I pray that this finds you all doing well and in the best of health. It seems to me that recently, I post and share a lot of gofundme pages, but hopefully, it just seems that way because now I have another.
Fate, life, or whichever you choose to call it has not been very kind to one branch of our family or another.
Recently, my niece's husband, my brother Kevin Kruta's son-in-law, was involved in a horrific, life-threatening, & life-changing car accident, which left him paralyzed. And now, my daughter, Casey Jenkins, was diagnosed with a malignant pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor on April 26, 2017.
Casey is an RN, BSN at, of all places, Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Newnan, GA. She began working there PRN shortly after beginning her nursing career in 2011 to help bolster the family income and is the major breadwinner for the family. Casey so loved the attitude of the patients there--"An attitude of gratitude," as she says. She would always speak of how grateful and appreciative the patients and their families were. It meant so much to her and touched her heart in such a way that Casey chose to go to work full time at Cancer Treatment Centers of America to care for patients fighting every day over an insidious evil--seeing their determination and grit.
Casey has been there through the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful. She has heard the patients' and their families' stories: the hardships and difficulties, the good moments--victories both little and big, the financial hardships...all of it! She has seen the wins and the losses. She knows the fight, and now the fight is hers!
Casey will be having surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina, (MUSC), on Thursday, May 25, 2017. Prior to surgery, she will have to be tested for a rare inherited generic disorder called MENS1 (Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Syndrome type 1). What the course of treatment will be post operatively will be determined with whatever the doctors find. To say that the medical bills will be overwhelming is, as the saying goes, quite an understatement, as Casey has been dealing with one health issue or another stemming from, as we now know, possibly MENS1 related symptoms since July 2013, when a nodule that the doctor called a "pituitary adenoma" was found on her pituitary gland and a nodule was found in her lung. A second lung nodule was recently found as well. The doctors were always, as they said, "keeping an eye on it because she is young." Then, this past August, she had surgery to remove a recurrent complicated ovarian cyst. It was after this surgery that Casey was not able to "bounce back".
On the second day post op, she was having severe symptoms seemingly unrelated to her recent surgery along with unrelenting pain with incredible weight loss. She could never get any relief or answers from her attending physicians. Upon Casey's and my persistence, the doctors finally investigated further. In December 2016 after a bout of pancreatitis, they found pancreatic divisum after an MR CP and suspected Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction as well. They also found what they said was a cyst. "It's a tiny cyst, probably leftover from the recent bout of pancreatitis...too small to biopsy," they said. And, the infamous, "She's young. We'll keep an eye on it."
We asked for a referral to a pancreatic specialist at MUSC, who we saw on April 26, and who, thankfully, found and diagnosed the tumor in a matter of hours. Unfortunately, the diagnosis of pancreatic divisum and Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction we were expecting turned out to be something much more serious. The "tiny cyst" turned out to be a tumor that had rapidly grown larger since the MR-CP in December. And here we are, barely five short months later, my daughter is getting ready to a have a malignant pancreatic tumor removed.
I've only mentioned the one previous surgery, but there have been too many others between 2013 to present to list. So, the medical bills have been mounting for some time now. Casey has continued to work through all of this to the best of her ability, as has her husband. But, with all the time off for appointments, surgeries and recoveries, the days HAVING to take off because of feeling so sick that she can't move, (and believe me, she does this as little as possible), she has used all of her sick, personal, and vacation days. Therefore, Casey, who is the major breadwinner of the family, has no available time to use.
Casey and Jeff have two beautiful children, 4-year-old Aiden, and two-year-old Emma, who are their pride and joy and the apples of MY eyes. I help Casey with the kids, and getting to and from appointments as best I can, but there have been, and will be more, days that Jeff has to take off work to help care for Casey and the kids. So, income is getting less in that aspect as well.
I am asking you all to please help my beautiful daughter and her family. Please consider supporting Casey and her family by contributing towards her exuberant expenses associated with her upcoming surgery for removal of this malignant pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor and treatment thereof, which will also include numerous trips to Charleston, SC. All the prayers, good thoughts/wishes/vibes, and love that you can send up for and out to her would mean so very much. Financially, ANY help that you could possibly afford to give, I humbly ask you to PLEASE find it in your heart to do so. There is no possible way to put into words how much ANY type of support that is offered will mean to us ~ To the very depths of my soul will I be forever grateful.
Those of you who are parents will know in your heart what I mean and will understand completely. Those of you who know Casey, well then, you already know.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to read this and for whatever support you can give.
May God bless you all.
- Whitney Long
- Deanna Juszczyk
- Jodie/Tiffany Quinton
- Crystal Corazzini
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