On May 14, 2019, after two months of hospital stays and questions, John Francis "The Captain" was diagnosed with a Grade 3 Glioma tumor on his brain stem. That's brain cancer. The aggressive and fast-growing kind.
As you might expect his mother, Carrie, has been by his side the entire time. She has been out of work and has been staying at Albany Medical Center with John. John's Mema and Papa are driving down to visit every single day. His father, Lucas, visits every chance he gets. While medical insurance is covering treatment, the costs associated with the stay, travel and being out of work are climbing.
The funds will allow Carrie to stay by John's side during treatment and cover her travel, food, mortgage, car payment and other expenses.
John's medical symptoms began earlier in the year when he had trouble walking, talking and eating. The issues progressed and he began to have 45-minute long episodes of what could only be described as seizures. He was admitted to the hospital in March 2019 and underwent a series of MRIs and CAT scans to assess the problem.
The initial scan showed inflammation in the cerebellum (the center of the brain that controls all mobility) and doctors prescribed high-dose steroids to get the symptoms under control. A round of plasmapheresis was scheduled in April to combat what doctors thought were out of control antibodies.
Before Easter, the steroids stopped working and his condition deteriorated. He was readmitted to the hospital for another series of tests. An additional MRI revealed that it was not inflammation but a mass in his cerebellum. A follow-up MRI with contrast showed that there were several masses in different areas of his cerebellum. John was discharged from the hospital and the biopsy was scheduled for 10 days later.
Symptoms quickly worsened and Carrie rushed John back to the hospital and was immediately admitted to the Pediatric ICU and the biopsy was moved up by several days.
John underwent an 8.5-hour long procedure on May 7, 2019. The largest mass was too close to the brain stem and surgeons were not be able to remove it. The smaller masses were unreachable during the biopsy.
After a week of pain control with several different medications (some of which caused allergic reactions), we were told what no family wants to hear: the tumor was cancer. A radiation and chemotherapy treatment plan is being set up and his cancer treatment will likely begin within 30 days.
Carrie has fewer than 10 hours of leave because she broke her ankle last spring and spent the entire summer without being able to stand on it. It healed incorrectly and was out of work again following surgery over Christmas.
**This fundraising effort is organized by his Aunt Sarah, Carrie's younger sister**