David Blanco's Home Care Fund

My Dad's cancer journey began in October 2013.  He was diagnosed with Nodular Melanoma (an aggressive form of skin cancer) under his fingernail on his right, and dominant, hand.  One month later, he underwent surgery to remove his finger and metacarpal.  After further testing, they did not see any more of the cancer.

For three years, there were no signs of any cancer recurrence.  Then last year in November, they found the cancer in that same hand.  Last November, he underwent a complete hand amputation.  Although it was difficult to learn how to go through life now with one hand, he began to become a little more independent.  He still relies on my mom for certain things, but he has done a great job in adapting to single-hand life, and training his left hand to become the dominant one, all while still running a business.  

In May of this year, an MRI revealed that the melanoma had metastasized throughout my Dad's lungs (and now stomach), and he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer.  He underwent immunotherapy treatment for a while, but those medications were causing some life-threatening side effects, so they had to stop.  He then had to take some hormones/steroids to help alleviate the side effects.  This caused muscle weakness in his legs, which made it difficult for him to walk.  We discovered that there was a direct correlation between the steroids and his difficulty in walking.  When he came off those steroids, things got a little easier for him.  

His Kaiser medical team was trying to find a clinical trial for him, but were unable to due to his markers.  A friend of ours was able to connect him with a prominent doctor at UCLA who conducts melanoma clinical trials.  My parents met with him, and he was able to find a trial for my Dad. He was going to begin this trial in November, but then he began to develop two nodules on his head.  After noticing their growth, Kaiser performed a scan and discovered that my Dad has brain tumors.  Unfortunately, this excluded him from the UCLA clinical trial.  

Kaiser quickly developed a plan for radiation to eradicate those tumors.  Just before the radiation began, my Dad was experiencing shortness of breath.  After a trip to the ER (plus 2 more trips), they determined that one of his lungs was filling up with fluid.  They drained quite a bit of fluid each visit, so now my Dad has a catheter directly hooked up to his lung, and my Mom has been performing the drainings at home every 2-3 days.  The radiation finally began and he completed his last treatment on Thursday, 12/21.  Throughout his radiation treatment, he became weaker and weaker.  We believe the steroids are still the culprit, but I'm sure it was exacerbated by the radiation and new medications. It was getting more and more difficult for my Mom to get him ready in the morning. dress his nodule wounds, feed him, run errands for medical/home care supplies, etc.  Even with my help in getting him out the door to treatments, etc., it was becoming more difficult to transport him.  Since the last day of his treatment, he has been bedridden.  We knew it was time for us to use the long-term care insurance my parents had in place since my Mom's back has been getting worse over the last several days from lifting him.  He has a scheduled infusion date on Wednesday, 12/27,  for his new immunotherapy treatment with Kaiser.  Although the situation is dire as there are significant risk factors associated with this drug, my Dad decided, along with my Mom and me, that he would pursue the path with the best possible outcome, and go for it! The alternative is hospice care.

We met with a home care agency, who will help us faciliate everything with my parents' insurance company.  They are beginning the home care today.  Thank God!  My mom has been doing an AMAZING job so far.  It is back-breaking work, even with my help, and she has remained steadfast in her desire to make my Dad as healthy and comfortable as possible.  True love really shines through in times like this!!! 

Although we have this home care plan in place, there is a 90 day elimination period, so the policy will not essentially kick in until there has been 90 days of care.  My parents need to pay for this care, as well as for all of the supplies my Mom has needed without any reimbursement. We are asking for any contributions at this time....any amount would be appreciated!!  It would greatly help my parents.  

My parents have been so generous with people over the years, always volunteering to help others when they were in need, with their time, money, efforts, etc.  My Dad has worked since he was 10 years old to help contribute to his household and his mother, who was a single mom of 3.  He  has always given to others before they have even asked, been involved with many non-profit organizations to help in the development of inner-city youth.  He has given back ten-fold.  He is a proud man and would never ask for anything.  However, because of his will to live for my Mom and family, he is allowing me to make this plea to allow him to continue his fight!  

Thank you in advance for any contribution you are able to make!!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all! 

Love,

Kristine
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Organizer and beneficiary

Kristine Blanco Kooper 
Organizer
San Clemente, CA
Rose Blanco 
Beneficiary
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