Paul's pancreatic cancer treatment

$30,700 of $99,999 goal

Raised by 281 people in 22 months
Let me start at the end, then go back and explain. Two days ago I received a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. This is a relatively rare and very virulent cancer, and generally the survival rate is very low. Less than 1% of people diagnosed survive for 5 years. I am lucky, however, because the doctors feel mine was caught early before it had a chance to spread outside of the pancreas, which gives me much better odds than most people.

Now, to backtrack a bit. Three months ago I started having indigestion. Most people would just pop an antacid and forget about it. But I had suffered through pancreatitis, a severe inflammation of the pancreas, when I was only 20, and this indigestion reminded me of that feeling. So I called my doctor (thank you Affordable Care Act) explained the situation and my history, and got an immediate appointment. My doctor referred me the same day to a wonderful gastroenterologist who began a series of tests. I have been poked, prodded, bled, had tubes snaked through my esophagus, been filled with contrast, and scanned in multiple ways. During all this I was able to eat less and less, had more and more discomfort, and began to turn yellow. As a result they scheduled an ERCP, a procedure to check the pancreas endoscopically, take biopsies, and place a stent in the bile duct to relieve the built up pressure and stop the jaundice. The hope was that this was just a severe attack of pancreatitis and the stent would reverse the situation.

After the ERCP, however, my blood pressure dropped and the sheer amount of backed up bile required me to be admitted to the hospital with a nasogastric tube to drain the excess without straining my digestive system. Just when I thought it could get no worse, the biopsy results came back. I have pancreatic cancer. But, all signs point to it being isolated in the pancreas, which means removal and a short course of chemotherapy after give me a much better chance of recovery than most have by the time they are diagnosed. But all this comes at a cost. The surgery to remove the mass is major, I will be in the hospital for 2 weeks, then have a 3 - 6 month recovery at home, followed by 18 weeks of chemotherapy before my life can return to normal.  And that is the best case scenario...which is the one we are aiming for, of course! And, of course, time is critical. My surgery is scheduled for two days from now on February 8. This means I have no real time to prepare.

Like many of you, I have always been a freelancer. I love the freedom and the variety of work. But the downside of freelancing is you never know when the next job will come. We have no financial cushion to carry us through a year or more of treatment and recovery. Which is where you come in. I am trying to raise funds to cover expenses during this time. Like most people, I have a family to support, a mortgage, a car payment, utility bills, and now, on top of all that, additional expenses for medical treatments. Without your help, I am unsure of whether we will survive this, even if the surgery is successful.

And if you cannot help, there is one other thing I want you to do. If you have indigestion that lasts more than a week, go see a doctor. Don't just ignore it or blow it off as insignificant. With early detection you can be one of the 1%, not one of the 99%.
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Just a quick update as this is one of the best ways I have to get in touch with Paul's people since I don't have access to his phone or email. I am starting to sort through all of his accumulated sound equipment with the plan of selling it off to pay off the debt I took on during his illness. If any of you are either interested in acquiring equipment, or know of a good venue for quickly selling it off, please drop me a line at sessha@froncindustries.com and I will be ever appreciative. Similarly, I am trying to get back into the workplace, so if you know anyone looking for a writer, video editor, or graphic artist I would love a heads up! The sooner I can dig my way out of the brink of losing everything the better.
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it is with extreme sadness that I tell you Paul passed away peacefully at home early Sunday morning. Your love and support meant the world to him, and helped him push through this extremely difficult year. Thank you so much for all you did for us.
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This is Paul's wife, Mary. The last month has brought a lot of changes, none of them particularly good. Since the fall that fractured his back and hip Paul has had a great deal of difficulty getting around and has been spending more and more time in bed. Eating has become harder and harder for him, and he has lost another twelve pounds. What this all means is that, at this point, he is not well enough to undergo treatment. That means the study is off, and any other treatment (radiation or chemotherapy) is on hold until his physical condition stabilizes and he gains some weight.

Because of the uncertainty of whether or not his condition will improve we are in the process of connecting with hospice care. Hopefully it will only be temporary support until he can resume treatment, but pancreatic cancer is unforgiving so there is no way to know for sure.

