On June 25th, Joe was admitted to Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, CO with serious back pain. An MRI revealed what was thought to be a spinal cord hemorrhage. After a 4-hour emergency surgery, the doctors discovered Joe had 3 large tumors on his spine, but we're unable to remove them. Testing revealed the tumors are cancerous, calling it Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Joe has 2 inoperable tumors on his mid spine and 1 in the lower spine.
Joe has lost some motor skills and feeling in his legs, so he's unable to walk. He's in the great care of Dr. John Burke, the lymphoma specialist at Rocky Mountain Cancer Center. Dr. Burke stated the cancer is very aggressive and because of its location, it’s treatment resistant. The R-CHOP recipe that’s normally used to treat lymphoma is not effective once the cancer had involved the nervous system. There are other drugs, and the Dr has a plan to use them.
I hope this find you and yours doing well I wanted to give everyone an update on Joe. On December 26th, 2017 we heard the magical words “ You are in remission” The large tumors on Joe’s spine have disappeared. This is such amazing news for our family! After almost 6 months in the hospital Joe was able to go home to his family and they were able spend the holidays together. This was an answer to prayer. Keep those prayers and good vibes coming. We are in the “race” for the long haul. Though the cancer is gone the aftermath has been devasting.
Joe’s body has been terribly beaten with intense chemo for nearly 6 months. He is still dealing with loss of motor skills and feeling in his legs. His body is VERY weak as well. Joe has had several blood transfusions in the last 30-45 days in hopes to help his platelets, hematocrit and hemoglobin levels. At this point Joe is receiving PT and OT at their home currently. We will wait 90-120 days for the rest of the chemo to leave his body. At that point the Dr’s will re-evaluate and make a game plan for the future.
After speaking with Liz I wanted to let you know of a “need” they have. Since Joe has been out of work since early July things financially are not looking the greatest. The long term disability helps pay for the mortgage and household bills. So grateful for that! However they have some hospital bills that were not covered prior to supplement insurance. This would include major back surgery plus a couple weeks in the hospital. Not to mention prescriptions drugs will cost them $15.00 each, Joe takes 28 meds to help with this aftermath. As you can see there is not enough $ to go around to pay all of the bills and to make sure there needs are meant. This is where you and I can help. “Many hands make the load lighter” Let's help ease the burden for this family!
I'm going to raise the goal to $40,000 for the “Antonio Family Fund. If we can meet that goal, as something fun to do I'll dye my hair Lime green. If you don't know Lime green is the Cancer awareness color for Lymphoma. I thought this would be a fun idea. I will even do a “live” video so you can see this blonde hair go to Lime green. How fun would that be? We thank each and everyone of you for standing with us on this journey. On behalf of the Antonio & Samp Families. We are forever grateful to have friends and families that have supported us through this time. Thank you for the calls, texts, meals, playdates and visits. WE couldn't do this without you.