I am Chris Jacobsen's wife Cherll and I am writing on behalf of my husband of 32 years. We both attended Westbury High School in Houston. Chris was the class of '76 and I was the class of '78. We met in 1983 and fell in love. We have two adult children. Julie is married to Steven and lives in Michigan. Jeffery lives at home and works at Buckee's. We are very proud of them and who they are. Chris's cancer diagnosis has brought our already close family, closer.
In Jan. 2017, Chris was diagnosed with early stage bladder cancer. The doctor was very positive and started us on what he called the cookbook treatment. They zapped the tumors out and started him on BCG shots, stopped for awhile,and gave him maintence BCG shots. On Nov. 17,2017 they did a follow-up look and found a white spot. On Dec. 5, 2017, they went in again to take biopsies and find out if it was in the bladder wall. We were told that the tumor was in the bladder wall and muscle. The recomendation was to remove the bladder and prostate. Yes, you can live without a bladder if you have an ileal conduit and a urostomy bag. On Jan. 5, 2018 he went in for surgery. The doctor came out early and said he could not take out the bladder or prostrate because the tumor was too big. This was devastating because removing the bladder was a cure. He was stage 3 at this point. Several complications resulted from surgery. During Jan. he spent more time in the hospital than out and had another surgery because the incision broke open. Meanwhile he has has been accepted into a treatment program at M.D. Anderson. What a blessing!! Last Monday, we were told that his cancer is now stage 4. A few years ago this would have been bad news but it is not now. During our second appointment a patient came out of the office, rang the bell, and said he was a 5 year 4th stage bladder cancer survivor. There are several things they can do to attack this type of cancer, but the first is chemo. His first treatment is Feb. 26, 2018.
The Cost of Cancer
Also in Jan 2017, Buccee's called and told Chris they were interested in hiring Chris for a manager position. Chris was thrilled. Chris started in March and he loves his job. Going through BCG treatments was no problem. He took aleave of absence from Jan 4 - Feb 2. of 2018 because of the surgery and its after effects. They have been very understanding and supportive and extended his leave. Chris has very good insurance and MDA does accept it. Chris's benefits run out a the end of Feb. We can Cobra his insurance. We can not afford it and need help to continue with MD Anderson. MD Anderson is critical. When Chris's incision opened on the inside and out he was 1 week from being able to go back to work before Chemo. There are 2 weeks between chemo treatments and the doctor said he may be able to work part time and light duty in the second week but probably not right away. We have been able to make it this far. I also work and have not missed very much because of this. I will continue to miss some because of chemo and Jeffery helps a lot because his hours are different than mine. There are many expenses related to all this parking, doctor co-pays, gas to downtown, medicine co-pays and more. He has had many doctors before MDA and now. He was given a different medicine everytime he had a different doctor or every hospital. Most of them have been removed and not replaced. He will have several because of chemo and treating side effects. My check is going to this and smaller bills I normally pay. Jeffery is also helping with money as much as possible.
The Bottom Line
The cancer team has told us it will be 6 months to one year to have all of this under control. The amount needed to keep Chris on his insurance and help cover the majority of what he pays for 6 months is $14,814.
After 6 months he will be able to work more and less time off for me. Together and as a family God has seen us through many things and with MD Anderson he will see us through this.
Everyone who has listened to us, prayed for us, been a shoulder to cry on, brought us meals during the horrible month of Jan. and have just been there we are thankful and extremely grateful! We know you are not going anywhere during the journey to come. If you are unable to donate, please know your prayers are very important to us.
Thank-you for your support!
- Howard Roitenberg
- Russ Reagan
- Debbie Stricklin
- A Manuel
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