Dawn's "Ultimate Ironman" Fund

My name is John and on October 15th, 2014 my girlfriend (Dawn) entered the hospital ER with chest pains, later to be diagnosed as Adenocarcinoma of the lung. Plainly put, lung cancer. The most confusing and devastating, she's never smoked a cigarette.

For those who know Dawn, no description of her brighter than the sun personality is needed. For those who do not, I'm sorry but no words can do the description of her positivity justice. Spend five minutes with her and she will have you smiling as well as discussing your pets whose names she will remember for eternity.

Dawn is an athletic woman, having completed Ironman Florida 2013 (140.6 miles of swim/bike/run), 2 marathons (26.2 miles of running), Century bike rides (100 miles) and multiple triathlons of varying distance. She has a love of running, cycling and swimming, which she alternates between throughout the weeks. Recently, after moving to Florida, Dawn tried out another hobby and fell in love with trail running. She is not someone who does these things to only feel good and stay healthy she is a competitor and passionate about fitness.

Back in April of this year she was experiencing occasional and minor chest/shoulder pains. Since that time those pains have magnified, often waking her in the middle of the night in such pain that she is in tears. She did the right thing and visited a Primary Care Physician two months ago, who did an x-ray at that time showing all clear. Her PCP then recommended she go see a Cardiologist who recommended she wear a halter monitor for twenty-four hours. She agreed however the results came back normal. Frustrated and not sure where to go Dawn reached out for recommendations from local friends who might know a good Physical Therapist. Three weeks ago she went for her first visit and after some modalities the gentleman she was seeing recommended she return the next Tuesday to see their rib specialist as he thought her 3/4 ribs might be puncturing her lung. The following Tuesday, October 14th, she returned to see this Therapist. After some examination he asked her to visit a local Orthopedic whom he could get her into that afternoon. During the visit with this doctor he requested she visit her local ER to have a CT scan done, she headed to Medical Center of Trinity. 

This brings me to the events of the past week, October 14th thru 22nd (and on going). At the ER, after her scan, Internal Medicine Dr. Angelo met Dawn. At that time she was informed her right lung was filled with fluid and they found a six-centimeter mass on her liver. The doctor told Dawn they would be admitting her for further testing and to have the fluid removed from her lung. Wednesday, the 15th, Dawn underwent minor surgery to have a biopsy done of her liver and to remove what would be one liter of fluid. That evening we were visited in her room by Dr. Angelo who then delivered the news that Dawn has Adenocarcinoma. She was recommending further testing and advised we would need to await the results of the biopsy they did that morning to find out exactly what type in order to compile a treatment plan.

After much waiting, some further scans and attempted pain management, we were visited by Dr. Angelo again on Friday, the 17th around 5pm. Dawn told her at this time she was still experiencing severe pain around the sites where the biopsy and orosenthesis had been performed. The doctor sent her for another CT right away. Later that evening, around 8:30, Dr. Angelo returned to Dawn's room along with Dr. Dandimudi and a Cardiothoracic Surgeon, the news was not positive. Dawn's right lung had filled with fluid again and they noticed spots on her lungs in that CT scan. Additionally, a bone scan she had done earlier revealed spots on some of her bones. At that time the surgeon informed Dawn of a procedure he wanted to perform, basically inserting a chest tube, to allow the fluid to drain completely. After some discussion she agreed and it was scheduled for Monday morning, the 20th.

The weekend passed, I stayed by her side and her spirits stayed high. Again, she is the “never quit” type in the face of adversity and it was showing. Sunday night came and her RN visited us to discuss surgery preparation along with some instructions. We didn’t sleep much that night as she began to worry and her pain was building. I continued to reassure her that the pain, while it would be there, was temporary and she would feel better very soon.

Monday morning came and the surgery went well however, the pain she was in afterwards was like none I have ever seen someone experience before (and I was on the ground with the US Army in Operation Iraqi Freedom). The staff continued to monitor her and provide medication; constantly adjusting it up until finally that evening she got a glimpse of relief.

Since Monday we have been monitoring her pain and awaiting detailed results from pathology. We have been informed that by definition she has Stage 4 Lung Cancer and her doctors are formulating a plan of attack.

As I stated above, Dawn is one of those people who will not let you be down and out. If you’re struggling she will be the first to pick you up. One friend commented on her Facebook status, at which time she notified everyone of her illness, that Dawn was there for her, cheering her in at a race or even jumping in and running the last two miles to make sure she made it. She is one of the few positive spirits this world has and we need to ensure that continues.

I have set this account up for Dawn with her permission. At this time we are one week into treatment and her medical bills for which she is responsible are already approaching $10,000. While she does thankfully have health insurance, her portion is mounting and we have many months to go. Add to this the stress of not being able to work and receive income, it is hard for her to ignore the concern about how to not only survive cancer but how to financially survive. I am asking, along with her, that you help in any way you can. The site required me to set a "goal", I pray we can exceed it. Lets all pitch in and remove this one worry from her mind while she competes in the toughest Ironman this world knows.


Thank you for reading, contributing and your continued prayers


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John Owen 
Port Richey, FL
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