Helping Heal Jason Cirone

$35,195 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 221 people in 12 months

I am writing this GoFundMe campaign on behalf of my husband Jason Cirone and our children, Brooke (19) and Mason (17) Cirone.

On May 18, 2017, a tumor in Jason’s calf was diagnosed as Myxoid Liposarcoma, a rare, aggressive soft tissue cancer. He was ordered (and completed) 5 weeks of daily radiation to mitigate the tumor growth prior to surgical removal. Upon pre-op monitoring, 2 new tumors were discovered, another in his calf and one higher in his chest, just under his throat. Both of these tumors tested malignant and the one in his chest was removed during the surgical biopsy.

Due to the rate, speed, distance and means (blood) the metastasis has occurred, the doctors have categorized the status of his cancer as an aggressive stage 4. Myxoid Liposarcoma is a chronic, recurring cancer that may go into remission.  

On August 14, 2017 Jason began his first round of chemo (we expect 4 rounds at this point).  Chemo consists of inpatient hospitalization for 6 consecutive days.  Upon completion of day 6, he is allowed to go home and recover for 2 weeks with no chemo.  He hopes to work and resume normal activities during the 2 week breaks but time will tell how he tolerates the chemo and how much energy he has during his chemo breaks.  This uncertainty makes planning my out of town job(s) even harder because I cannot be in 2 places at once (on the road working and at home in Omaha if Jason is ill). It’s a vicious cycle of uncertainty right now, even though we are optimistic, we are stuck on a treadmill.

This sudden change in Jason’s health has caused our family to re-prioritize and put Jason and his care first. Jason has not been able to work very much and I have worked 7 days since his initial diagnosis in May. Fortunately, I have control over my work schedule, but my work requires me to travel nationwide – so if I am not travelling out of state, I am not earning a paycheck. We currently reside in Omaha, where Jason is employed, and our family is mostly in Michigan and Canada. Our daughter, Brooke, is a junior in college out of state in Kansas City, MO. Our son, Mason, is a junior in high school and plays for a local travel hockey team, which requires a daily commitment and some out of town travel.

Now for the good news!! We are very optimistic and hopeful that Jason will win this game. He is a healthy, young dude and has the scars to prove he is a fighter. His family, friends, players and colleagues have been very supportive and have as much belief that he can beat this as he does. However, it takes a village, and we need some help from our villagers getting us there.

We don’t know what the future holds as far as recurring treatment or seeking medical care out of state, but the financial aspect already has our eyes bugging out of our head from what we have endured thus far. With the loss of most of my salary, and the escalating expenses, we are reaching out to our people and asking for help. The funds will be used to help and assist our family to meet Jason’s medical needs and medical expenses.

Jason has helped many people throughout his life and career, in many different ways, and now he is asking for some help in return. He is a good man, wonderful husband, loving father, committed teammate, and has been a mentor to more youth hockey players than I can count. We know he can do this, but he cannot do it alone. The Midland University hockey teams have beautifully summed up Jason’s battle: Strength of a Warrior #familyfirst – for which silicone wristbands are being made in the color representing sarcoma, yellow – how many yellow painted fingernails can we polish?!

Any size donation is generous, will help our family and is humbly appreciated.

Thank you for reading, liking, sharing and praying for Jason and our family.
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Hope this correspondence finds everyone happy, healthy and ready for summer.
It has been a year since we were told Jason is 1 in 800,000 (or 1.1 in a million).
Jasons recovery from his big surgery in December went well and we are happy with the results as he continues to heal and walk normally again.
After removing the last 2 tumors in December, he had no evidence of disease (NED), since he cannot be deemed “cancer free”, NED is the best results we can get.
Unfortunately, that was short lived. At his scans in February, they found a small lesion on his pelvic bone. His team decided the best way to treat it was with some high intensity, targeted radiation, which he completed the end of March.
Monthly, he is seeing at least 1 of his 3 doctors, having blood work, flushing his port, having MRI/CT or a combo of. For now, his doctors are monitoring him very closely and keeping an eye on his lungs, as traditionally, his cancer moves from extremity, to pelvis to lungs. His has gone from extremity, to neck, to pelvis.
His scan, in mid-April and an MRI a few days ago, came back with “stable” results. This means although the pelvic lesion has not shrunk much in size, the amount of cancer it held has decreased significantly and they found no new cancer presence. We are riding this wave of good news for now.
His team of doctors will go over his latest results and let us know when they want to CT/MRI him again – hopefully we will soon go back to a 12-week schedule.
For now, we are all doing well, and the family vibe is positive. Please continue to send prayers and positive thoughts our way and thank you for your continued love and support.
Jason, Kristen, Brooke and Mason
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It's been awhile - we have been busy supporting Jason while he KICKS CANCER"S ASS.

