Team Timmy

His name is Timothy Hamilton and he just turned 27 years young on Septemeber 18th and is one of the strongest people you will ever meet. You instantly want to befriend him, his mood can change the room, but life continues to knock him down. In January 2012 he was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkins Lymphoma. He started chemo in February 2012 and continued until September 2012. On October 11, 2012 we got the news he had gone into remission. Slowly Tim began to regain his life, he went back to work and started trying to live again. The cancer and the chemo had really hit his body hard. Highs and lows happened but he worked through it all. And when it seemed like things were finally going in the right direction, with a job he enjoyed and getting his car fixed, and the scans continually coming back negative, BAM it all came crashing down. On February 18, 2014 he suffered a major ischemic stroke on the left side of his brain extremely affecting his right side and speech. Tim spent two weeks in the ICU and a week in the stroke unit before being moved to an acute rehab hospital. There was no obvious reason for the stroke, no history of high blood pressure, no clots present anywhere else in his body, all they found was a PFO in his heart which is how the clot traveled so quickly to the brain. Once transferred to rehab the original prognosis was that Timmy would never talk or walk again but his rehab doctor refused to believe that, she had a son his age and wanted to see him live again and not waste his life in a assisted living home. With a lot of hard work and some really great therapist after about 7 weeks in rehab he was walking with the assist of an AFO (a leg brace) and a hemi-walker and was also beginning to talk again. Sent home with great hope he would recover we worked even harder. Tim got Speech, Ocupational, and Physical therapy all at home and was learning again how to walk up and down steps and was regaining some stregnth and endurance again. We started going to movies, the mall, and Dave N Busters, sure it wasn't "normal" unloading and loading a wheelchair, and making sure we always practiced everything safely, but he was getting better. Home therapy stopped and we were trying to get financial help for outpatient therapy, it was going to cost us $315 a week for 8 weeks. One day spots started showing up on Tim's legs, and his mouth began to bleed. We made a doctors appointment with his PCP and when we got there we were sent straight to the ER, they knew something was wrong with his blood, he was bleeding from his mouth and those spots on his legs was him bleeding out under the skin. Once in the ER we found out his platelet count was down to 6,000 (the lowest you would want it to be is 150,000). What was causing this? Immediately we were on the phone with his oncologist (who had turned into his hematologist after the stroke) and his rehab doctor. The next day they wanted a bone marrow biopsy and were saying this looked like leukemia and he would be sent to another hospital where his oncologist worked out of, because if it was what they thought it was they wanted to start treatment ASAP. On August 9th of 2014 Timmy was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL). The good news was this type of leukemia was 80-90% cureable and they could start chemo immediately. On August 10th he woke up from a nap with a headache and his affected arm was completely numb. They rushed him down for a CT Scan and soon a MRI and found out that he indeed was having another stroke in the exact same spot of his brain the last one had occured. Tim was sent to the ICU to be closely watched because they really could not do anything but watch and wait, his platelet count was too low for blood thinners and he was at a high risk of bleeding. Luckily the brain did not bleed and they were able to continue with chemo while in the ICU. Timmy will continue to fight leukemia for at least the next year and due to the second stroke is being sent back to the acute rehab he was in before. We have started Team Timmy for two reasons: To show him there's a force of friends and family fighting for him even when he's too weak to fight and to help with medical and credit bills. The latter is really not as important as showing him that people care and love him. He beat cancer once and he beat the first stroke. He will overcome this.

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Annie Getyourgun 
Pittsburgh, PA
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