Shane Hebert's cancer treatment fund
Shane is an IT Specialist at Charter Communications, a husband of twenty-five years, and a father of five. After feeling fatigued for several months, he went to the doctor, and his doctors suspected gallbladder issues. On July 22, 2017, he went to the emergency room after a miscommunication with his wife Dawn about feeling pain when breathing. In the emergency room, his blood test results were abnormal, and a CT scan revealed several swollen lymph nodes and his spleen taking up half of his abdominal cavity instead of fitting in cupped hands. The doctor said that was characteristic of either leukemia or lymphoma. We were transferred to a larger hospital who had cancer specialists who could better diagnose and treat him. He underwent surgery to remove lymph nodes and perform a lymph node biopsy. He also underwent a bone marrow biopsy fully awake to ensure enough tissue for a diagnosis. He was diagnosed with stage IV diffuse large B-cell Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (DLBCL). He started his first round of R-CHOP (Rituxan/retuximab, cyclophosphamide, hydroxydaunomycin/doxorubicin/Andriamycin, Oncovin/vincristine, and prednisone/a steroid) on August 1, 2017. The treatments responded excellently for the first two or three cycles of R-CHOP. Around the fourth cycle, his neck started swelling again (lymph nodes), and on the day he was due for cycle five of six total, R-CHOP was cancelled to schedule a surgery to remove a lymph node from his neck as well as a suspicious spot on his shoulder in order to perform a biopsy and check for cancer. Unfortunately, some of the Cancer became resistant to the R-CHOP chemotherapy. A new regimen of chemotherapy was started, R-EPOCH (retuximab, etoposide, Oncovin/vincristine, cyclophosphamide, and hydroxydaunomycin/doxorubicin/Adriamycin). After two rounds of R-EPOCH, he ended up in the ER (December 8, 2017) for a bladder infection that was causing blood in the urine. During an CT to check his bladder and kidneys, there were suspicious spots on his spine. After an MRI, they found that three vertebrae (bones that make up his spine) had compression fractures and were shattered, and the bones were replaced by lymphoma tumors. He does not qualify for any sort of spinal surgery at the time because of the extent of the damage, the riskiness or the surgeries, and how weak he is from lymphoma. His oncologist has been extremely surprised by the aggressiveness of his cancer because genetically, his cancer isn’t supposed to be aggressive. However, his cancer has become resistant to two different regimens of chemotherapy. Despite all this, one of his new oncologists are still confident he can be CURED. As of writing this (January 7, 2018), he is in the hospital to receive his new regimen of chemotherapy, R-ICE (Rituxan, ifosfamide, carboplatin, and etoposide). He has to receive the ifosfamide, carboplatin, and etoposide in the hospital because the ifosfamide has rare but dangerous side effects. If he would experience the side effects, it’s safer and quicker for the hospital to respond.
Shane is third in a “domino effect” of family members who have been diagnosed with cancer. His grandfather passed away from stomach cancer in December 2015. His father had a stroke and was diagnosed with lung and head and neck cancer in June 2016 and passed away in March 2017. Then, in July 2017, he was diagnosed was lymphoma.
Shane’s wife Dawn is a registered nurse and graduated with her nursing degree from Nicholls State University in May 2015. His oldest child Michaela graduated from Nicholls in May 2016 with a pre-medical degree and has been taking care of Shane and his father since graduating. She plans on attending Nicholls this month for nursing. His next child Justin graduated in May from the United States Air Force Academy. Nick goes to Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana, for performing arts. His daughter Jordan is a junior at South Lafourche High School, and the youngest Rome is in sixth grade at Larose-Cut Off Middle School. Before cancer, Shane enjoyed spending time with his family more than anything whether it was board games, watching movies, hanging out in the kitchen while cooking supper, grocery shopping with some of us on Saturday mornings, or the rare dinner date with his wife Dawn without the kids. Shane’s second favorite thing after his family is Christmas. He is known for being able to give you the exact count till Christmas on any day of the year. He listens to Christmas music all year long, would keep up a Christmas tree year-round if Dawn would let, and has a portrait of Santa Claus in the house.
Shane was diagnosed at only 48 years old, which is young for a cancer diagnosis, and was completely healthy before cancer. He never smoked or drank either. His doctors believe his cancer was a chance thing and because of his health and age, his prognosis is very good. When he was diagnosed, he was told he would live for decades after this. He has lost a total of 82 pounds since January 2017. Thankfully, chemotherapy has yet to make him nauseated. Instead, he did lose his hair, suffers from a sore throat and mouth, is very fatigued, lost his appetite, and has trouble walking now. In December, he underwent surgery to have a feeding tube (PEG tube) inserted into his stomach because his appetite was so poor, he was diagnosed with anorexia. Since the PEG tube insertion, he has gained five pounds, which doesn’t sound like much, but after having lost weight for a year, five gained is exciting. As he continues to gain weight, he can receive physical and occupational therapy to rebuild his strength now that he is receiving adequate nutrition.
He has been out of work since he went to the ER in July 2017. He’s been on short-term disability, which only provides 66.7-75% of his salary. He recently exhausted short-term disability and is now receiving long-term disability, which provides him with even less of his salary, 60%. He’s had several ER visits, many of which resulted in hospital stays, on top of chemotherapy, several different doctor’s appointments, lab tests, imaging (X-ray, CT, MRI), and hospital stays. And recently, there was a lapse in his insurance coverage because he was notified 29 days after his insurance ran out that it ran out. He wasn’t able to apply for coverage through COBRA under January 2, 2018, so we had to make several phone calls to get his case escalated and his insurance re-instated January 6 or January 8 instead of January 15, and it has caused problems with receiving care because it happened the week before he needed to be admitted to the hospital for the new chemotherapy. The hospital had to spend two hours on the phone with the insurance company and his employer benefits center to get his hospital visit authorized without us having to pay the entire visit out of pocket upfront, and it caused him to wait on hospital admission from 9:30 A.M. to 8:30 P.M.
We as a family are so thankful and humbled for all the prayers, help, offers for help that leave us at a loss because we don’t know what else we need, help with things like doing our laundry when our dryer broke, money for Christmas gifts and bills, and finally for coming up with the idea to start a Go Fund Me page. The amount of love and concern that people show for our situation is so overwhelming in the best way possible from friends and family to coworkers. If you want to give, thank you. If you can’t, that is okay. Not everybody can. God knows we can’t most times. The want to give is enough for us to be thankful for. And it is so hard for Shane and Dawn to ask for help, but they’ve finally accepted it. Prayers are just as good as money if that’s what you give.
- Gilberto Carrera
- Kelly Alario
- Angela Gregos
Organizer and beneficiary
Dawn Beebe Hebert