Meet Vicki. Our brave, funny, strong mother. She is a wife to Phil, our awesome dad who is a retired security guard for the school system. And mom and mother in law to Tristan (husband Matt) and Tori (husband Zach). And grandmother to twins Devin and Colin and granddaughter Charli. She is a para educator at Hannibal Middle School in the autism room.

Approximately two and half months ago she started experiencing back pain that progressed into what we thought was sciatica. She visited chiropractors, took pain medication, and had x-rays done but over the course of this time her pain did not cease. Her symptoms continued to worsen and she started missing work because the pain in the back and right leg was unbearable. She went to the walk-in and was put on a steroid, muscle relaxer, an anti-inflammatory, and pain medication. She tried this for 11 days with no relief. She established care with a doctor to be referred for an MRI (again, not able to return to work during this time). The MRI came back a week later and showed mom had a compression or "burst" fracture in her lumbar 2. The concern was she had no injury or fall to cause this.

Vicki's follow up appointment was the next week with a neurosurgeon and he noticed our mom was jaundice and her stomach was distended. He pulled my dad into the hallway and said "I think your wife has cancer..." CANCER? But we came in for a broken back. She was immediately admitted to the hospital and labs showed her white blood count was high, as well as her liver enzymes. Both red flags. The CT scan was done that night and on Thursday, May 25th her doctor confirmed she had tumors in her right breast (and her lymph nodes above her right breast are swollen (adenopathy), liver, lungs, and bone (so far we know her back and right pelvis). She has metastatic breast cancer, which is treatable but not curable.

Over the course of two weeks our world has been flipped upside down. Vicki has now been in the hospital for 16 days on both the oncology floor and skilled nursing. Her treatment has included 10 rounds of radiation to the spine, 1 high dose radiation to the pelvis and she just completed her 2nd round of chemotherapy June 7th. She receives occupational therapy and physical therapy each day, which have been very difficult because of her fracture and her body sore and tired from the chemotherapy and radiation. She is on approximately 8 different medications and had surgery for a port. She is unable to be discharged until her pain is better managed and she is strong enough to be safe at home.

The plan is 6 cycles of chemotherapy (a cycle is once a week, 2 weeks on and 1 week off) and a check in with radiation oncology on July 6th, as well as future scans to see if the chemotherapy is being effective. We are waiting on the liver biopsy to confirm what type of breast cancer she has.

With your help, we will be able to put money toward the monumental stress of hospital bills, home care (if needed), and everyday life expenses. Our father has always had to work side jobs to support our family, but his priority is being with our mom which means he is unable to bring in the extra income. This has caused a great amount of stress on him because they do not have the funds to tackle the costs. Please help lighten the burden of this overwhelming and devastating news that is still so fresh. If you're unable to financially support our mom, please add her to your prayer list. We believe greatly in the power of prayer and we appreciate your kindness.

Through all of this, Vicki has not shed one tear... through the restlessness...the nausea...or the pain. She has been extremely positive, calm, and at peace. She has a strong faith in the Lord and her demeanor has driven her family and friends to stay strong. Vicki is now the 3rd sibling to battle this awful disease, losing her brother Charlie two years ago and sister Sue three years ago. Her best friend, her mother Margie also passed from cancer 10 years ago. But she is determined to fight just like they did. Vicki wins no matter what.

We will update you as we know more. Thank you SO VERY MUCH for your love and support.

Tristan and Tori

Donations (209)

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  • Deb Da
    • $100 
    • 6 yrs
  • Megan Brown
    • $20 
    • 6 yrs
  • Deepak Acharya
    • $30 
    • 6 yrs
  • Trudy/Allan Hoskins
    • $150 
    • 6 yrs
  • Jeri and Zach Bemis
    • $50 
    • 6 yrs
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Organizer and beneficiary

Tristan McColez Hermsmeier
Quincy, IL
Phil and Vicki McColez

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