Dear Prayer Warriors,
As most of you know, my mother was diagnosed with inoperable Pancreatic cancer on April 12, the day before my birthday. I remember when the doctor left the room. After being told there was nothing they could do, we went home to mourn. Being told the person who inspired you and loved you without measure has something you cannot fix is the most devastating and helpless feeling. After several days spent in shock, the researching began. We pulled up our boot straps and decided that we were finding a way to fight this! A few days later we were on a plane to Minnesota to visit a world-renowned surgeon, Dr. Mark Truty, who was operating on inoperable tumors of the pancreas. He was our hope, this was our plan! After scans showed the tumor was only in the pancreas, my mother had a biopsy. This biopsy showed one or two small spots on her abdominal wall that did not show up on the scan, and so our fight began. We took 4 of the strongest rounds of chemo possible called, "Fulfironox" then returned for rescans in July.
Upon our return trip, Dr. Truty informed us that he didn't feel like my mother would be a candidate for the surgery we had hoped for based on her spots outside of her pancreas. He explained that the risk to reward ratio was too high, and that he cancer may have time to spread during the healing process after the surgery. Although he did give us some good news that the tumor was responding to the chemo, we left devastated and confused. This was our only path to a real cure. Chemo was just keeping it at bay. Not to mention the chemo was killing my mom, with the last two rounds landing her in the hospital, getting her down to 98 pounds at one point. This was no good. Again, we changed paths and switched chemo drugs in an effort to fight the cancer while making sure she didn't lose any more weight or have any extreme symptoms. As anyone knows who has experienced this awful disease we call cancer, chemo is the Devil's Advocate. We needed another plan, incorporated with chemo, but it seemed everywhere we turned there were no other options.
Then, God threw an angel in our paths who would be the one to expose us to our new second chance. Her name was Joann, and her sister was fighting the same disease with the same type of inoperable tumor. She was being treated at the same doctor's office as us, for the same thing, at the same time. We "accidentally" ran into her last week at our routine check-up, which ended up being not-so-routine after all. Joann's sister was denied surgery, too, at the Mayo Clinic, so she was forced to continue her research as position of medical advocate. During her research, she found out about a procedure we had never even heard of called the "Nanoknife IRE." This procedure was available for advanced Pancan patients who had spots outside of their pancreas, and had a few promising stories and research to back it up. Joann didn't waste any time getting her sister into the best doctor available for her particular case who did this procedure. His name was Dr. Donoway in Miami, Florida. The only drawback was that Medicare did not pay for the Nanoknife procedure. That didn't stop Joann, and 6 weeks later her sister, who was once told she had no hope other than chemo, was flying to Miami for the surgery that could be the chance to save her life. Out of all of my tireless days and hours of research, I had never come across this procedure or the research that went along with it. If we would not have run into Joann, we would not know about it at all! God put us together, at the right place and the right time. We soon found out that Dr. Donoway would call us himself! After his secretary gave me his personal cell phone number, he called our family and had a phone conference that lasted over an hour. He was very forthcoming and positive and answered every single question we had, in detail. After we hung up, we knew this was our guy! As Joann had experienced, as well, our only hesitation to move forward was that Medicare did not pay for the procedure, which could cost anywhere between $15,000 and $34,000. Which brings me here...
My mom has worked for other people her whole life. She has raised a family and grandchildren while never skipping a beat and being the best teacher anyone could ask for. She has taught hundreds of students and touched hundreds of lives. Her legacy follows her wherever she goes, and the way people speak of her when they hear her name goes to show what kind of woman she really is. She has taught me to be strong and resilient and never to give up, even when things look bleak, dark or hopeless. I want to show her that things are never hopeless, that no one can place an expiration date on anyone, and that there is always one more chance. We need your help. To move forward with this option, we need to help raise money for this surgery and this procedure that can potentially save her life, and give us more time with our Carol.
The Nanoknife for Nana campaign is specifically set up to raise the money needed for my mother to have the surgery to cover the cost that Medicare will not pay for.
Please pray for my mom as she continues the chemo while we wait to schedule the surgery, and pray for our mission to reach the eyes and hearts of many who love and support my mom.
Feel free to share, share, share!!!
*We will most likely be organizing a fundraiser and/or raffle soon, too, so anyone willing to help can contact me at [email redacted] or call me directly!
Thank you all for your love and support. See the links below to learn about the doctor and the procedure.
Links to learn: