If you will permit me, I am Mike Snyder and very pleased and proud to tell you of my son, Wolfgang “Wolfy” Snyder. He was the first of three children to join me and my beautiful wife Mary Jane. He is a dear child and older brother who is always so brave and warm and quick with a smile or funny story. He is so smart, sometimes I don’t know what planet he comes from…I try not to be too scared. We love him to death, and so do his younger brother and sister.
Unfortunately, my dear son Wolfy is now engaged in the fight of his life.
This past winter and early spring, each member of our family had the usual colds and coughs to deal with, but eventually recovered. After two months of back and forth with Instacare doctors and nurses, though, nothing seemed to help Wolfy get rid of his persistent cough and the pain in his upper chest.
With no improvement after too many weeks of this, we finally brought him in to see our family doctor, and she was wonderful and quick. After much poking and prodding, blood tests, and many X-rays and CAT/PET scans a few days later, we got the diagnosis:
It was cancer.
On March 20, 2018 Wolfy was diagnosed with Stage 4 Bulky Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Despite prayers, fasting, tears, bargains, worry and heartsickness, we eventually accepted that Wolf’s diagnosis was that serious: Wolfy had a grapefruit-sized tumor growing in a lymph node in his upper chest, right next to important blood vessels, impacting the Superior Vena Cava and other vital channels. We were immediately told surgery is not a viable option; the winding mass was too invasive. His only course for remedy: the long painful and difficult road of chemotherapy infusions.
The reality of Wolfy’s situation really kicked in when we went with Wolfy to have his chemotherapy “power port” surgically implanted into his chest just below his collarbone. No fun at all, but essential for injecting and porting chemo to the growing tumor in his chest. That’s when it hit us: this was Wolfy’s new reality. Cancer was now enemy number one.
During the early stages of fighting this chronic illness (and before we knew it was cancer) Wolfy missed too many days of work at his full-time job at a small engineering company, ISAT Seismic Bracing. Wolfy really liked his job, and he was good at it. But his work suffered, so without any warning or settlement or separation period, they dismissed him. With no recourse and without tears or complaints, Wolfy just cleaned out his desk and called me up and asked for a ride home.
Wolf has always been that way: brave and cheerful; not worrying about things he can’t control and come what may.
From an early age, he has been that happy-go-lucky kid. He loves to read thick books, hike in the mountains and cool forests, play Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons. He listens to a bewildering variety of music, goes to movies, plays with his younger brother, sister and his friends, and just likes to goof off when the chores are done. Wolf is an Eagle Scout.
Since his cancer diagnosis, not much of that has changed.
There is a constant level of pain; he says about 5 on a scale of 1-10. So of course his stamina, strength and general comfort level are impacted; he doesn’t have his usual vitality. But every day he finds the strength to get out of the house to go for all the doctor’s appointments, blood tests, PET and CAT scans, and his regular chemo infusion sessions. Thanks to his doctor’s recommendations, Wolfy has been encouraged to get outside regularly for walks, but was told he must avoid crowds, and the germs that come with them. Occasionally, we still sneak him into the foyer at church for the sacrament and then quickly take him home. But despite some loneliness and the hardship, Wolfy has always been cheerful; he’s very slow to complain yet quick to smile. Only once so far has this burden become so much that Wolfy has broken down in tears in our arms.
Wolfy, a brave soldier, jumped right in to his treatments. He learned all about the chemicals making up the chemotherapy attacking his body but killing the cancer, including how to moderate the nausea and other side effects that come with chemo. He also prepared for all his physical and psychological challenges, so he wasn’t surprised when he lost more than 15 pounds. In fact, he rallied and started to gain it back. His complexion has changed and he has lost a lot of hair, but still has the hair remaining on his arms and a little on his head - - some of it now gray. Overall, Wolfy knows where he stands. He knows the challenge that remains. Most important, he knows he will fight and beat cancer.
As anyone who has dealt with cancer knows, the costs associated with these fights build quickly. Thankfully, our health insurance is fairly good, but still does not come anywhere close to covering everything that Wolfy needs in this fight for life. With his final chemo treatment done, and couple of months of daily radiation treatment and after-treatment care, our family has begun to realize that we cannot do all this by ourselves. Now – despite the highest of spirits and the most positive of attitudes – the emotional and financial toll is weighing on Wolfy and upon us, his parents and siblings.
Wolfy, though, does not want to make a fuss. In fact, he is uncomfortable with us even asking for help. And yet just like he counts on his amazing doctors and nurses, who have been so professional, kind, and supportive, he knows he must count on others, too.
So we humbly ask you to fight alongside us. Please help us make some of the long-term costs for Wolfy bearable going forward – always moving forward, which is all we can do.
Our goal is to offset the high co-pays and deductibles we’re obliged to pay out-of-pocket for Wolf’s treatments and diagnostic tests/scans - - completed and yet to come. In addition, there are the additional expenses that come with long-term cancer care like protein drinks and special food for Wolfy, gas and other travel expenses, time off from work, and so much more. At this point, every dollar matters.
Please donate to the #WolfyFightsCancer campaign as you can. If you can’t donate personally, please share this campaign with your network. Every dollar, share, Facebook post, tweet, email and prayer helps!
Wolfy and all of us who love him so much truly appreciate your support.
From Wolfy and his family to all of you… thank you so much.
#WolfyFightsCancer #f*ckcancer #goodtobealive #baldisbeautiful
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