Nuclear Chris Rides Again

$53,380 of $70k goal

Raised by 352 people in 13 months
Melody Byrne  DOVER, NH

For those of you just turning in, Chris (big Chris in the pic, not little Chris) is continuing to fight a cancer we thought went into remission in 2012.

It's back, and it's lymphacytic this time.

The prognosis is good, once we actually get started on treatment.

What is not good is that Chris will not be able to work during the next 6 months and between taking care of him and our almost 3 year old, neither will I.

On top of that, the timing is incredibly bad. Not that there's ever a good time for cancer, but it's certainly not right after a cross-country move while we have barely any furniture or household goods, or even a vehicle.

Really, REALLY bad timing.

Anything anyone could do to help would be very much appreciated.

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Update 25
Posted by Melody Byrne
2 months ago
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So last I wrote, we were dealing with a major issue. Due to some administrative screwups Chris lost his insurance for October through December, aka The Bad Times. This left us with $300k in debt to MGH and assorted docs and froze the treatment plan.

Problem is, he's still got cancer and at least one lump.

The good news is I've managed to salvage the relationship with his PCP and endocrinologist. New insurance started on the 1st of January so we can go forward as soon as we get a new cancer treatment team and get the cash for the deductible and most likely out of pocket max.

We're going to (hopefully) get his case transferred to the cancer treatment center in the same city we live in so we can continue life-saving treatment. Since he's going to do several targeted radiation treatments this will save us much in time and hassle.

So that's the good part. PCP and endocrinologist are managed, so he still has his medications (including the very important pain meds) and we've got insurance so we can continue treatment, even though it will be at a new place.

Also good news, we've picked up a second vehicle (paid for in cash), a 3/4 ton truck to act as our work horse. Ever since the spinal injury Chris has been unable to drive the Blazer and finds the passenger seat excruciating. A big truck allows his big frame enough room to not compress and restores some of his independence, since it's something he can drive.

The bad: the truck needs a few replacement parts, an inspection (it will pass), an oil change, some good tires (vs the questionable ones on it at the moment), and to be registered.

That wouldn't be such a pressing concern if it weren't for the other bad news, in that we've had to take the Blazer off the road for a laundry list of reasons, including brakes literally falling off of it. For all that getting the truck current will cost around $900, getting the Blazer road worthy would be much more intensive. The parts would be less, but between taking care of the two Chrises and taking care of the house, I'd have to pay someone else to do the work and... it's cheaper to get the truck road worthy, plus more useful.

On top of that we need to pay the deductible for the new insurance since we'll probably blow through that walking into the new cancer center, AND the out of pocket max for the same reason. We're also paying out of pocket for his meds until we meet the deductible (around $1200 a month for the meds alone).The out of pocket max is $3k.

After paying the month's bills and making sure we have transportation for both of us in the form of the truck, AND buying meds, AND buying equipment for Chris to work more (he's been requested to do something that requires infrastructure, and though he's working more paying days doing it, as a contractor we paid for the materials out of pocket)... we're pretty much broke. I couldn't even pay for meds a few days ago.

Obviously we need to get Chris back on a treatment plan ASAP so we can keep fighting the cancer as soon as possible, and there's those tiny things called food and gas.

So I must beg financial assistance, so we can get over this rather massive hump. After we clear the out of pocket max our medical costs will nosedive, but first we need to actually get to that point. And we're kind of attached to having food in the house and keeping Christopher in pull-ups.

So please, anything you could spare would help.

Thanks all,

Mel
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Update 24
Posted by Melody Byrne
2 months ago
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So yeah... This year has been GREAT.

Can't get the Blazer out of the driveway... Find out the battery is close to dead, go to pop the hood to check the belts and jump start and THE HOOD WON'T OPEN.

On top of something that is making a grinding noise, several warning lights, needing a brake job, and needing ICE TIRES.

Oh, did I mention I was headed to the post office to MAIL OFF OUR INSURANCE PREMIUM SO WE CAN TREAT MY HUSBAND'S CANCER?!?!?!

