RARE INCURABLE CANCER FOR MOM OF TWO

Our beautiful friend, Jossara, needs your help. She is in the midst of an extraordinary battle and needs all of our help to soften the financial blow.

Jossara started feeling fatigued and out of breath when she was in the second trimester of her second pregnancy earlier this year. Her doctor's opinion was that her symptoms were most likely age-related. But Jossara's pregnancy soon showed increasingly concerning signs. She could no longer feel her son kick, and test results revealed that his growth was restricted, and his heart was stressed. Jossara went to the ER, and the physicians decided to deliver her son via C-Section nine weeks before his actual due date because his heart rate dipped down and fluctuated continuously. Baby Emrys spent the first two months of his life in the NICU at Stanford Medical. While in the hospital, Emrys suffered a hole in his tummy, had surgery, and had a blood transfusion. He was intubated for two weeks and placed on oxygen for over a month. Jossara and her husband Matt took turns going to the NICU to be with Emrys.

One week after Emrys arrived home, Jossara became extremely fatigued and began to have a relentless cough. Then everything started to unravel. After two months with this cough, she secured a telehealth appointment and was told it was allergies. The allergy and asthma tests both cleared, but the x-ray revealed unusual activity within the lymph nodes of her sternum. This began an agonizing series of tests. A CT scan with contrast indicated that Jossara had pericardial effusion, which is excess fluid around the heart, and lymph nodes were swollen in both her upper and lower body.

Jossara had full blood work to check for autoimmunity as she was experiencing severe joint pain and a rash all over her body. Initially, doctors speculated it may be lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. However, the blood work was negative for both conditions. During this time, Jossara was breastfeeding Emrys and she developed mastitis. One breast began to hurt, grew hard lumps, and became extremely red. She was prescribed antibiotics, and thankfully, her cough was eliminated during the course of treatment. But it returned after she completed the medication.

One night the cough caused such difficulty breathing that Jossara returned to the ER. She was admitted to Stanford for five days and was again tested for autoimmunity. Because it did not appear to be an autoimmune disease, her rheumatologist now wanted to rule out lymphoma. A PET scan with glucose was administered, and it was determined that cancer had infiltrated her entire lymphatic system. One lymph node in her neck was biopsied. Pathology reports showed that this was not lymphoma but rather Cancer of Unknown Primary (CUP). CUP diagnoses are metastatic malignancies with a primary tumor site that cannot be identified on the basis of standardized testing and imaging studies. Sometimes the primary cancer is never found. CUP makes up 3-5% of all cancer cases, and life expectancy is usually between 6-15 months with treatment.

Jossara has endured scans, blood work of tumor markers, a CEA (Carcinoembryonic Antigen), a bronchoscopy, a bronchial lavage, an endoscopy, a colonoscopy, MRIs of the breasts and brain, and a transvaginal ultrasound. The Stanford Medical team then decided to remove and examine three lymph nodes from Jossara's sternum which revealed the same CUP diagnosis.

In September 2021, Jossara was hospitalized for eight days due to more breathing difficulties, and new findings were reached. The fluid around her heart had increased considerably, and she developed blood clots in her lungs and heart. She had a CVC filter placed to block blood clots from traveling from her legs to her heart and fluid was drained from around her heart. During this hospital stay, Jossara had her first chemotherapy treatment administered intravenously. She was sent home with injectable blood thinners.

While recuperating at home, her inability to breathe easily and even walk posed a threat to her life. At her next cardiology appointment, she was sent back to the ER. The fluid surrounding her heart had tripled in volume. After draining it once again, Jossara's team of doctors decided to perform a pericardial window surgery to help the excess fluid dissipate within her body. Not long after this surgery, she had another PET scan with glucose which determined that the cancer had spread.

A few days of recovery was needed before her second chemotherapy treatment, after which Jossara had a severe reaction to the medication. She blacked out and stopped breathing. A code blue was called, and Jossara was revived. Two days later, an emergency medicine physician created a new plan to deliver the chemo to Jossara slowly, in ten hours instead of three.

Jossara got permission from her Stanford Medical team to fly to MD Anderson in Houston, TX for a second opinion because MD Anderson is the leading CUP specialist in the nation. She was notified that the first two chemo treatments had not affected the cancer at all. The oncologists changed the chemo drugs and advised her Stanford Medical team of this new regimen. Jossara returned home and has received the new chemotherapy which is scheduled for the next eight weeks. If it is determined that this new protocol is more effective, they will continue with it. If they discover that it is not working, they will include Jossara in their clinical trial. The MD Anderson oncologists confirmed that her Cancer of Unknown Primary is not curable, but the clinical trial will give her a 20% chance of keeping the cancer at bay.

Only time will tell if this chemotherapy will stop the spread and remove the cancer. Jossara and her beautiful family -- husband Matt, seven-year-old son Liam, and eight-month-old son Emrys -- need your prayers, positive energy, love, light, and financial support. As you can imagine, these costs have increased greatly with each procedure, hospital visit, overnight stay, and continued treatments from two medical teams. This sweet family needs all the help they can get. We want Jossara only to focus on getting well, gaining her strength back, and healing completely in order to return to the health and happiness she so richly deserves. Worrying about how she and Matt will make ends meet is very stressful and will cause more emotional pain.

Our brilliant Jossara is determined to fight despite her diagnosis and odds from this horrible disease. She believes in miracles, and so do we. We choose to rally around our dear friend, lift her up in her time of need, and be the pillars that she needs to lean on during this extremely difficult time. Make no mistake; Jossara is one tough cookie. She has never let any obstacle get in her way, and this CUP diagnosis is no different. We admire her passion, strength, and tenacity. She has overcome many challenges in her life, and this too she will overcome.

It is Jossara's fervent wish to recover and heal, where she dreams of spending her days enjoying Liam, Emrys, and Matt, who are her whole world. She prays that God will bless her with the ability to see her boys grow up, share their lives, continue to make an impact on them, and create countless memories with them. We want Jossara to thrive once again so we can continue to live, love, and laugh together. We'll be thrilled to know she's enjoying precious moments of life at home as well as watching her shine on TV, in theater, and on film. We are grateful for the wonderful woman that she is and the friendship she has blessed us with. Jossara is truly remarkable, irreplaceable, and phenomenal in every possible way.

Please consider donating to Jossara's Go Fund Me page. No donation is too small, and we are greatly humbled by your expressions of love for her.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
  • Kristen Reider 
    • $100 
    • 8 d
  • Holly Mesnard 
    • $200 
    • 21 d
  • Molly Greene 
    • $200 
    • 25 d
  • Doug & Shannon Allsworth 
    • $100 
    • 25 d
  • Vidita Subbarao 
    • $500 
    • 28 d
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Organizer

Angela Albarez 
Organizer
Menlo Park, CA