With a shattered heart I am here to report that my father's cancer, an extremely rare sarcoma called Malignant Solitary Fibrous Tumor Stage 4 with metastatis to the liver, has re-occured for the third time since 2015. We received news today from the oncologist that a new mass is growing on his liver, and that if the immunotherapy treatment does not work-that we are entirely out of treatment options.
Due to recently discovered conditions discussed below, my father is not likely to be a candidate for surgery a third time. The only remaining chemotherapy pill for my dad's disagnosis did not work, as evidenced by tumor reoccurance, so all of our hope resides in this final treatment.
Over the past week, in just the second week of our new year, I brought my father to the ER for extreme weakness. He ended up remaining inpatient at the hospital for nearly a week, and it was discovered that he has a blood clot in his heart, had a silent heart attack and required a stent for a clogged artery. He also just underwent a major surgery to remove two very large tumors on October 5th 2017, in which he lost a part of his colon and additional intestine on top of a colostomy that resulted from an initial 6lb tumor being resected in 2015. My Dad has lost 15 lbs in the last month, down to 170lbs on a man that is normally well over 200.
We are at the second of four immunotherapy infusions (1/15/2018.) The final two will be spaced 3 weeks apart, and a scan will follow in approximately 6 weeks to determine if we will be able to move forward or if treatment will be entirely discontinued.
If you have ever met my father, you may know him truly as one of the nicest people you know. He is selfless, giving, nonjudgmental, forgiving, generous, helpful and loving towards humans, animals and all creatures big and small that lie in between. He has a heart of gold and an attitude of gratitude and humility, at all times.
I am my Dad's sole caretaker. Though he has always been firecely indepedent, he is now extremely weak and struggling to allow himself time to rest and heal. I want to spend every possible moment that I can with my Dad, and I would like to be able to help my Dad have experiences that he has never had, to fund possible alternative or holisitc treatments not covered by insurance, and to keep him resting comfortably throughout this fight.
He and I will be taking this journey together to the very end- an ending in which I’m hoping my Dad has a fat belly for me to make fun of again and one in which he will still be here to watch me turn 30 and over the hill. A light at the end of the tunnel that will allow him to see his 60th birthday (he is now 58.)
Many of you, I am unfortunately sure, have had cancer demolish your lives in only a second. Everything changes. Dad has to fight for his health and in the meantime has to sacrifice his livelihood. I know he feels the loss not only of normalcy but also an ineptness that I don’t want him to feel. He has always been a working man, but he needs and deserves this time to heal. He has had to give up many small joys as he suffers quietly through the pain. Trips to the hospital, visits to specialists, treatments, and surgeries have become a full-time job.
My Dad is my universe. He is the reason I am still standing. He is the reason I am able to face the rising sun every day, even after we lost my mom. He encourages and supports me to try anything that comes from my heart. He picks me up when I fall and I can’t find the strength to get up. He is the only man who truly loves me- despite any flaws- and the only man that I will ever truly need. He is my Papa Bear. The one and only.
I just can’t imagine the rest of my life without him. So instead everyday I beg God for a miracle. And I try to be as pro-active as possible on our end. Thank you kindly for your help.
- Joseph Berardo
- Chris Massie
- Amy Tam
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