Help TJ Survive Stage 4 Cancer

I am battling stage 4 metastatic cancer. I have gone through multiple therapies (chemo, radiation, immunotherapy, and now targeted therapy) as well as 3 surgeries. I have lymphedema due to the removal of cancerous lymph nodes, and see a lymphedema specialist every week. I also need to have my blood monitored weekly due to side effects of chemotherapy. I have an open wound due to my tumor that needs to be checked bi-monthly and I see my oncologist once a month. Lastly, I have ongoing tests (P.E.T., MRI, CT, EKG, bone marrow, and biopsies). All of these require transportation (cancer center in approximately a 35 minute drive since I switched to Orlando Regional Medical Center fro Moffitt. I drive an older car (2001 Malibu) that has multiple problems so I have to take a train, or rent a car to get to my treatments. I also need special supplies that y insurance does not cover, as well as OTC medications. I still owe about $7,000 to Baptists MD Anderson in Jacksonville as well. Any help, and contribution, no matter how small, helps. 

Many of you know me and know that the last 6 years have been some on the best of my life. I pretty much started my life over. I met and married my beautiful wife, graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in history, and was accepted into graduate school at University of North Florida. I moved back to Florida and attended UNF for a year before treatment forced me to switch to an online school. I am currently a full-time graduate student at the University of Nebraska at Kearney majoring in early American history with a minor in early modern Europe. I want to live more than one, two, or even three years. I want to finish grad school, teach online, finish my novels, and spend time with my wife, kids, and grandkids. I want to live as long as possible, and I don't want to leave my wife all alone. 

A few friends have suggested that I expand a bit on my life story but writing about myself has never been easy for me. However, I will give it a shot:

It is probably enough to say I was not born with a silver spoon and my life growing up was at best, difficult. After spending several years in New York City living on the lower east side, playing at A7, and meeting some of the best people I have to this day ever known, I left the NYHC scene to start a family. 

I spent the next 27 years in New Jersey, Virginia, and Florida, working, writing, getting my high school diploma, running my own business, home educating two of my children, and taking care of my Mother, who died of cancer in 2004. We never had much money, but we managed somehow (at times through the generosity of others) until, in 2010 my youngest when off to college at age 17. 

One year later, while living in the DC area, I went back to college to get my A. S. degree. I attended school full-time and worked full-time (including overtime), and for the first time in my life I actually made a decent amount of money. It was hard, but I did it. After my A.S. I moved to Philadelphia where I met my wife in person after an 11 months on the phone long-distance relationship. We got married in 2015 and I started working security earning just barely enough to live on.

While in Philly I also completed my B.A. in history again working full-time and going to school full-time. I also got a better paying job at the airport and my wife's immigration was approved. I started giving talks on early American history and started the Sons of Washington. I was also accepted into the graduate history program at UNF. The only negative was that someone had hit my car from behind while we were waiting at a red light in PA and my car was totalled.

In July we moved to Tampa without a car. We had a bit of a rough start because the car I bought in Tampa turned out to be a lemon and I ended up having to junk it and save up for three months for a new one.  Of course, if that weren't enough, my wife had to have emergency surgery (which we are still paying off) shortly after moving into our new apartment, but aside from that everything started to go our way. 

I got  a better job, my wife got a job, and we were finally able to get a car. Everything was going great for the first time I can remember (except for a few years in Virginia), and my wife and I finally had time to enjoy life, have fun, and spend time together. I also found out that I qualified for insurance help through Marketplace and I was finally able to get medical insurance. I made a check-up appointment as soon as it kicked in that February and that is when they found the tumors and my cancer journey began. it was also during this time that I lost my job due to medical appointment, surgery, etc. I found a temp job just before we moved to Jacksonville, then worked as a graduate assistant for a year at UNF. I took another temp job in Jax in order for us to be able to afford to move to Saint Cloud. I have not worked since and am not in the process of applying for disability.

So now, yes, I want to live. I want to have just a few more years. I would prefer at least ten, but I will take any I can get. Right now less than ten just feels too short, at least the good parts do. Asking for help has always been hard for me, but I have no alternative, but this is a costly disease. It's not all for me, it's for my wife and my kids that I want to survive the most. This is also the first time in a long time that my wife has been happy. I admit I am a little selfish, but it's not all for me. Like I said, I don't want to leave her alone. I still want to be able to help out my kids if they ever need it and see my grandkids grow. There is a lot yet that I have to do. 

Again, thank you for reading all of this, and more importantly, thank you for your contribution and/or for sharing.

TJ Ellis


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Tomas Javier Ellis 
Saint Cloud, FL
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