On January 12th 2017, three months after an amazing wedding to his now wife Katherine, my brother Jason Messina received some news. Jason was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. All of our hearts dropped as the shock of hearing the word “Leukemia” immediately lead each of our thoughts towards the worst case scenario. The quickest to recover from this shock was of course Jason. After just a few hours of receiving this news, his outlook changed from hopelessness to determination. His attitude is what has lead our family from despair to focus. It will ultimately be the factor that is responsible for Jason overcoming this extremely huge obstacle.
I imagine the question on the forefront of everyone’s mind after reading this is, “How is Jason doing?” Jason was admitted to Valley Care in Pleasanton on January 10th, and received his diagnosis two days later. Once he received the diagnosis, he needed to be transferred from Valley Care to one of the major hospitals that can treat Leukemia. After waiting (on pins and needles) for the next few days, with the help of a friend we reached out to that we hadn’t spoken to in many years, we finally received word that Stanford Hospital had accepted the transfer request. Since then, Jason has completed the initial 4 chemotherapy treatments called the “induction phase.” I personally had no idea just what exactly this phase of the treatment entailed. My brother has always been extremely tough physically and mentally, and this process has greatly challenged him.
Jason’s White Blood Cell Count is extremely low. During this phase, the biggest danger to Jason is the risk of infection. As a result, some concerns have arisen that are related to the Leukemia, the Chemo, and just from having a weekend immune system.
Since the day Jason originally went to the hospital roughly 55 days ago, Kat has been away from his hospital room for a collective total of roughly 8 hours. Kat stopped working to focus on putting all of her love and support behind Jason. She’s only left the hospital room to shower, run a few small errands, and to briefly attend 1 important event. She has not spent one evening away from my brother. Kat has literally been in the trenches with Jason. No one could have supported Jason in the way that she has. This challenge has taken the love and respect we already felt for Kat and her family, and multiplied it exponentially. Additionally, I think it’s important to mention, that I’ve never seen an employer like Jason’s take the position that Sunstate has. Since Jason notified them, they have been behind him 100%. They’ve constantly checked in on him, cared about him, and taken care of everything Jason and Kat have needed. They’ve told him from the beginning, your job will be waiting here for you no matter how long this recovery takes. That was a huge relief for Jason, and I cannot thank them enough.
I’m guessing at this point, many are wondering how this happened roughly 55 days ago and it has remained close to the family. Jason and Kat wanted to keep this within the family and a small, close circle of friends. He wanted to focus on kick starting his recovery. From what I saw during the induction phase of chemo, it was no joke. It took a lot out of him, and he didn’t have a lot of energy to return many calls and messages.
Jason’s a young, strong 33-year-old beast. The nickname that has followed him throughout his working career is “The Moose.” He’s in the right place. Jason couldn’t be luckier to live in an area where Stanford Hospital was an option for treatment. If there is a list of top places to be treated in the United States for this sort of thing, Stanford has to be on the list among the very top, with the highest success rates. This experience has been full of ups and downs. Some days we get some good news, sometimes the news is less than favorable. We have now focused all our energy on victory.
This has already been a long fight, and we really aren’t sure how long Jason will be battling. There are medical expenses, household bills, dog food for Zack and Hank, and loss of income for years to come. We’re not sure at what point Jason will be cleared to return to work. Our goal is to ensure that when Jason is all better and ready to return to his normal life, that he doesn’t have to spend multiple years digging himself out of a financial hole. Once he is all better, we want him to be free to hit the ground running.
We appreciate all the support that you might be able to offer. All donations will go to Jason and Katherine for various expenses that will be incurred over the next few years. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Thank you for your thoughts and well wishes, and lets all cheers to a speedy recovery for Jason!