After a brief stint in the U.S. Navy and jobs that paid the bills but were unfilling , my son had finally found his niche!
As a Mom , I was thrilled! Not only had he found a profession that he was truly passonate about, he is REALLY good at it!
Drew is a personal trainer.With bit of encouragement from me, he trained and became a LES MILLS GRIT instructor. His athletic abilities , energetic and motivating classes were highly sought after. It was such a proud time for me as I had people tell me how incredible they felt after his training and how he was changing their fitness levels.
Late fall of 2013 Drew began to experience extreme pain in his ankle after teaching classes. I thought first "shoes, it must be his shoes". So, we shopped for the best supportive shoes we could afford.
When the pain returned , I thought " stress fracture". An xray was done, with no definitive conclusions, but abnormal readings. The MRI came next.
The orthopedist upon seeing the results knew right way there was something seriously wrong. He met with my son and referred him to a leading orthopedic oncolgist and a cancer center.
CANCER??? How could he assume cancer , he's young, healthy, only 24 and cancer is not a disease that has been in our family.
I think we all walked around in shock for days after receiving that news.
We met with the specialist recommended and he ran tests followed by an open biopsy.
The tissue was looked at and the "round blue cells" could not be definitely defined as a specific cancer, but it was concerning and showed malignancy. The specimen was sent to Harvard Medical. A leading pathologist also could not give a definitive diagnosis, other than he was sure it was malignant and further testing needed to be done.
It was then that we decided to take our son to a leading cancer hospital.
The Doctors reviewed the findings and determined that they needed a larger sampling of the tumor to determine it's type and recommend treatment. The second surgery on his ankle was done 1 week later. The surgeons removed as much of the tumor as they could. This tissue was again sent to Harvard Medical, then to Miami and back again. The leading specialists could not give a definitive diagnosis, but thought they were looking at Ewings Sarcoma. Ewings Sarcoma is not a common cancer , in fact, less than 1/2 of 1% of cancers found are Ewings. And, that is what they had determined to be my sons cancer.
With oncologist recommendations we began Drew's chemotherapy treatments. The protocal is tough! 7 cycles, 28 weeks, and days and nights of nausea, vomiting, and severe pain.
The first cycle was managable , followed 10 days later with the 1 day infusion. The bone pain was excruciating from the shots given to help promote white blood cell production.
We thought, "we can do this", just 1 cycle at a time, 1 down, 6 to go!
The setback was the fever that began late in the evening one week later. Drew's white count was so low (less than 1) that he was admitted immediately for 72 hour hospital stay. It was only May 23, and Drew had spent 10 days in the hospital in May.
After spending so much time in the hospital, Drew decided to wait for the next cycle. He needed to focus on his now growing family. Prior to the cancer diagnosis, Drew and his fiance KK became pregnant. KK 's pregnancy was normal, but began to have complcations the during third trimester. Early labor and premature birth were a real possibility.
KK was advised to take her maternty leave 1 month early.
June 20, 2014 - Welcome Baby Mia! 6lbs, 3ozs.! Now, I know every grandparent think their baby is the most beautiful baby in the world. But, Mia truly is! Her jet black "spiky" hair and blue eyes melt your heart.
Drew and KK brought their new baby home and began their new role as parents. It is apparent to everyone they are totally in love with their new little one.
Time for surgery. It was always in the plan to remove the remaining bone where the tumor was found. The surgery was performed on July 9, 2014. All went well with the surgery, and Drew spent several more days at the hospital. Returning home in a wheelchair and restricted to no weight bearing on the leg for a minimum of at least 3 months.
All is well with the new family until Mia develops a high fever that continues to climb. With the advice of her pediatician she is taken to the pediatric hospital emergency department. Baby Mia is admitted with strep throat B. a type of strep with serious complications, including blindness, respiratory problems , even brain development problems. Mia does have insurance, but it is only what this young family can afford. Mia's hospital stay is 10-14 days. Her expected medical costs will be in excess of $50,000 of which the insurance will only cover partially.
Day 3 of her hospitalization, Drew begins to run a fever. Not worrisome the first day, it is low grade. He is just a bit fatigued. The next morning the leg is red and angry, his fever has spiked. He is told to return to the hospital where his surgery was performed.
Blood tests, x-rays and cultures confirm our worst fears. The grafted bone that was put in to replace the fibula is now infected.
More surgery is on the horizon. Our best hope is that Drew will have moblility and in the future return to the career he loves.
KK was to return to work next week. She is still at the hospital, alone, with her baby.
Drew is here with Dad and I. Waiting for the surgical decisions to be made and determine his future.
Throughout these past several months, this young family has never asked for a handout. They used every penny of their savings to cover Dr.'s bills, prescriptions,insurance payments and everyday expenses. KK took on hour shifts to help with expenses. Dad and I have offered financial support, as much as we can possibly afford.
This is not a young family that looks for handouts. This is a young family that will be financially destroyed when the bills come due.
Today, Drew tearfully requested delaying of his latest autoship for his GRIT classes. He has never given up the hope that he again will train as an athlete. But, there is no money in the account to cover this expense. Mia has medial bills that will not be met by insurance payments. KK will have to delay her return to work to care for her new baby and her fiance, that will be wheelchair bound for the foreseeable future.
We ask for any amount of money that you see fit to help this young family. If you do not have the means to help, we ask to send prayers for those that can help them out, to open their hearts and their wallet for any small donation.
I have always been told, "you will never be given more burden than you can handle" , our hearts are breaking and we are barely treading water these days. Your generous gift is most sincerely appreciated.
Drew , KK & Mia
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