I need your help with my fight against cancer. Let me tell you a little more about my fight and myself so you will understand why I am so determined to beat cancer.
Marianne and I had been trying all manner of fertility options to have a child for several years. In 2007, Marianne became pregnant with our first child. We named him Oscar, after my best-friend, Oscar Hill, who passed away in 2000. At 20 weeks premature, we lost Oscar.
Doctors originally couldn’t explain our lost pregnancy. Marianne tackled the problem with tenacity and perseverance. She eventually found the likely culprit: incompetent cervix. No doctors would test for this condition, as we had only lost one child. Marianne searched for a doctor that would work with her as a high-risk pregnancy and provide weekly ultrasounds. As we expected, Marianne’s cervix began to give way during our second pregnancy. Marianne underwent a minor surgery, where doctors sewed her cervix closed. In 2012, we were blessed with our first child, Morgan.
Marianne’s tenacity and determination helped me know the joy of being a father, the unforgettable sensation of holding my newborn curled against my shoulder, the frustrating and priceless experience of middle-of-the-night feedings, and the love of a sweet hug around the neck.
In 2014, my world would change once again. My first symptoms of something amiss included me passing out and almost falling at work. The initial test revealed low hemoglobin. I received some blood transfusions while undergoing additional diagnostic testing. Testing revealed a small tumor in my cecum, the part of the digestive tract where the large and small intestine join. I underwent surgery to remove the tumor. Doctor’s reported they were able to get all of the tumor, my lymph nodes were healthy, and no chemotherapy would be needed. Come back in a year, they said.
We had read about cancer coming back after surgical removal and requested chemotherapy. The doctor’s told us no. They don’t give chemo to healthy people.
Since I’m still fighting cancer, you can imagine this wasn’t the end of the story. Five new spots appeared on my liver. I underwent surgery on the spots, but one was too closely located to a critical bile duct or vein. The surgeons could only burn the spot and hope that it would not return. It did.
I started taking chemotherapy. I learned I was allergic to Oxoliplatin, one chemo drug. Oral chemotherapy did nothing for me. I cycled through various chemo drugs. None were effective. Only Iranotecan helped, by slowing the cancer growth, but not stopping or shrinking the tumors. X-ray therapy did nothing either.
Around this point in my fight, other parts of my body started to break down. My doctor gave me six months to live. We went to the Mayo Clinic for a second opinion and were given no better prognosis. We returned home just in time for the COVID pandemic.
One of my biggest hurdles created by the cancer was my liver not removing bilirubin as quickly as my body needed. The doctors implanted some drains to help the process, after much pleading and arguing. The drains helped get my bilirubin under control. I resumed Iranotecan while we explored other options. We started a proton therapy that showed promise. After three weeks of the therapy, the main tumor had stopped growing. However, the other tumors had continued to grow and spread.
My last hope is a clinical trial. There are some that look promising. Of course, I have to be in the best possible physical condition because the trials are dangerous. Potentially, the trial could kill me while it cures my cancer. The struggle to improve my health has not gone well. I have recurring infections. My lungs are surrounded by fluid from the cancer. I have more small tumors on my liver and lungs. I could have other tumors, for all I know. The most effective way to attack this cancer is to try something that literally attacks my entire body.
Financially, I’ve used all of my savings. And then some. I’m the sole earner for my little family. My sick pool time has almost run out. I already have a balance of $25,000 to MD Anderson. My options are very limited. I am asking for help in order to provide some cushion in case I am required to resign my job because of my cancer.
I continue to fight because I have a little girl that needs me. I want to see her go on her first date. I want to walk her down the aisle and dance with her at her wedding. I want to hold her children and know what it’s like to be a grandfather.
I fight on because I have a wife that loves me and gives me her all. I want to grow old with her. I want to continue to enjoy the little moments, like snuggling on the couch, watching movies together, playing games together, and even travelling again. We’ve dreamed of going to Ireland.
I’m asking for whatever amount you can give. Know that it’s helping hold my little world together. If you can’t give anything, please share the link to this GoFundMe, so that others might be able to help.
I also appreciate your prayers. I firmly believe the Lord has served up some last minute inspiration multiple times during this journey. We continue to pray for His hand to continue to inspire my doctors and inform their decisions.
Jes Hall and family
- Mary McAtee
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