I’m not sure how to even begin to explain what is happening to my brother’s family. On Wednesday, February 21st my sister-in-law, Amanda, gave love and kisses to her family on her way to work. In route, she stopped to have a scheduled medical test performed. You see, Amanda had been experiencing some swelling in her legs which had been misdiagnosed as something related to giving birth to Emery, who is now 6 month old. Upon completion of the test, Amanda’s life was turned upside down. The medical staff hastily relocated Amanda to the emergency room at Obici Hospital and assembled the best team of medical professionals they could muster. The preliminary diagnosis of a large mass in her Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) sent Amanda a clear message that life as she knew it was hanging on a balance. As you would expect, her first call was to her husband, Scott. He knew he needed to support her but hoped that this nightmare would soon be cleared up as a really big mistake. With the doctors collaborating, it slowly began to sink in that this nightmare was indeed a reality. The large mass measures about 6 inches long and located inside of her IVC, the largest vein in the human body that flows blood from the lower half of your body directly back to your heart. The doctors’ briefed Amanda and Scott regarding the severity of the condition as being life threatening. Both Scott and Amanda are beside themselves, as I am sure you all can imagine, with the fear that this disease is threatening Amanda’s life. They have a 6 month-old little girl Emery, a 3 year-old little boy Ian, and an 18 year-old daughter Haleigh. This can’t happen to them. No, not them. They have children to raise and memories to make. On Thursday, February 22nd the medical team from Obici proceeded cautiously and enlisted the services of a regional group of biopsy specialists to acquire a tissue sample without breaching the vein, which is very dangerous in itself. On Friday, February 23rd they received news that the mass in Amanda’s body was in fact a very rare leiomyosarcoma (cancer) inside of the IVC, requiring an en bloc resection which is the complete removal and replacement of the main vein in your body. This procedure has only been performed 41 times over a 12-year period. With the medical team and family all researching which hospitals had any experience doing this type of rare, specialized procedure they were pointed to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota as being the only option. Scott and Amanda will be leaving their home next week to start this journey to the Mayo Clinic for treatment. They are in the process now of finding a temporary place to stay in Rochester just a few blocks from the hospital. They were told the mean follow-up period was 24.9 months (range: 2-98 months). The prognosis depended on the type and stage of the tumor. They will be taking their two small children with them so that Amanda can spend as much time with them as possible.
To say this has been overwhelming to Amanda and Scott would be an understatement. They are scared and they do not know what to expect. Scott and Amanda are not the type of people who ever ask for help. If you know them, you know they are the ones who are ALWAYS helping others. I can’t sit back and let them go through this alone. They need help, support, and encouragement from their family and friends. You hear these stories happening to other people, but never think it could actually happen to you or your loved ones. Our family wants do everything in its power to make this difficult time easier for them. Anything we can take off their plate, will make this unimaginable reality just a little bit more manageable. Amanda is the sweetest, kindest, and most selfless person that anyone in our family has ever met. There is not one mean bone in her body. She would do anything for anyone. She is an amazing wife, mother, daughter, and friend. I wish we could all be more like our sweet Amanda. We all feel so blessed to have her in our lives. Please keep Amanda, Scott, their children and our family in your prayers. I ask that all my Praying Warriors pray hard for Amanda’s health and healing.