Which brings me to my current dilemma. My goal is to have Paul stay comfortably in his own house. However, the money I had been counting on to get us through the next few months is not coming...and we are at risk of foreclosure. I need to raise enough money to keep the house so I don't have to disrupt Paul further in what may well be his last days. So, if you can help a little now would be the time. If you can't...I totally get it. If you could share this message far and wide that would also be appreciated. I need everyone's help now more than ever as this hideous disease digs its claws in even deeper.
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The last month has been full of ups, downs, and challenges. I had my PET scan and, unfortunately, it shows a recurrence of tumor in the pancreas. The decision was made to move to radiation with an oral chemo component and then do another scan. After meeting with the radiologist I was set to move forward with mapping when I found out I was a candidate for a clinical trial at NIH. Since none of the currently available treatments is likely to do more than keep the cancer at bay the thought of a new approach is exciting. I went through the screening process, talked with my doctors, and made the decision to participate. The downside is spending the week before Christmas in the hospital, but other than that I am hopeful.

With the recurrence of the tumor comes pain, and more and stronger pain meds. I hate how little I manage to do when I take them, so I am going to try a plexus block, where they ablate the nerves around the pancreas. Some people get full relief, others less, so fingers crossed it works and I can enjoy more of my life pain free.

Saturday night may have changed all my carefully considered plans, however. I slipped going upstairs and tumbled down the full flight of hardwood steps, knocking myself unconscious. I missed the excitement of the ambulance ride to the trauma center, and I will probably never remember exactly what happened. I still can't believe it. Aside from the concussion I managed to fracture my spine and my hip, and collect a truly impressive collection of bruises and contusions. Luckily the fractures are stable and the decision was made not to operate, but to let them heal on their own. After 24 hours observation they let me go home. I am now unsure, however, of how this will affect the clinical trial, I may not even be able to manage the car ride to get there as sitting in the car is intensely painful. Getting around has now become so much more difficult. For the short term I need to use a cane or a walker so I don't twist and worsen any of the fractures.

So, a month of ups and downs. The year is grinding to a close, the bills are not. I can still use your support to keep going as I try to tackle this biggest challenge of my life. Thank you all for your good wishes and financial help, it means the world to me and my family. Happy holidays to you all, whichever ones you celebrate.
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Read a Previous Update
Mary Lees Fox Gunther
10 months ago
1
1

Paul was a friend all through school and I will miss him greatly. My prayers continue for his family and please consider posting here when arrangements have been made. Prayers for comfort at this time.

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BJ Brown
10 months ago
1
1

Have arrangements been made for his memorial? Vaya con dios mi amigo.

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Barbara McKinley
10 months ago
1
1

I am so sad to hear about Paul's passing. May you and your family find strength in each other's love, and in knowing how loved he was by his friends.

+ Read More
Kim Kelly Klass
10 months ago
1
1

I am so very sorry to hear this. I know he battled this with everything he had. I loved catching up with him at our reunion and chatting with him about the music and sound business. I am sending you my deepest, most heartfelt sympathies.

+ Read More
D.d. Syrdal
10 months ago
1
1

I am so sorry to hear this. My deepest sympathies to all. I wish you peace, and hope he is at peace.

+ Read More
Joanne Bracken
10 months ago
1
1

I am so very sorry to hear of Paul's passing. He was a courageous and positive soul in the face of such extreme challenge. God bless him, and may everyone in the family and his large circle of friends be at peace. He can rest now in Heaven's embrace.

+ Read More
Kevin Reed
12 months ago
1
1

Hang in there Paul.

+ Read More
Beth Stallings Alden
13 months ago
1
1

Some other suggestions (if you haven't seen them already) http://jeanninewalston.com/integrative-cancer-care/cancer-support-center-integrative-cancer-resources/cancer-financial-assistance/ Also www.npcf.us/core-programs/financial-resources www.cancer.org/treatment/finding-and-paying-for-treatment www.cancercare.org/financial

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Beth Stallings Alden
13 months ago
1
1

Hey Paul, Thanks for the update. I'm sorry this is so difficult - I have seen that one chemo really reek havoc on people. Sending you lots of love. Have you tried contacting these guys for help? www.run4projectpurple.org They have financial assistance, not sure of the parameters. Holding you in my heart and envisioning clear lungs and body.

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Marcy Sherry
19 months ago
1
1

Glad the professional and you are optimistic. Eat, port and be merry. Sending positive thoughts your way Paul.

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Beth Stallings Alden
19 months ago
1
1

Hey Paul, You are in a tough part of treatment, for sure. I hope things get easier and you feel stronger (and fatter!). Wish I were there to give you all a big hug. You are in my thoughts daily.

+ Read More
Joe Demauro
19 months ago
1
1

Paul Sounds like things are MOSTLY going as planned. Keep the Faith, and hopefully a few months from now you'll be over this hurdle and resuming the Normal life again

+ Read More
Paul Fronc
22 months ago
1
1

Th adventure begins soon, I will be back to personally thank you all as soon as I can, for your generosity and fine, uplifting spirits. Take care of each other out there, you certainly have helped me immensely in knowing my 'community' is a beautiful and living force which I will always cherish...CHEERS!

