Our good friend, Peter Firmin, has been battling cancer and complications from cancer since 2010. He recently had a PET/CT Scan after discovering lumps in his neck. It showed active lymph nodes in his neck, abdomen, lower spine and in the bone on his lower spine. His doctor confirmed that it is cancer but they are doing a biopsy to confirm which kind of cancer.
Peter is a walking miracle. He has been through so many hurdles fighting this disease, having to live with Graft vs Host disease permanently as a result of his cancer treatments. Truly the faith of a warrior, a guy who is focused on the fight against cancer, he hasn't let this terrible disease hold him back from spending time with family and friends (we love when he comes to visit us!), and continuing to see God's beauty all around us. Through it all he has inspired so many of us with his amazing attitude and how he lives life to the fullest. He has never complained (seriously, not once!) and always has a smile on his face. We want to help him bear the load of these medical expenses and ensure he has great quality care for whatever is the next chapter in his fight against cancer as well as help him with any additional expenses he might need it for.
Please take time to read abut Peter's full story. You will be blown away. Please keep him and the entire Firmin family in your prayers, especially Peter on June 25 when he gets his biopsy results back, and his dad who is currently battling non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Let's surround Peter and his family in our prayers, and if you can donate, please do.
Peter shares his full story below:
March of 2010 diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma. After that, moved from Charlotte, NC to Augusta, GA to be near family while going through chemotherapy. I went through 6 months of chemotherapy and then had a PET Scan. It was clear!!
At the next PET Scan, the cancer had returned very agressively and was all over. I went through another 6 months of chemotheraphy - to no effect.
In July 2011, I underwent a stem cell transplant using my own stem cells. This involved intense chemotherapy and again, had no effect. Doctors wanted to find a donor to do a second stem cell transplant. My sister Sarah was a very close match and she was my donor for the allogenic stem cell transplant in July 2012. This was a success! It was soon after this I tried to go back to work in Wilmington, NC, as a child protective services social worker.
Here, I became so sick I could not work and eventually was brought to Duke University Hospital to help figure out what was wrong with me. I happened to be allergic to a medication I was taking and contracted a disease called TTP, which decimated ALL of my muscle tone and brain function. Doctors say I was 2 days from dying. It gradually wore me down mentally and physically, so I had no idea what was going on. I couldn't walk or think clearly. They transfused my blood 4 times to effectively "clean" my blood. After 2 years of physical therapy, I was able to again function like a normal human being.
Then, I developed chronic Graft vs. Host Disease, which basically is an inability for my cells to interact in a healthy way with my sister's cells. At certain times, it will effect and cripple certain organs in my body. I have had cGVHD of the liver, eyes, mouth, gut, and skin. It is a lifelong condition and there is no cure. This disease destroys my immune system because I have to take medication that helps our cells get along and it is also an immunosuppressant. This is what I've been dealing with for the last 5 years. I've managed to keep it somewhat under control with only occasional flare-ups.
So that brings us to today - Felt lumps on my neck 4 weeks ago, and they've grown in size. I waited until I got back from a family vacation to Dominican Republic before I went to the doctor because I wasn't going to cancel that trip!! Glad I didn't... So as soon as I got home, I went to see the doctor and he suggested we do a PET/CT Scan to make sure the lumps on my neck were isolated and maybe just an inflammation. The results came back and there were highly active lymph nodes in my neck, abdomen, lower spine and in the bone on my lower spine. I get a biopsy of the node on my neck on June 25th, with the results a few days later. Doctor says it is cancer, but we will not know what kind it is until the biopsy results come back. Then we can form a plan of action and destroy this crap once and for all.