On May 8th, 2017 our beautiful sister, Jinnan, was admitted to the hospital for numbness in her right hand. After a CAT/CT Scan and an MRI, a large mass was discovered in the left side of her brain. As if that wasn't shocking enough, we learned that it was positioned between the thalamus and basal ganglia; a location that several doctors deemed inoperable. After hearing this news, our next course of action was to perform a biopsy surgery and remove a small sample of the mass to determine what exactly we were dealing with, which was performed on May 11th. Almost 2 weeks later, we received the pathology report and the worst news ever, that Jinnan had Grade 4 Glioblastoma which is the most aggressive, fast-acting, deadly form of brain cancer. This type of tumor is rare given the location and specific histone mutation. The particular mutation was only discovered in the last few years and has typically been found in pediatric cases.
We seeked second and third opinions, and after being told the same results and given the same course of action, we finally settled on proceeding with radiation and chemotherapy out of Henry Ford in Detroit, an amazing institution with a remarkable Oncology program. The doctors and staff there are truly amazing.
A week ago, however, we came across this doctor out of Oklahoma, Dr. Michael Sughrue, who specializes in the removal of "inoperable" brain tumors and gliomas. With little time to spare and radiation therapy around the corner, we immediately contacted the Stephenson Cancer Center and sent all possible medical records for review. On June 7th, we received an email from Dr. Sughrue, explaining that he was willing to take on her case as he felt the surgery was possible, although it was coupled with high risks. I was able to jump on a call with Dr. Sughrue and we spoke for some time about my sister's case. He is extremely knowledgeable, experienced, and offered my sister her best chance at life. Weighing out all the associated risks and benefits, we decided to fly out to Oklahoma City that day.
Today was an amazing day, as we met Dr. Sughrue for the first time. From what we have read and what we expected, he was everything and more. He performs over 400 brain tumor surgeries per year and has dealt with almost 40 cases identical to my sister's, which is the most in the world. He is confident in his abilities to reduce the size of this tumor, and even performed this type of surgery on a 54-year-old man last week, claiming that our situation is better-suited since Jinnan is young and is coming in with no serious muscle reservations. He gave us hope and confidence in my sister's fight against this evil disease. Jinnan will undergo minimally invasive brain surgery while awake, called Awake Craniatomony, tomorrow morning at 8am CST. Dr. Sughrue will be engaging in the keyhole technique. It is a lengthy surgery as this is a complex and difficult tumor to get to. We are in the care of the best physicians at OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City, OK. Following this extensive procedure we will have to jump into radiation and chemotherapy, which we will stick around for here at the OU Oncology program, meaning we are making a new home away from home here in OKC.
I started a GoFund me page for my sister and for my family because there are certainly a lot of costs associated with brain surgery and the route we took by going out of state.
Thanks to Air B&B, we were able to find a place to stay close to OU Medical Center for the next couple of months while my sister recovers and receives radiation and chemotherapy.
Since we cannot all move to OKC, my two brothers, my sister, and other immediate family will spend time traveling back and forth from Michigan to Oklahoma to visit. We also will be keeping you all up to date on my sister's road to recovery.
Lastly, the surgery itself costs close to $60k without any medical insurance. Thankfully we have insurance, however, there are deductibles and other miscellaneous costs we are confronted with.
This is the hardest part of all of this..... Jinnan. Anyone who knows Jinnan knows the innocence behind her as a person. She is the most loving woman you will ever meet with such a big heart and pure soul. She will do anything for anyone that asks; all while rarely asking questions. As an older brother, you're suppose to be the biggest inspiration to your younger siblings. What I realize is that I wish I could be half the person my sister is. She's so incredibly strong, has high spirits, and embodies such a positive attitude in life. After leaving the cancer center today and having one of the scariest discussions of our lives, the first thing my sister asked with laughter:
"Are we going to eat lunch because I'm starving" lol
We also talked about how when she get's married one day, she wants to move to California and live there.... "WHY?" I asked....... "because the weather is amazing duh." These interactions with her are a reminder and a testament to the individual she is.
The most important thing we ask for is NOT donations, but PRAYERS. Nothing is stronger than the power of prayer. If you do take the time to donate to Jinnan's Rally Against Cancer, we are forever indebted to you as a family. Anything above and beyond our goal (unsure how accurate it is) will be donated to the Stephenson Cancer Center.
Here is a little info about our doctor and facilities.
For those worried about this operation, please take a minute to watch these amazing success stories of surgeries performed by our surgeon, Dr. Michael Sughrue.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and for all your love and support! GOD BLESS YOU ALL!
- THE HAJI FAMILY
- Nadia Danial
- Michelle Adamczyk
- Brooke Tobia Macomb medical clinic
- Nidhal Hakim
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