Gioi & Maggie Are Fighting Cancers!
At the age of 9 months, our perfect, cheerful, bouncing baby boy was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma. It is a Childhood Cancer that he spent the next three years fighting with Chemotherapy, Surgeries, Sedations, Infections, invasive tests and way too many Pokes.
Thankfully, he is now surviving and thriving and shows no evidence of growth or spread of the Cancer, as of his last tests in March 2016. On the heels of the fight for his son's life against Cancer, Gioi has learned that he, too has Cancer.
Gioi was diagnosed at the tender age of 37 with Advanced Stage T3 Prostate Cancer. The staging has been updated after his Radical Prostatectomy Surgery revealed Lymph involvement. Now it is considered advanced Stage 4 Prostate Cancer. We have options for treatment at this point, none of them easy, but he is confident and prepared to beat this thing! The help and support of family and friends is so appreciated and necessary.
As of November 2, 2016, Maggie is also fighting her own Cancer. Stage 4 Colon Cancer that has metastasized to the liver. Our little family is literally in the fight of our lives. Maggie's proposed treatment begins with 4 rounds of Chemotherapy, hoping to shrink the liver tumors enough to be removed with sugery, the original Colon tumor will also be removed and the Colon rejoined, hopefully without need for a permanent Colostomy bag. Currently the Colon tumor is being pushed out of the way with a Stent to make eating and passing stool possible for her.
We will post updates as we have them on Caring Bridge:
Gioi is a caring father, loving husband, cherished son and brother, and just the nicest guy you could ever meet. It is so unfair that he has been stricken with this disease, after fighting it so long second hand with our son. Not that anyone deserves to be sick, but he is the last person who deserves this!
Send Get-Well cards, if desired to:
Gioi Graziano and/or Maggie Graziano
P.O. BOX 2352
CARLSBAD, CA 92018
I am personally devastated and reeling, but I also know we have the strenth to fight, because we have been fighting Cancer for over half our marriage! I wouldn't trade a minute of it for anything, though. Maybe the fight has made us stronger, it certainly hasn't broken us! All I ask is maybe 60 more years with the man of my dreams, my soulmate, the amazing father of my amazing sons!
As we struggle to keep up with our childrens' hospital bills, these new diagnoses weigh heavily on our minds for financial reasons as well. Gioi has continued working, through pain and discomfort, to provide for his wife, son and baby. We hate to ask for anything, and never wanted to fundraise during our son's fight, but understand we need help with this now.
I have created reward levels, but please donate in any amount. You have our sincerest thanks and appreciation,
A Message from Gioi's Mom:
It is so difficult when a family struggles with Cancer, but no family should be fighting two battles at once. My grandson was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma at the age of 9 months and has gone through chemo, surgeries and too many tests to tally. He is six and is a survivor, our Super Hero. My son and his wife are the most amazing couple. Their combined strength and resilience is beyond belief. But there is a new battle on the horizon for my sweet family. My son, at the age of 37, has just been diagnosed with Stage 3 Prostate Cancer. He is so concerned for his family and their well-being. He has always put family above his personal needs and desires. I am reaching out to all friends and family to donate to help them with medical expenses, procedures that may not be covered by insurance and to help them out financially during his battle. I know they will brave this challenge as they have in the past, but not having to worry about extra financial expenses at this time will help them to focus on winning this battle. My heartfelt thank you and gratitude to all who donate.
I came to my regular appointment 2 1/2 hours from home at City of Hope, with dr. Fakih and to get a spinal tap that he had ordered because of some strange symptoms I've been having that's one of you may know about with my throat and these headaches for 4 weeks and just real fatigue. He did say that they needed to check me into the hospital because of my trouble swallowing and choking when I do drink or eat anything. I had an MRI this evening to double-check again that there's no cancer in the meninges.
I'm not sure how many other test they'll order for tomorrow I know for sure there's a CT scheduled and that I'm not allowed to eat or drink because they're afraid I will choke. I fought tooth-and-nail to not get checked in everybody knows how much I hate getting checked in because I feel like it's impossible to get out of once you do like every little thing is so much more impossible which of course is how it has been since I've been here just simple things. And I miss my boys more than anything. Do we headed home since we're in City of Hope he'll bring back some supplies tomorrow. So my goal for tomorrow is going to be more positive and less....This is the End whoa is me me blah blah blah.
