In February 2017 my family received devastating news that would change our lives forever.
We discovered that three of my five children have a genetic condition called multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN-2A ) that results in about a 95% chance of developing medullary thyroid cancer; an extremely rare, aggressive and potentially lethal form of thyroid cancer. This cancer is treatable if caught early and removed surgically. Fortunately, this seems to be the case for my son Anthony 17 years old and my daughter Alyssa 15 years who received the necessary surgical treatment before the onset of medullary thyroid cancer.
Unfortunately, my oldest daughter Ashlynn tested positive for medullary cancer at the young age of 18. We trusted her surgeon when he told us that the cancer was contained in her thyroid and would be removed with a thyroidectomy. However, after Ashlynn's thyroidectomy, her calcitonin levels remained elevated. These levels are a marker of the cancer and because they are elevated we know the cancer is still in her body. Even worse, we later learned that during the surgery, the surgeon failed to remove her lymph nodes to safeguard against cancer metastasis and even worse, the surgeon removed 3 of her 4 parathyroid glands. Typically, surgeons with sufficient experience with this procedure will save all 4 of the glands. Loss of all 4 glands causes a condition called hypoparathyrodism; a debilitating and life-long condition which dramatically reduces the quality of life.
So here we are. Ashlynn shows all indications of cancer. She requires more surgery to remove the lymph nodes as originally requested, and the risk of losing her last parathyroid gland is beyond frightening.
So I desperately began to research a specialist for this type of cancer. After late nights, I discovered Dr Gary Clayman in Tampa Florida. Dr Clayman reviewed my daughters case and expressed his regret that Ashlynn had not had her lymph nodes removed in the original surgery and she would require a subsequent procedure to remove the remaining cancer and lymph nodes.
Dr Clayman says he is confident he can re operate and remove the remaining cancer. He acknowledges the risk of losing the last parathyroid gland when he operates. Due to his experience and expertise the risk should be greatly reduced. Dr Clayman is not in my insurance network and our family is already drowning in unexpected medical debt.
I would greatly appreciate any help I can get to cover the out-of-pocket expenses to get this life saving surgery for Ashlynn. My daughter has been through so much. In the last year Ashlynn has had 10 surgeries most of them kidney related due to the calcium not going where it supposed to go in the body and creating large stones that obstructed both of her kidneys.
We didn't find out until February of this year that all of this is related to this genetic defect. Even through the pain from the stones and the stents and the constant nausea; Ashlynn overcame these obstacles and graduated high school and has kept a part time job. It takes every ounce of strength and energy she has. Ashlynn aspires to attend college and she needs this surgery (and a 100% successful one) to get her life back.
Any parent knows the heartbreak that seeing your child suffer causes. Ashlynn is 18 but she is still my little girl. I believe in the power of prayer and can only thank god that there is a chance to cure my daughter. As you can imagine between all of the surgeries our medical bills are overwhelming and continue to come in. I will be forever grateful for any donations to help us make this surgery possible. I understand not everyone is in a position to help monetarily but prayers and shares of this page are free and we can't get enough of those! Thank you for taking the time to read this and thank you in advance for any help you can give.
- Michael Gruber
- Brantley Johnson
- Christine Buchanan
- Brandy Agee
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