In October 2010, I (Carol Anne) woke up in Cooper’s ICU with a cancer diagnosis, basal cell carcinoma had invaded my skull and I’d had a craniotomy and a skin graft in the days before I woke up in the ICU. In the days and months and years that followed I had another skin graft to repair my head. Thirty-two radiation treatments and a muscle flap surgery and one more skin graft later I was cancer-free. In December 2012, I was pronounced 1-year cancer-free and I remained cancer-free for four years and fully expected to find that I was five years cancer-free when I had my MRIs in February 2017, unfortunately that wasn’t to be. Microscopic cancer cells not removed or irradiated during the first craniotomy and radiation treatments had lived on and grew inside my brain until they became big enough to be seen. On February 10th, I learned my cancer had come back. As the weeks progressed I began to lose my sight in the left sides of my right and left eyes (Homonymous Hemianopsia Bilateral). I am currently in occupational therapy to learn to read and function with this condition. Since February I’ve had a brain biopsy and a second craniotomy to resect the aggressive tumor in my right occipital lobe. During surgery, the neurosurgeon removed as much of the tumor as was possible. Thirty radiation treatments followed (June 20-August 1). On August 21st, I will have an MRI to see if the surgery and the radiation treatments eradicated all of the cancer in my brain. I see the oncologist on September 7th to discuss the results and where to go from here.
In September of 2016, we thought Chuck had kidney stones so we had him seen by a urologist who ordered an MRI, which found the pain in his back and side was not caused by kidney stones, but instead renal cell carcinoma. In October 2016 Chuck had surgery to remove his left kidney and adrenal gland. The pathology revealed he has an uncommon form of kidney cancer, papillary. His diagnosis is renal cell carcinoma type two, it’s an uncommon and aggressive type of cancer with no specific standard of care and no cure. Since then Chuck has participated in a clinical trial (Dec. 2016-March 2017) the doctors hoped would help treat his type of cancer, unfortunately the drug didn’t help. The clinical trial drug was not effective and Chuck’s cancer grew 2-3 times in size and spread. In April 2017 Chuck started a new drug, which was also ineffective and his cancer grew and spread more. In July 2017 Chuck started Immunotherapy, his first scans to check the effectiveness of the immunotherapy will be in either late August or early September.
So basically, we are both currently in limbo, not sure if the surgery and radiation eradicated all of the cancer in my brain and Chuck is currently undergoing immunotherapy infusions every other week until we know if the immunotherapy is helping.
To help with medical bills, treatments, copays, prescriptions and everyday living we are asking for your help to put their minds at ease financially during this difficult and stressful time. Any donation would be greatly appreciated from a very deserving lovely couple!
- Tom Livingston
- Carol Graham
- Kathy Tiberio
- Lorraine Heckler
Organizer and beneficiary
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