Yeah... We need a new truck. Can we afford a new truck, and rent, and bills? Of course we can't. Do we need a truck to do things like get to the frickin cancer center for treatment and the pharmacy and the bank and to get food? Yes, yes we do.

Will getting the Blazer fixed cost as much as getting another vehicle? Yes, yes it will.

So, WE NEED ANOTHER VEHICLE.

Fuck you 2016, fuck you very much.
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Update 23
Posted by Melody Byrne
3 months ago
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I set up the premiums on Chris's health insurance to automatically come out of our account.

Guess what failed?

Guess what has been failing since August?

Guess what just got canceled?

YEAH.

I wasn't notified that the auto pay wasn't working, that we were behind, or any of it. And with all of the medical bills coming out, it got lost in the shuffle.

So... I've got to appeal to the marketplace for retroactive coverage, AND make a balloon payment for said coverage, if I can ever catch the phone lines at a time where the wait isn't 2 hours...

SO PISSED.

Oh, and there went all of my plans for Christmas, because huge balloon payment.

I'll get it done, one way or another, just...

I had really really hoped that with Chris working and recovering that I would never have to touch fundraising again, except to donate to other people.

But... Chris is in a lot of pain while the nerves in his lower back and butt come back online, and there are meds I MUST pick up for him so he's not in screaming agony, so he can continue to work and not feel like a burden, and so he can continue recovering and we can continue getting back on our feet, and just...

So close. We were so close to being through this, and now I've got to throw all of our cash at making sure we're not on the hook for $300k in medical bills since August. All of our cash and however many hours I'll be spending on the phone.

Then I've got meds to pay the discounted cash price for, and I must pick up so Chris can keep from screaming.

So yeah... the GoFundMe goes up again, as much as I hate it.

So I really must ask for help, so we can avoid being completely screwed.

Anything would help.

Thanks all,

Mel
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Update 22
Posted by Melody Byrne
4 months ago
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For those of you not following along on Facebook, this is Chris's description of things after rhabdomyolysis:

" So... The condition of my legs post rhabdo.... Really very doubleplusungood.

A significant fraction... almost 1/3 overall, and in some areas more than half, of my muscle tissue, has died or is damaged so badly it might as well be.

Fluid pockets are all over my legs, ass, back, and behind my knees. Some of them quite swollen and distended, some looser and wrinkly.

A shallow feel of the muscles  and they're... Well, they're either not there at all, or they're spongy and limp. Zero muscle tone at all, and rubbing and squeezing hard... the muscle tissue doesnt feel like muscle at all... more like... yarn, soaked in water.

I started massaging my left earlier thigh and calf earlier... and any time I went the slightest bit hard, it was like electric shocks from the pressure of my fingers. I tried using a vibrating massager, and I literally couldn't stand the nerve pain...

... so I guess it's healing a little at least...

I think I'm going to need surgery to correct the skin at some point... I know I will on my belly. I may need surgery to deal with the fluid pockets if they don't even out and drain on their own... and I may still end up having more muscle damage, never mind constantly having to do PT to avoid atrophy, or healing contracture.

Oh and yeah... that's where the itch is worst.... but pain drowns it out."

But there is good news. He's dropping excess water weight from edema and lymphedema very quickly, and he's regaining some mobility. He's still bedridden though.

He's got a PT nurse visiting twice a week to help him recover.

He's working this week, which helps immensely.

His pain is mostly under control.

We've managed to get the major medical devices he needs bought and paid for, and we've mostly adapted.

That being said there's still some challenges ahead. We need to get our vehicle fixed (minor problems like an ABS sensor and similar issues), inspected, and renewed by the end of the month. We need to get out heating oil topped up. We need to catch up on bills in general. We're close, but not quite there.

And then radiation will be soon, and that's going to be a fairly costly endeavor in terms of logistics (and really underscores the need for the vehicle to be fixed and legal).

So we still need some help. And anything would help.

Thanks all,

Mel
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$53,380 of $70k goal

Raised by 352 people in 13 months
Created February 2, 2016
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