About a year ago Vince was getting “flu-like” symptoms every month or so. After several doctors appointments and numerous diagnoses, Vince was told he had gall stones and an operation was needed to remove his gall bladder. Following surgery, Vince’s nausea persisted along with bouts of pain and extreme fatigue. After more extensive and invasive testing the doctors discovered a cyst blocking the pancreatic duct which resulted in a serious bout of pancreatitis. The initial biopsy of the obstruction indicated that it was benign and that a surgery to remove the tumor could be done laproscopically.
Vince underwent surgery the day after Thanksgiving. With Jill, myself, Bridget (my wife), and Bette (Vince's mother) waiting nervously and patiently (surgery took about 12 hours including recovery) before we could see and talk to Vince. When the doctor came to see us he informed us that the tumor was in fact much larger then he expected and that his pancreatitis had been ongoing for quite some time. This explained his months of suffering and discomfort. Unfortunately the doctor also informed us that they couldn't complete the entire procedure laproscopically and had to cut him open to remove the tumor, which was "stuck." Upon disection of the tumor, the doctor also informed us that there was cancer found within this large tumor. However, he seemed confident that he got all of the cancer out, along with his spleen and surrounding lymph nodes. He then told us that the next step was waiting for the pathology report to let us know if the lymph nodes contained cancer. We all prayed for a positive outcome, however we were again dissappointed to find out that cancer was in 13 of the 17 lymph nodes removed. Vince is currently three weeks removed from surgery and has very few good days but is still struggling to gain strength and an appetite due to his constant battle with nausea, pain and sleepless nights. The surgeon still believes this is a result of the pancreatitis and unforunately said that the symptoms could linger for several weeks to months. Going forward, the plan is to start chemotherapy in order to aggressively attack the cancer, however Vince has to build up his strength first, which has been a challenge. Vince's oncologist indicated chemotherapy will be a 6-month stretch, including both oral and intravenous treatments. Radiation may also be included in the treatment plan but he first has to clear some hurdles before he begins his journey.
Beginning with his initial doctor visits in the spring Vince has lost a lot of strength and weight (over 60 lbs.) since he has had zero appetite and no energy to stay active. His days currently consist of mostly sleeping while trying to control his pain and nausea Vince has taken a leave of absence from work since October 2.
This where you come in. The financial burden of taking Vince to appointments along with the numerous days Jill has to take off work to get Vince where he needs to go is significant. Those of you who know Vince, realize he is an extremely private and proud individual who would not ask for help from others. Vince and Jill's only concern should be finding the strength to fight this awful disease to get Vince back on the path to recovery and full health. I want to help ease their minds so they don't have to worry about the financial burden that comes with the medical bills that can accumulate in this situation. Vince could be out of work for the foreseeable future and I'm hoping to cover the cost of a reduced wage for the next 6-9 months.
Cancer is an awful thing I wish we could eradicate from this planet. This disease has taken its toll on my family. My aunts Lorraine and Mary and my uncles Jim and Spider all lost there lives to cancer, and my father Robert (yes everyone of his sibling succumbed to cancer) was taken from us after losing his battle to cancer when he was 61. I remember during his funeral (as a 20 year old college student) a surreal feeling like this can't be happening again to my family because we've already been through this so many times with our loved ones. During the visitation, I recall people telling me that he "was to young to die." I couldn't have agreed more but was numb to the whole experience. I'm not sharing this story with you so you can feel bad for my family. I'm telling you this story to give you a glimpse into the horrors of this disease and the devastation its inflicted on my family. Most importantly it is to let you know that cancer WILL NOT take my brother and we will fight this every step of the way. However, we are asking for your help to give Vince and Jill the financial flexiblity to focus on kicking cancer's ass. Please consider helping my brother with any amount you find reasonable.
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