Help save her Daddy's life
Hello, I'm Claudia Shields (I know the heading says this message is from Louie, but as some of you know, I'm always butting in). I am here on Go-Fund-Me because I am trying to help him raise money to literally save his life. Louie Shields is my little girl's daddy (Imani, 12 years old), the light of her life, and one of the best friends I have ever had. The photo above was taken just after he was released from the hospital after having brain surgery.
Just before Christmas, I sensed that something was seriously wrong (something he didn't seem to be completely aware of) and I got him to the ER. He was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the deadliest form of brain cancer there is.
The brain surgeon entered Louie's hosptial room while our friend and priest, Franciso Garcia, was praying for Louie. The three of us were still holding hands, as the doctor told us that there was no cure for this. When Louie asked about alternative treatments and lifestyle changes, the doctor shook his head and said, "This is what Teddy Kennedy died from, even with all of the resources he had." The doctor left the room, and we resumed our prayers.
Later, a different doctor, who was the oncologist, told us that without treatment Louie could expect to live 14 weeks, and with surgery, chemo and radiaton, 18-24 months. The best possible outcome would mean that Louie would be expected to die when our daughter is only 14 years old. Then he said something that gave us a glimmer of hope. He told us that there are "a handful of patients who live 5+ years."
Since then, we have read testimonials of some GBM patients living for years, and a few celebrating 10 year anniversaries. When I was working on my doctorate, I gained some skill in comprehending scientific health studies. So, I also started reading articles published by the National Institute of Health to see if there were things that could be done. We learned that there are things that can be done to, not only extend his life, but to improve the quality of his life!
Louie made it clear that he has decided to FIGHT! He is determined to beat this and to dance at our daughter's wedding, and I am determined to help him. Inspired by his courage, I bought him a Superman t-shirt. He wears it along with a knit cap, which he calls his "brain beanie," that keeps his head warm. Sometimes he wraps himself in a prayer shawl, crocheted by a woman in our church who said a prayer with every stitch. We believe that he can win this fight and his victory will offer inspiration to others.
Anyone who knows Louie knows that he, like his dad, is a man of sterling moral character. When he puts his mind to something, he is a force. He was in his 40's when he decided to go back to college, driven by a desire to help others. He wanted to become a gerontological social worker, dedicated to supporting elderly people who were ailing and in need of support. Despite his age and the number of years since he'd been in school full time, he graduated at the top of his class and was then accepted into one of the top graduate programs in social work in the country. Because of the cancer, he is now on disability from his work at an adult day treatment facility, where he provided social services to elderly people. He is well-loved at work, as he is warm, loving, funny. He is also the light of our daughter's life -- and is very special to me.
About two weeks ago, I took Louie to a doctor who had helped me overcome a dire health situation a few years ago, when literally a dozen others had offered no hope. She confirmed that there are things we can do for Louie. He has already made significant dietary changes that will help his body fight the cancer. The doctor can also provide treatment that will weaken the cancer cells and make the chemo and radiation more effective. She said, "These can extend his life beyond what chemo and radiation can do, and improve the quality of his life."
Unfortnately, NONE of these additional treatments are covered by insurance, and must be paid for out of pocket. Louie is scheduled to start radiation and chemo this week, but because he can't work, he can't afford the supportive treatments that may help extend his life beyond 18-24 months offered by the chemo/radiation.
It blows my mind to realize that the amount of time Louie lives could actually be due to how much money we are able to raise.
In addition to the the treatments, there are also huge hospital bills (he didn't have insurance when he became ill), rent, special dietary needs, health supplies, and now that he has insurance (premiums and co-pays),
Please consider making a gift. Some of you may want to do a single gift now. Any amount will be greatly appreciated. OR, because he will need the treatments on a monthly basis, some of you may choose to make small monthly donations (even as littles as $10-$20) which would be tremendously helpful in getting the treatment he needs.
We will post regular updates here on this site, about Louie's condition. Also please note, any messages you post will go to Louie (as well as me) and donations will go directly to him.
Also, please forward this message to anyone you think might like to help and keep us in your prayers.
With sincerest gratitude,
Claudia Owens Shields
I know that it has been entirely too long since you have received an update on Louie. He hasn't been up to writing.
The last several months have been tough for him and I had to undergo a procedure to have an aneurysm coiled, to prevent a massive stroke. It was successful and I am good as new but horribly behind on everything. So, my apologies for this delayed update.
Louie started falling toward the end of last year, due to weakness that initially seemed to be due to the chemo. He has not had a treatment in a few months, but has gotten progressively weaker and is now so weak that he is completely bedridden and confined to a nursing home. He seems generally unable to use his phone, but appreciates in-person visits. We don't have an answer about the cause of the progressive weakness, but several months ago his doctor told us she thought that we might only have him for a few more months. It is uncertain whether or not he will be able to resume treatment, due to a bizarre hiccup with MediCal. I will hopefully get that worked out and then if Louie and the doctor decide to resume treatment, it will be available.
In the meantime, he still has his sense of humor and his appetite. His eyes still gleam with delight when he sees Imani.
Eveyone asks how she is doing. It is clear that it is all too much for her to take in yet, and so she lives her life in business-as-usual mode. I do my best to keep her routine normal.
Louie has been thinking about her and what he would like for her future, and summed it up in one word: COLLEGE. He has asked that a college fund be created for her, and hopes that loved ones will contribute. If you'd like, you can contribute to that through this site and just specify that you want to to go to her college fund.
If you want to visit Louie, private message me on Facebook I will give info on his location.
Louie appreciates your prayers, love and support. Kim, Nick and Russ Louie thanks you for the cards/letters you sent and Bill & Dawn, he greatly appreciates the KIND bars!
Love you all!
Warmly and gratefully,
1. I finished my fourth round of chemo last night with NO SIDE EFFECTS.
2. Perhaps more importantly...IT'S MY BIRTHDAY WOO HOO!
Yep...I turn 58 today. I used to dread the advance of years, now I see every new year as a gift. 58,59, 60? Bring it on. Thanks to "Team Louie" I'm handling cancer (and aging) LIKE A BOSS. Thank you for your continuing support, be it financial, prayerful, or kind words and thoughts. You all rock!
Apparently I do.
YES! Today marks six months since, as Claudia says, "Cancer came down with a bad case of Louie."
The Dr. told us that I could expect to live 14 weeks without treatment and 18-24 months with treatment, but that "a handful" of his patients have gone five years or more. Well I promise you I'm joining that handful.
So I feel like I'm at a landmark, and I'm not just surviving, I'm kicking butt. Feeling good most days , MRIs don't show anything very worrisome, and I start another course of chemo next week.
I'm not taking this lightly, I assure you. But I'm also confident that I'm a fighter with a great set of family and friends and a big God. Thank you all for your love, prayers, and continuing support
Well I did a follow-up MRI last week. The nurse called to tell me that the MRI was "stable. " I asked her three times if that meant no growth in the enhancement. She said there was no change.
Furthermore, she said the radiologist didn't need to see me for another month.
See? Forget apples. All your love, prayers, and support are keeping the doctor away ❤
Love ya, Louie
Dude, I am sooooooo praying for you! And I've put you on the prayer list at our church, where we have an amazing community of "Prayer Warriors". We have pulled off more than one miracle in our time.... and we don't even charge extra for them!You are one of the strongest, toughest people I have never met! A whole bunch of us have your back right now!