My name is Cass, and I’m an Australian living in California with my husband, Dave. On my birthday in late July, 2017, I went to the ER with severe abdominal pain and emerged eight hours later with a stage four cancer diagnosis. I was previously asymptomatic and living a full and happy life. Our world has been turned upside down.
My life is in danger, and we need your help. The type of cancer that I have is very rare and aggressive. The best treatment options for me are those that are integrative, and complementary to conventional chemotherapy, with little or no coverage by my health insurance company. And, they are expensive.
Currently, we're trying to raise $100,000 to cover two cycles of Insulin-Potentiation Low Dose Chemotherapy (IPT) that run approximately $30,000 a cycle. I also have the option to explore a few targeted therapies and vaccines that run about $15,000 a pop. And the alternative therapies we've been investing in for symptom management and support run about $4,000 a month. Since diagnosis, we've spent over $20,000 on my care, and we're just getting started.
My goal is to spread the word and have our family and friends, and their communities help me on my journey.
More about me, my cancer and treatment so far:
My type of cancer is called Mixed AdenoNeuroEndocrine Carcinoma (MANEC), with a urachal primary. Cases of MANEC are very rare, MANEC’s with a urachal primary are virtually unheard of, and in someone of my age, an anomaly. I’m one of a handful of cases worldwide. If you search "MANEC urachal" on the internet, you'll see what I mean.
This rare diagnosis means that my treatment is a crapshoot. There are no protocols to follow, no studies to qualify effective treatments -- there simply aren’t enough of us to test on.
My treatment started with two cycles of Cisplatin/Gemcitabine (GemCis), which held the cancer steady, but was very difficult and left me without any quality of life. Given this, we decided to explore immunotherapy as the next best move.
I was accepted and then disqualified from participating in an immunotherapy trial at the National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health (NCI/NIH) in Maryland. As part of my onboarding, I had an MRI on my brain, which found small spots in my left frontal lobe. This was in addition to the cancer that I have in my bladder, urachus, ovaries, lymph nodes, left pelvic bone, lungs and multiple large tumors in my spleen and liver.
I'm currently now being treated with a chemotherapy regimen called FOLFIRI (Fluorouracil, Leucovorin and Irinotecan Hydrochloride).
I will not be a reluctant participant. Our goal is to use both conventional and integrative treatments to lengthen the runway for as long as possible, so we can figure out how to switch this cancer off. I believe I have a great shot at it. I'm not done with life just yet, I still have a ton of things I want to do!
More about me and my progress can be found at: CassKickingCancer.com.
Please join me on my journey, I'd like your company.