Hello everyone I’m Chris Schott and thank you for reading my story.
On August 26th, 2019 I had a glioblastoma (GBM) brain tumor removed. Not only is GBM rare, it is aggressive. I am 32 years old, the husband of Nicole, father of three year old Luke and Nolan Schott, due in December. A few days before this surgery my life and priorities changed in the blink of an eye. I so desperately want to fight this cancer to see my family grow, but I am coming to terms with the fact that the treatment will be difficult and will require many costly medical procedures.
After having a terrible headache for several days, I left work from my downtown Pittsburgh office early and decided to be seen in a hospital close to our home, about 30 minutes north of the city. At the hospital a CT scan was performed and an egg-sized mass was discovered on my left-temporal lobe. This resulted in a life flight to a hospital in Pittsburgh, additional tests, and diagnosis: a malignant brain tumor. Due to the size of my tumor and severity of my symptoms, immediate surgery was required, leaving me with few options for clinical trials or experimental procedures that may have improved my prognosis.
I was fortunate that the vast majority of the tumor was removed by a skilled surgeon, but was unfortunate otherwise. My diagnosis was a tumor that is classified as grade IV GBM, which they told me is especially hard to treat, often not responding to the traditional, standard methods, and in the majority of cases, terminal.
Following my surgery, I had a case of aphasia (language impairment) due to brain swelling. This required an extra week in the hospital after my physical recovery to regain my memory and for my vocabulary to return. My recent MRIs have shown tumor regrowth. I’m doing well considering the extent of my surgery.
I’ve started to feel the effects of the tumor and the treatments. I am unable to exercise the way I used to, but am still able to walk and help around the house. I am striving to live a normal life again, but I know that I need to find a successful long-term treatment to allow me to survive. My wife and I are dedicated to learning as much about glioblastoma as we can.
My family is my driving force. Nicole has been invaluable to me since we started dating ten years ago while both studying at West Virginia University. She is so kind, social, and caring. She finds the joys in life (even when I may find it hard to) and loves to help anyone and everyone. While working at Swift Audiology, she spends her days helping those with hearing impairments. As the wife of a husband in dire need, she supports me in every way possible. She has gone with me to all my doctors appointments, helping with communication. She has been my driving force in knowing what research and options we have going forward.
Nicole and I moved to Zelienople, PA in 2013. We bought a fixer-upper house and over the last several years have been working on it room-by-room. I’m an active person; I used to frequent the local gym several times a week, run around town, cook healthy meals for the family, and LOVE spending time with my son Luke. Being a young active person, who never would have imagined this, makes the presence of cancer extra difficult to comprehend. We’ve learned that the median age of glioblastoma patients is 64, but sometimes young individuals will get it. More research needs to be done to learn how and why brain cancer happens.
A few months before my headaches started we had been working hard to finish our house because we wanted to buy a new home for our growing family. One week prior to my surgery, Nicole and I signed a contract to purchase our forever home. We have since terminated the contract to cover future medical expenses.
Initial conversations with medical professionals and former patients have driven our desire to seek emerging options in the U.S. and abroad. Some treatments available outside the country, including immunotherapy, have shown promising results and significantly improved life expectancy. Unfortunately, this option involves serious expenses, for the treatment itself and for other factors such as: medication, hospital expenses, travel, lodging, and personal expenses that will arise due to travel.
I want to fight this as much as possible! My initial treatment, six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy has begun. Upon completion of treatment, I will begin talking to the best neuro-oncologists around the country. This may require utilizing the Right to Try Law, which allows the seriously ill to utilize promising experimental drugs. Though beneficial, insurance companies are not required to cover treatment costs and pharmaceutical companies may charge whatever they find appropriate.
This is why our family needs your help.
I am committed to eating healthy, becoming active again, and doing everything available medically to aid in my fight against glioblastoma. I want to be here for my family and to help raise my sons.
I have medical insurance and hope to continue working. But, fighting the tumor will require serious financial decisions and commitments that will not be covered. Sadly, many treatments inside and outside the country are quite possible, but will involve significant personal expenses.
If you can make a small contribution or spread the word and share my Go Fund Me campaign it will help me and my family fight this cancer.
Thank you in advance for helping me fight to be here with my family and to aid in the research of this cancer so that others will benefit in the future.