I don’t like to post updates, unless they are positive and we have good news to share. The subject matter is dreary enough, that I only want to highlight the pleasant. For this reason, at times I have to wait longer to update, as of lately…. But, I am posting, so…..!!!!!!!! Buckle up, it’s a long one.

On November 21, Jason finally had his surgery. They removed the larger tumor from his ankle and closed the 6 inch incision with 24 stitches. They then moved to his calf where they removed the smaller tumor. The surgeon said it had become so small from chemo that he had to use measurements to remove it. During the surgery, besides removing tissue, tumor, and some muscle, they also had to shave off some of his Achilles tendon (like peeling a carrot).

Unfortunately, at this point the surgery took a dive. When they attempted to close his calf incision, they found that there was no fat to remove (too lean and muscular) and this inhibited them for pulling the skin together for a safe closure. His surgical team decided on the spot that a skin graft would not be in the best interest at that time. They opted to await pathology reports, which would tell them if the margins, or edges, of the tumors were clean of cancer. If the margins were not clean, they would have to go in and remove more and if that were to happen, they would have to ruin the skin graft and start over again, which they did not want to do. Instead, they inserted a wound vac into the area, which is the size of a large lemon (or a small child… It’s big!). It has a vacuum and a tube that connects to a canister to drain the sponge that sits on his wound. He has a boot with a wedge inside of it to help heal his Achilles tendon. A nurse comes to the house on MWF to change and clean his incisions. The surgeon says it is healing from the “inside – out”.

On Thanksgiving Day, I brought him home from the hospital about 1:00pm. Somehow, (Katie - thanks for the gravy! Aunt Liz – thanks for the stuffing crockpot recipe! Trader Joes – thanks for dessert!), I was able to throw together a traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner for us (Jason, Brooke, Mason and my dear MI friend Julie and her son, Jackson).

Finally, after a week of waiting, Jason’s oncologist called to tell him that the pathology results were in and that the margins on both of his tumors were CLEAN. Obviously, we were thrilled to know that he did not have to undergo another 3 surgeries, just two (skin graft and another one – keep reading….).

This week, Jason and Mason (does that rhyme?) went to his appointments, as I was out of town on business. First they saw the surgeon, who examined his open wound and said it looked “GREAT” – I beg to differ, but… He also cleared Jason (and his wound vac/canister) to travel to Alabama for four days with his team this weekend – which doesn’t really mean much since Jason was determined to go regardless. He also scheduled his skin graft surgery for December 12 (YAY!!).

Then, the guys went to see his oncologist. There is a “tumor board” that meets weekly to discuss current patients and their status/progress. She said that at last Thursdays meeting – they spent a lot of time on Jason’s case – his pathologist, radiologist, surgeon and her, and they have decided that at this point they are comfortable completing his treatments for stage 4 myxoid liposarcoma!!!! One of his chemo’s, (AIM/red devil/doxorubicin/Adriamycin) is very hard on the heart, because of this you are only allowed 6 sessions (72 hours each) of exposure to it in your lifetime. Jason has already had this chemo for 3 sessions of 72 hours and his medical team feel it would be futile to give him his allowable last 3 sessions now. They would rather keep it as an option for treating Jason, should they need access to it in the future.

After he has recovered from his next surgery – skin graft on December 12, he will then have his last foreseeable surgery to remove the port implant in his chest. After that, he will be monitored every 3 months with fully body MRI and CT scans, for 5 years. His doctors explained to us that he will always have stage 4 myxoid liposarcoma, since it is a recurring cancer, it is unable to be restaged. He is never going to be “cancer-free”, but he can be and HAS BEEN deemed “NED”, or No Evidence of Disease. His doctor also told us that his milestones will come after 2 years of clean scans and then 5 years of clean scans. We know we are not in a race, but a marathon, we know we will have “scanxiety” every 3 months, awaiting scan results, and we also know that today – we see the light at the end of the tunnel and are looking forward to Jason feeling better, and just feeling “normal”.

Thank you to Jason’s AMAZING medical team who have jumped through hoops, bent over backwards and at times, moved mountains for him. We are thankful for the specialized care we had access to here in Omaha.

Thank you again to our neighbors, co-workers, employers, clients, hockey family, teammates, players, friends, family and strangers for the kindness, support, love, caring and help we have been showered with. Our family is so grateful and thankful. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year – we will NOT be missing 2017.

