My name is Jeff Clark and I am a hardworking and dedicated music educator for over 20 years. In just the last two months, my life has taken a drastic turn. I have a CaringBridge site that connected me to GoFundMe. I'm asking for any financial assistance people are willing and able to give at this time due to some unexpected health concerns that have arisen quickly.
I'm sure there have been a lot of questions and concerns about my health. The outreach by all the people I know, love, and care about are very concerned, and I felt that the CaringBridge site and this GoFundMe page were the best ways to reach as many people at once, while I need to focus on all that is at hand and recovering.
Here's what has transpired in the last couple of months: In middle to late March, a few weeks after a successful "Spamalot" musical, I was feeling great and excited to take my choir students on a two week concert trip to Europe. While in Europe, I developed some concerning digestive issues, and quickly reached out to my doctor once we returned. Through numerous tests that included blood work, ultrasound, MRI, CT scans, and a colonoscopy, we learned the devastating news that I have colon cancer that has metastasized as 3 tumors in my liver. From that knowledge made clear at the beginning of May, healthcare appointments as well as my symptoms of the disease happened so fast.
On May 17, I met with my oncologist, who scheduled a liver biopsy for that Friday the 19th. I received a liver biopsy to determine that the cancer was from the colon, and to pray and hope for biomarkers that would make treatment stronger through dedicated immunotherapy that would be developed just for my body. This immunotherapy would eventually be added to chemotherapy. Then on Thursday, May 25, I had a very early morning arrival of 5:30 a.m. to receive my port to receive treatments, scheduled to begin the day after Memorial Day. Through these two surgeries, I have been having increasing fatigue, bloating and fluid retention, and for a few weeks, the Apple Watch/Apple Health acknowledged tachycardia, where my resting heart rate was sitting around 130 all day. But after the port install, my heart jumped to over 200 bpm on the surgery table, and it took 3 different medicines before it came down. I was then put on a heart medication to keep this from happening again while I recovered over the holiday weekend.
However, I was continually feeling worse with the bloating and fatigue, and could not find a way to get comfortable to even sleep. In the early hours of Memorial Day, an ambulance took me to Christ Hospital ER, where they discovered how sick I was: a micro perforation in my colon that led to infection and sepsis. We believe that pressure against the colon tumor tore at the colon lining that caused this. Thankfully, I got the care I needed in that moment, and by noon on Memorial Day, I was in surgery for the colon. This surgery was high risk and a very scary decision. With how diseased my liver was from the 3 tumors and it being stressed by infection, it was now being taxed again under surgery. The great news is I am communicating with you now because the surgery went well, and I am continuing to improve in ICU.
While we don't know the future, we're waiting from the doctors to see what the next steps are. I hope to be discharged soon. Thank you for all of the overwhelming support! We're sorry we can't individually respond to each of you, but know that we feel your love, support, and prayers at this trying time. We prefer responses through CaringBridge instead of texts or calls. We know how much people feel the need to offer help and support, but at this time, we're not looking for a food train or other assistance. Perhaps the best way to help at this time is this GoFundMe page to help with these unexpected high healthcare costs.
From me, Candy, Danielle, and Darin, know that our love flows to you, and we are very thankful for your outpouring of support and your prayers. Again, know that we can't possibly reach out to each of you, but we love and appreciate you. Please respond through CaringBridge and not through texts. We will try to update you through the CaringBridge site as much as we can. Any financial help you can offer here is greatly appreciated.