For starters, this story starts close to a year ago when my dad first went to a dermatologist to have a suspicious spot on his shoulder investigated. They biopsied it and found out that it was a cancerous melanoma spot and decided the best course of action was to send him off to have a large portion of his shoulder removed as well as have a couple lymph nodes under his arm biopsied to ensure the melanoma had not began to spread to other areas of his body. That surgery was a success, the lymph nodes both came back cancer free and we all assumed this was the end of the story and this chapter of our lives. They informed us they wanted him to continue to be monitored on a regular basis since it was melanoma (the most aggressive form of skin cancer).
Fast forward to October of 2017 and during one of his usual follow up visits, my dad was complaining of some shortness of breath and his CBC with differential had some strange readings so they decided to be cautious and further investigate. Well an MRI found a small spot on the lower lobe of his right lung indicating that the melanoma had returned. He was scheduled for surgery in early November to remove around 10% of his right lung and assured us surgery would take no more than a couple of hours. Well 6+ hours and we were informed that the spot was a bit larger than expected and closer to his heart than anticipated which not only complicated matters (reason why the surgery took almost 3x as long as anticipated) but also they ended up taking 21% of his right lung instead of the anticipated 10%. His recovery was slow and had some complications due to contracting pneumonia during the recovery. What originally started off as a 4-5 day hospital stay turned into almost 3 weeks in the hospital and him losing another 2-3% of right lung function due to the damage caused by the pneumonia. He was finally released right before thanksgiving and was placed on a preventative infusion treatment to help prevent any more melanoma from developing. Things were going well despite him not being able to work and still dealing with side effects from not only recovering from major lung surgery but also from the infusion treatments themselves. That was until Valentine's Day of 2018.
He had not been feeling well during the last couple weeks and they noticed some slight abnormalities on his CBC numbers and decided to run a PET scan. Well the PET scan revealed that not only had the cancer returned but they found spots of it on his liver, in his pelvic region and a some on his spine. He is starting a 7 week intensive treatment to kill off the new spots of cancer as well start the process of once again preventing it from coming back. Anyone who knows our dad knows that he is a fighter and that he will fight and once again defeat this cancer. He has already fought and won twice before and this time will be no different.
However me and my sister humbly ask for your help. My dad has no idea we are setting this up for him and he probably wouldn't have approved asking folks for help with his battle if he knew. But as noble as that is, we need help. Our dad has not been able to work for several months now due to the two previous surgeries and will not be able to work for at least another couple months while he undergoes these extensive treatments. His work has done an excellent job of being understanding of his situation providing him with sick leave and medical leave to ensure that he still has some form of income while he is battling this cancer but even then the medical bills are beginning to add up. Not to mention that our dad works outdoors for a living and no one knows how soon he will be able to get back to work. Not to mention how long it will take him to fully return to his old self once he does return. Me, my sister and the rest of our family are helping him the best we can but I currently go to a optometry school 12 hours away and saddled with student debt. Thankfully my sister lives close by to him and is able to be there for him when she isn't busy with nursing school. We both are so thankful for the close friends, relatives and family that have already (and continue) to be there for us and be there for my dad while we fight alongside him during this. We are looking to raise $10,000 to help pay the remaining medical bills he currently has from his first two surgeries/hospitalizations and also to help begin to pay for the this new 7 week treatment he is starting. We are unsure how much this will cost but any leftover money after the current medical bills are paid would go toward helping to pay for that treatment and to help make his life a little easier so he isn't worried about finances on top of going through all this.
If you are willing and able to donate some money to help my dad out then we would greatly appreciate it and say thank you for your kindness and generosity.
If you are unable to donate but would still like to help; you can help out by either spreading the word of this gofundme page or by sending us your prayers, well wishes, good vibes and/or anything else you can think of to help show your support. As we find out new information I will do my best to keep those of you who donated or follow this page updated. I would just like to end this with a statement that I've come to live by based off some of the things my dad has taught me over the years. "I don't give a damn about the odds, percentages or what the numbers say because none of that matters when it comes to winning, to succeeding. The only thing that matters is if there is a chance and that you do everything you can to take full advantage of it. And if there doesn't seem to be a chance in hell of succeeding, keep fighting anyway until you create that chance for yourself." - Logan Chase Michael...inspired by Douglas James Michael.
- Jan Kirk
- Belinda Howdyshell
- Mallory Morris
- Becky D
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