I'm mostly back to "normal" (or at least what counts for it). Working full-time again, but having to carry around and use a cane "just in case". A kindly neighbor built a ramp on my porch for the 8" step up from my porch to inside my front door, as it was almost impossible for me to deal with that right after I got out of the hospital. Still having to do the monthly IV chemo/immunotherapy treatments. I'm tired and worn out and wish I could be happy.
Unfortunately this update isn't good news.
Today is my first day back at work in over a month. In late February I developed a lump in my right breast (guys have to worry about it too) that eventually turned into a pus-filled abscess. I finally went to the ER on February 21st, and was immediately admitted to the hospital and put in the ICU suffering from sepsis and septic shock.
I spent a week (!) in the ICU with various tubes and drains in me along with heavy IV antibiotics, and another six days in a regular room. Once they released me to go home, I spent two and a half weeks re-building the muscles in my legs that had atrophied from two weeks on my back in a hospital bed, so I could walk again. I'm still a bit weak and wobbly, and getting around (slowly) with a cane.
I also lost about 25 pounds during the entire ordeal. This isn't a bad thing, though.
What is a bad thing, is that due to some health problems in January, plus what's happened over the past five weeks, means that I'm completely out of sick leave and PTO for the *entire year*. So, in addition to only getting half-pay for the past month, the two days each month I have to take off for ongoing chemotheraphy / immunotherapy treatments, are going to be unpaid.
They've taken me off the daily-pill chemo (Votrient) and put me on a once-a-month IV immunotherapy treatment (Opdivo) and bone-strengthening treatment for my shoulder (Zometa). This means I have to take two days off work (unpaid) once a month to deal with side effects after each treatment session.
I survived the surgery a year ago. Still alive, still kicking, but there's no cure - all they can do is keep me on chemo (and other meds to counteract the continual nausea caused by the chemo) and try to extend my lifespan as much as possible. I'm hoping to have another couple of years at least before it kills me. Any contributions will be used to pay for medication and oncologist copays, as well as CT scans (which are $400/each and I have to get at least 4 of them a year).
In June 2017, I had an 8-day hospital stay wherein I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes... my body had been eating itself (diabetic ketoacidosis) for a couple of months and my discharge weight indicated I'd lost over 100. I had thought I was just not getting over the flu very well.
The diabetes is (easily) now under control with metformin and diet changes. During the hospital stay, they found out a large mass on my left kidney and spots on my lungs - I have Stage 4 kidney cancer.
3-4 weeks from now, I'll be having robotic laproscopic surgery to remove that left kidney and tumor, and a few weeks after that, will start immunotherapy to hopefully get rid of the spots in my lungs.
I'm recovered from the ketoacidosis and have most of my strengh and balance back, just in time to deal with this surgery. I'm looking at 4-5 days in the hospital, then a couple of weeks at home to rest and heal before I go back to my (desk) job.
All of my paid time off and sick leave was used up during that hospital stay, and after insurance, I owe the hospital $4200 (my yearly out of pocket maximum of $5K has been met). Right now the only payment option I can afford is to send them a monthly payment for the next three years.
Work does not offer any short or long-term disability, but they've offered to "advance" me next year's PTO/sick leave for this next hospital stay and being out of work.
However, that's only three weeks of leave, total - and using all of it up would leave me with no vacation or time off at all for the next year. If there's complications and I'm out for more than three weeks, I won't get paid, and won't be able to pay my bills.
I set the goal at $20K. This covers my existing hospital bill + doctor bills that I haven't received yet, up to two months of my normal salary, and GoFundMe's overhead / percentage.
I'm usually the guy who goes out of his way to help others; I hate having to ask for charity from other people.
Any amount you can contribute will help.
Thank you so much. If the goal is met and I don't end up having to be out of work for long, I'll use the extra funds to pay for ongoing treatment after the end of the year and to keep my decrepit car on the road so I have reliable transportation.