood clot in her arm plus several other clots in her lungs.
She was admitted to Progress West and a team of doctors started treating her blood clots, trying to determine the cause of this problem. Michelle was started on blood thinners. She was released one week later while the doctors searched for answers. In less than 48 hours, Michelle was re-admitted to the hospital for another week with acute pain resulting from an infection in her hip. Surgery was performed to drain her infection and she was sent home on intravenous antibiotics; a home health nurse came to check on her. She had a PICC line placed in her arm which allowed her to give herself intravenous antibiotics at home. She had to use a walker to get around and was in a lot of pain.
Michelle developed another blood clot. This time it was in her arm with her PICC line. She was admitted to the hospital again. Her PICC line was no longer safe to use and had to be removed. She spent several more days in the hospital and was sent home on blood thinners and strong oral antibiotics.
On Easter Sunday Michelle had trouble breathing and her life was in danger. This time she was rushed in an ambulance to Big Barnes from Progress West Hospital because of the seriousness of her situation. She was sent directly to the ICU where a team of professionals were waiting for her. She had developed new, very large blood clots in the shape of a saddle in her lungs plus blood clots in both of her legs. Her blood was considered to be therapeutically thin when these new blood clots formed. She had surgery and a filter was placed in her inferior Vena Cava to prevent the blood clots in her legs from traveling to her lungs. She then received very strong blood thinners called TPA. Michelle was not allowed to move while it was infusing and she was closely watched for bleeding.
Once she was stabilized, she was transferred out of the ICU. The doctors were concerned with her enlarged lymph nodes that were seen on her CT scans. They performed a Bronchoscopy and the news was not good. It was determined that Michelle has non-small cell lung cancer with an ALK gene mutation. The cancer was considered Stage 3b because it was not only in her lungs but also in two lymph nodes that are wrapped around her trachea making it non-operable. She spent 10 days in the hospital, was sent home on blood thinner injections and had to give herself shots in her stomach twice a day. She had a port placed as an outpatient procedure so she could receive intravenous chemotherapy.
In May 2014, Michelle qualified for a cutting edge clinical trial and was taking chemotherapy in the form of a pill. She was the first person in the country approved to take this pill with Stage 3b non-small cell lung cancer. She had a follow up CT scan on June 30th to see if the pill was working. Her tumors were smaller! All of them!
Unfortunately, they found new blood clots in her lungs. Her filter that was placed in the ICU was not working and was surrounded by blood clots. Michelle was admitted to the hospital for another 5 days. The cancer was causing her blood to clot. It was an uphill battle to find the right blood thinner for her.
The 3rd blood thinner failed. Michelle survived another “storm” of blood clots. She spent another 5 days in the hospital while being switched to blood thinner number 4 which was working. After being released she made it 6 days at home before being readmitted. This time Michelle had developed a rare internal lung sack infection and just like the hip infection, the doctors had no idea what caused it. After several procedures and surgery, Michelle had beaten the odds again. After another 12 days in the hospital, she was home again continuing the fight against her cancer.
Michelle received chemotherapy orally for another 2 weeks while the doctors tried to control her blood clotting and finished that trial in mid-August. In September, she began traditional chemo and radiation.
It is your thoughts and prayers that have helped Michelle and her family through this far. Please continue to pray for her and support Michelle in her battle to beat cancer.
This struggle caused Michelle’s husband, Mike, to miss much work over this 4 month fight and while they have medical insurance, the financial burden from their out of pocket medical expenses has become staggering; there are many more medical bills that have not yet arrived. That is why we have organized this Benefit for Michelle and her family. Please, be as generous as you see fit in order to ease their financial burden and relieve the emotional stress that this kind of challenge brings.
Over the last 4 months Michelle has beat insurmountable odds in this fight with blood clots. She is winning the early rounds in the fight with lung cancer. Her strength and determination are an inspiration. Please show your support.
DonationsSee top donations
- Caleb Meriweather
- Leigh Scarito
- Michelle Staed
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more