Much love and GOOD VIBES ONLY! Jason, Kristen, Brooke, Mason and the fur babies (Teddy and Gigi)
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UPDATE: MRI/CT and PET scans that were completed on Nov 2, showed NO NEW CANCER GROWTH and his 2 remaining tumors have NOT grown and have even shrunk some, since our last progress check!!!
So, after 6 months, 25 days of radiation, 24 days of inpatient chemo therapy, 2 surgeries, 2 ultrasounds, 4 CT’s, 4 MRI’s, 4 ER visits, 3 PET scans, 2 needle biopsies, 15 infusions and 22 doctor appointments, Jason/Coach/Chico has been approved for surgery to remove the last 2 tumors!
We will meet with his surgeon on Monday, to set a date and discuss the surgery and recovery involved. The primary site is quite deep in his calf (and his calves aren’t dainty) which may cause some muscle, tissue, ligament or tendon intervention. The second site is higher in the calf and closer to his skin surface, which will be easier to safely extract. After he recovers from surgery, we will meet with his oncologist to discuss his remaining chemo schedule, which we expect to be less invasive than the first three rounds completed.
Jason is excited for surgery, he wants them OUT… NOW!
Thank you to our good vibe tribe and villagers. We are so grateful for the help, love, support, encouragement, prayers, good vibes, and company from our friends, family, neighbors, pets, teammates, players, hockey families, employers, colleagues, clients, doctors, nurses, hospital staff, etc. We are all doing well and are starting to feel some relief from the crazy.
Thank you to everyone who has checked on and asked about the kids, thank you for thinking of them. Mason has been helpful at home, and just finished his quarter with a 3.12 GPA. He has been playing, practicing or doing team workouts almost daily, until he fractured his wrist during a game last Sunday, out for 4 weeks. Being the only kid at home, he has had the misfortune of having a front row seat to his dad’s illness, but has still stepped up to be a big help when we need it. Special thanks to his buddies, friends, family, Katie Morrow and Co., Jason’s team, Mama Perry, and OJL coaches, teammates, parents and families for feeding him, inviting him, comforting him, supervising him and taking him to the ER, when Jason and I couldn’t.
It has been difficult for Brooke, living 3 hours away from home – and only being able to see her dad sporadically. She has done an amazing job at adapting to the crazy and sacrificing her weekends, work, jobs, social life, studio time and finances to come home almost every other weekend, to spend time with us, at home or hospital. Thank you to everyone who has called/texted her, sent her gift cards, mad money and kept her in their thoughts. Thanks to Aunt Julie and Julie Jackson for taking her shopping! Through all of the chaos and adversity, she is killing her junior year of college and we couldn’t be prouder.
Here are some progress pics of the two larger tumors of the three total. On both pictures (one of the upper chest, one of the calf), the image on the right side is his PET scan taken on August 7 and the image on the left is from yesterday scan. I have indicated the bright red dots, which are his tumors – to see the progress. The tumor in the chest scan was removed August 11, the leg tumor extraction TBD on Monday.

Chest scans
Calf scans
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Hope everyone is well!
Since we have some news, I though it would be a good time to share an update with everyone who has helped us in a million different ways, thank you.
Round 2 and 3 of chemo has been completed. Chemo week is really hard on all of us, Jason especially. His regimen of 6 days inpatient is proving to be a decent sized challenge for many reasons. However, we are battling through it, getting through the days and starting new ones each morning.
Now for some sunshine! Jason had MRI and CT scans. The results showed NED (no evidence of disease) in his chest and showed that his 2 leg tumors have responded to the chemo treatments. The best way I can describe it is like this: Prior to chemo, the tumors had a surface like a marble and showed up like bright lights on scan. After 2 rounds, the surface has taken on the texture of a raisin and looks like a cloudy gray on scan. These are signs that the cancer is dying - from the inside out of the tumor. There has been some shrinkage, although minor, which is normal for his cancer. The important part is they can see the fading of bright white color and we can actually see how the tumor is breaking up from the inside. We were so happy to get this news, as it was the first time we received anything positive regarding his progress since we started this journey in May.
Going forward: Our doctor has put out a few different scenarios for us, that will play out on their own as future scans are taken. The first scenario is if there is no new progress at the next scheduled scans (mid November), they will schedule surgery to remove the tumors in his leg and have him do 2 more rounds of chemo following surgery - that would be a total of 6 chemo treatments. If they see further progress during those scans, they will add another 2 rounds of chemo (still a total of 6) and perform surgery to remove the leg tumors after the completion of 6 rounds.
The challenging part will be getting him to complete another 3 rounds of chemo. His doctor has made many references of IF you complete 4 rounds, IF you complete 5 rounds, etc.. it is known that patients under his same treatment plan have difficulty completing it. I am in a support group for liposarcoma survivors and read many people say they were scheduled for 6 rounds, and completed 3, or scheduled for 5 rounds and completed 4... but i have bungee cords and know some strong men, if we need to drag him in for each round.
Of course he is more optimistic on days that he is feeling good and less on days that he is beat up.
We cannot thank you all enough for helping us through this. We are so appreciative of the prayers, donations, good vibes and all sorts of kindness we have been showered with. Thank you for your continued prayers.

Kris, Jason, Brooke and Mason
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Raised by 221 people in 12 months
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