"They do certainly give very strange, and newfangled, names to diseases." Plato
My uncle Mike, who is only 46 years young, was recently diagnosed with Cholangiocarcinoma - known as bile duct cancer. It is known as the silent disease because there are no signs or symptoms until the cancer is in the advanced stage.
Cancer - a word no one wants to hear! That word has the ability to change your life! Uncle Mike went from living a day to day existence of work, home, taking his daughter to school, dance lessons, Greek school, laughing and playing with her - to one of doctor’s visits, being poked and scanned - just plain being scared, crying and feeling hopeless.
WHO IS UNCLE MIKE?
Hippocrates once said, "It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has.”
So, here are a few things about Uncle Mike: Uncle Mike grew up on the Northside. He attended church at Holy Trinity. He attended school at St. Pat's. Some of you may remember Uncle Mike as “moose” from 9Muses – and recently you may have seen him serving up drinks at Gene and Georgetti in Rosemont!
Uncle Mike is a loving father, husband, uncle, son-in-law, brother-in-law, nouno and friend to many. He does not have one ounce of meanness in him. He always looks at the good in people. I have never heard him say "what about me?” He always puts others before himself. He is selfless. A man that I have never seen cry has been so overwhelmed by emotions in just a few weeks - it breaks my heart! I am proud to have Uncle Mike in my life and hope that I can be half the man he is one day.
HOW DID IT START?
In September Uncle Mike noticed that his tummy was upset. He thought it was from the stress and anxiety of losing his dad. Then a week before Superbowl Sunday, Uncle Mike thought he had the flu because he wasn't feeling well. It was Superbowl Sunday, although his team didn't win - he was excited that Philly won - since they never had a super bowl victory - he was even happier that the Eagles brought home a win to his family in Philly. Anyone who knows Uncle Mike, knows that he loves sports! You would think that he'd be jumping with joy that weekend- but uncle Mike was still not feeling well - so off he was to see the doctor on Wednesday; he had blood work done in the morning and by the early evening, my nouna/aunt Gigi received a call from the doctor telling her to get uncle Mike to the hospital "his liver enzymes are all over the place".
Uncle Mike had CT Scans, MRIs, and blood tests to confirm that he had a tumor in the bile duct and malignant masses in the liver; more testing later revealed that the cancer had infiltrated the lymph nodes.
Uncle Mike will begin chemotherapy and then radiation Y90 at University of Chicago. Although at this point surgery is not an option for him, the goal is to hopefully have the tumor shrink so the doctor's can go in and resect - that means take it out. We are hoping that in 3 months we see results - and results means shrinkage. The doctors have explained that the process of chemo, radiation, scans and possible surgery could take up to 6 months!
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
First and foremost PRAY! It takes a village and I am respectfully asking that we all band together to help Uncle Mike. Please pray and believe! Uncle Mike has a beautiful six year old daughter who needs him around! My Aunt Gigi needs him. My pappou needs him! He takes such good care of my pappou! His friends and family need him! I need him!
My Uncle Mike and Aunt Gigi are proud people - It is very difficult for them to ask for help - but my Aunt Gigi, Uncle Mike and Cousin Gabriella are going through a difficult time. The medical expenses, pharmacy expenses, travel expenses, nutrition expenses and just basic living expenses are becoming too much! That is why I am asking for help on their behalf. Please find it in your heart to show compassion, selflessness and generosity - Please help my family - the medical bills have started to come in - and although, yes, they do have insurance - it does not cover all the costs.
“Generosity consists not the sum given, but the manner in which it is bestowed.” Gandhi