Thank you to all who have been able to help out with prayers meals and taking care of our boys for us while we're not there it means the world to me cuz you know there's not very many people trust my precious boys with
Lots of Love
Since she is on a trial (NCT03005002) so much could have happened to disqualify her and almost did several times. We were literally holding our breath until the IV drip began.
Our last update we mentioned we were afraid she may not qualify for the trial because of an infection. The doctors originally had told us they didn’t think we would qualify but it turned out the infection was small enough that they didn’t think it risked interfering with her treatment. Back on trial. We went ahead with the y90 radioembolization because although required for the study it is done as “standard of care” which means the trial qualifiers don’t matter. Then a couple week later Maggie had a partial blockage of her small bowel. This also carried the risk of disqualifying her from the study. However the blockage relieved itself without any surgical intervention. Back on trial. But another infection or bowel blockage would again risk disqualification so Maggie has been very careful the last week, even to the point of avoiding solid food. She made it to today with no other issues. Still on trial. Almost there, but needed good blood tests today to continue.
We got labs done in the morning then went to clinic to get the results and a check up. Liver function was good. ANC was good. Platelets good. BUT hemoglobin needed to be 9.0 g/dl. It was 8.8. Many studies allow a transfusion if your hemoglobin is too low, but this one does not. The doctor suggested we retest in hopes we get a better reading. They drew some more blood and ran the test while Maggie and I had lunch at the café. When Maggie’s phone rang and the nurse asked us to come back to clinic for “someone to speak with us” we were sure the test was too low again. But as soon as we walked in the door they told us it was good! BACK ON TRIAL!
Still holding our breath in the infusion center waiting room we were informed the lab forgot to do a urine test this morning (argh… Maggie had asked if they were sure they didn’t need it and they said no). So another trip to the lab and another hour and a half waiting for results. And all good! Infusion #1 was under way!
Another bit of good news today is that Maggie’s liver lesions showed a slight decrease in size. Slight is great as the last few CT’s showed an increase. We are hoping this means the y90 is working and will keep the liver lesions at bay for Maggie to get more immunotherapy infusions. Also hoping they have the desired effect on the tumor micro environment that primes the cancer to respond to the immunotherapy. And hoping this sends the cancer into remission for a lengthy period.
A lot of hope, but I guess we’re in the right place for it.
My scan on 7/31 showed some dimensions of my liver lesions decrease and some increase. The oncologist classified this as stable disease but also told us we should be ready with our next line of therapy in case of signs of further progression. This is a wake up call, or reality check for me... That I need to get working on what I'm leaving behind, maybe sooner rather than later. More on that later, but suffice it to say I pray that I get to be with my family for the holidays this year. We discussed a few options -
1. Another type of chemotherapy - this would give me the highest chance of response, but may not last very long.
2. Targeted therapy that tries to attack mutations specific to my cancer. - I had molecular testing of my tumors and a molecular tumor board at UCSD came up with a combination of drugs that they think may be benificial. Its interesting because its targeted to my cancer, but also scary there's no data on how well or if it would work.
3. A clinical trial possibly with immunotherapy - My type of cancer doesn't normally respond very well to immunotherapy. But there are several different trials going on trying different ways to promote a response to immunotherapy. The upside here is that response to immunotherapy can last a long time.
We did a lot of research and met with the doctors at UCSD and City of Hope and came up with a plan for the "next step". City of Hope is running a trial with two parts:
1. Y90 radioembolization - This is standard of care for some colon cancer patients and has proven to work in a majority of cases. Work means to delay progression of the tumors. They put millions of radioactive beads into my bloodstream and they feed right into the liver lesions and get stuck there delivering radiation basically only to the lesions.
2. Immnotherapy - with what they call dual checkpoint blockade. Two different immnotherapy types (PDL1 and CTLA4) that work in different ways to "take the breaks off" the immune system allowing it to kill the cancer cells.
The thought behind the trial is that the radioembolization helps induce a response to immnotherapy. The cool part is in animal studies this response wasn't just limited to the treated area but systemic. Secondly, the combination of the two immunotherapy drugs also has shown promise to increase the chance of response even without the radioembolization. And at the least, the y90 itself is likely to be beneficial to me by delaying progression.
I signed the consent for the trial to get the paperwork started but was going to continue chemo for a couple more rounds. However....
My chemo was delayed for my kidney stone and then again last Tuesday because I wasn't feeling well. Then Tuesday night (August 22) I went to the ER with a fever, pain in my lower right back and tiredness. They admitted me for observation and gave me antibiotics. They discharged me on Wednesday thinking I did not have an infection. It turned out after the cultures were finished that I did/do have an infection, either kidney or UTI. I am now taking Cipro for that. Sometimes I forget how weakened my immune system is. It has now been about 4 weeks (since August 3) since I have had chemo...
While I was inpatient for that infection, they did another CT scan and it does show the tumors are continuing to grow. So it seems they have grown resistant to the current chemo. Although it has also been longer since I've had chemo than usual, but at the time of the CT it was only 1 week longer than usual.
So where we are at this point is:
1. I may no longer be a candidate for the trial at City of Hope due to my infection. I would need to be off antibiotics with no signs of infection for a few weeks before entering the trial. With my tumors growing they don't think I should wait that long to begin treatment. So..
2. We will still do the y90 part of the trial as normal standard of care. I will go to City of Hope on Tuesday August 29 for a "simulation" treatment. This is done to make sure the beads travel through my blood they way they are supposed to. If too many go to my lungs they cannot do the actual treatment. The doctors say this doesn't happen with most people. The actual treatment should be about a week later.
3. If I don't qualify for the City of Hope trial we may have an option to get on a similar trial at UCSD. Or start immunotherapy on our own. The doctor at UCSD is confident her can get me a single agent immunotherapy to try. There are also a few other trials we are looking into.
4. If these fail, I can fall back to a different type of chemotherapy.
I am really hopeful about the combo of Y90 and the 2 immunotherapies. We are on our way now to City of Hope for the "practice Y90" treatment and I am mostly nervous I won't qualify. The treatment will be under sedation, and after the "live" treatment, the second week, I will have to avoid being less than 1 foot from people so they aren't absorbing radiation. It's only about a week but it will be really hard to postpone my snuggles with the kiddos that long.
Anyway, that's all I have for my current update, I will share more when I have more to share. Thanks always for your prayers, love, donation, sharing and caring.
Thank you to everyone at Menchie's
7625 Via Campanile, Carlsbad CA 92009
For this amazing fundraising offer!
At Menchie's Frozen Yogurt on Saturday,
August 5, 2017 if you mentioned the Graziano family, 20% of your mouthwatering purchase went directly to their medical fund.
20% of sales came out to a $73.49 x 2 = $146.98 (amount was matched by the generous owners!)
Plus an absentee donation by my friends and neighbors, the Des Rosiers family, who couldn't make it for yogurt, but donated $100.00
Means this awesome fundraiser raised a whopping $246.98!!
We are so grateful and blessed by all your help!
Thank you very much, I will give a health update soon as well, once all is decided.
Ok I did not need to enter prematurely you all know me. He is kais daddy and baby Everett (Ever) daddy. Gioi is a hard worker A wonderful husband and a caring loving playful daddy. Gioi doesn't have a selfish bone in his body he is caring and givingand so loving. I'll cut the shore just one more thing whenever Gioi's birthday time is coming and his birthday is June 1 when asked what he wants for his birthday it is always something that he wants Kai And Ever Thank you my friends I love each and everyone of you.
It is so sad that Maggie died on November 6th. At least she was at home, as she wanted to be.
Maggie and Giorgio Thank you for the update. You are in our prayers Mike and Bea Mojeck
https://connect.stjudemedicalcenter.org/St-Jude-Medical-Center.aspx?location=9031298&adgroup=34442010636&gclid=Cj0KEQiAnIPDBRC7t5zJs4uQu5UBEiQA7u5Ne_7fcm16mqpAvR01wkCpZj-QtGyBlCIng_P6E_plpTEaAumb8P8HAQ I saw on TV that the Saint Jude Hospital is FREE !! for all Children and they even Pay for your Travel expenses and for you to stay there with your Children . I really hope that is true !
Maggie & Gioi heartfelt prayers to both of you. Maggie I hope your first treatment is not too hard for you tomorrow. My love and hugs to both of you. xoxoxo Aunt Susie
Thank s so much for the updates . So there are plans that is good news.... so it is time to move forward and kick butt!!! I know you both can do it!!!! KBM&G