+ Read More
Pamela Acosta Marquardt
22 months ago
1
1

Hi Paul! I am so sorry to hear of your diagnosis. PLEASE contact Patient Central at the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network at (877)272-6226 for up to date information on pancreatic cancer so that you are able to make informed decisions on your treatment etc. This is a NO COST service and they will be a part of your team. And by the way, the 5 year survival rate is actually 9% - which is still not great so the more information you can arm yourself with the better equipped you will be to beat this! Our website is www.pancan.org.

+ Read More
Sessha Batto
10 months ago

At this time there is no service or memorial planned. Instead Paul wanted a party (which perfectly expressed his personality). I am not ready for that as yet, I am aiming for early summer and will, of course, post details once they are available. My eternal thanks to every one of you for lending the financial and, more important, emotional support Paul relied on throughout a very long and very stressful year.

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$30,700 of $99,999 goal

Raised by 281 people in 22 months
Created February 6, 2017
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$200
Anonymous
2 months ago
JE
$500
John Erskine
3 months ago

feel better

$190
Anonymous
4 months ago
$100
Anonymous
9 months ago
JV
$100
Jim vanBergen
10 months ago
1
1

You will always be my friend, Paul. My deepest condolences to your family, whom I never had the joy to meet.

AJ
$150
Alain Jaramillo
10 months ago
1
1

Rest In Peace, Paul. I will always have warm memories of the times we spent together.

$100
Kim Klass
10 months ago
1
1
Mary Lees Fox Gunther
10 months ago
1
1

Paul was a friend all through school and I will miss him greatly. My prayers continue for his family and please consider posting here when arrangements have been made. Prayers for comfort at this time.

+ Read More
BJ Brown
10 months ago
1
1

Have arrangements been made for his memorial? Vaya con dios mi amigo.

+ Read More
Barbara McKinley
10 months ago
1
1

I am so sad to hear about Paul's passing. May you and your family find strength in each other's love, and in knowing how loved he was by his friends.

+ Read More
Kim Kelly Klass
10 months ago
1
1

I am so very sorry to hear this. I know he battled this with everything he had. I loved catching up with him at our reunion and chatting with him about the music and sound business. I am sending you my deepest, most heartfelt sympathies.

+ Read More
D.d. Syrdal
10 months ago
1
1

I am so sorry to hear this. My deepest sympathies to all. I wish you peace, and hope he is at peace.

+ Read More
Joanne Bracken
10 months ago
1
1

I am so very sorry to hear of Paul's passing. He was a courageous and positive soul in the face of such extreme challenge. God bless him, and may everyone in the family and his large circle of friends be at peace. He can rest now in Heaven's embrace.

+ Read More
Kevin Reed
12 months ago
1
1

Hang in there Paul.

+ Read More
Beth Stallings Alden
13 months ago
1
1

Some other suggestions (if you haven't seen them already) http://jeanninewalston.com/integrative-cancer-care/cancer-support-center-integrative-cancer-resources/cancer-financial-assistance/ Also www.npcf.us/core-programs/financial-resources www.cancer.org/treatment/finding-and-paying-for-treatment www.cancercare.org/financial

+ Read More
Beth Stallings Alden
13 months ago
1
1

Hey Paul, Thanks for the update. I'm sorry this is so difficult - I have seen that one chemo really reek havoc on people. Sending you lots of love. Have you tried contacting these guys for help? www.run4projectpurple.org They have financial assistance, not sure of the parameters. Holding you in my heart and envisioning clear lungs and body.

+ Read More
Marcy Sherry
19 months ago
1
1

Glad the professional and you are optimistic. Eat, port and be merry. Sending positive thoughts your way Paul.

+ Read More
Beth Stallings Alden
19 months ago
1
1

Hey Paul, You are in a tough part of treatment, for sure. I hope things get easier and you feel stronger (and fatter!). Wish I were there to give you all a big hug. You are in my thoughts daily.

+ Read More
Joe Demauro
19 months ago
1
1

Paul Sounds like things are MOSTLY going as planned. Keep the Faith, and hopefully a few months from now you'll be over this hurdle and resuming the Normal life again

+ Read More
Paul Fronc
22 months ago
1
1

Th adventure begins soon, I will be back to personally thank you all as soon as I can, for your generosity and fine, uplifting spirits. Take care of each other out there, you certainly have helped me immensely in knowing my 'community' is a beautiful and living force which I will always cherish...CHEERS!

+ Read More
Pamela Acosta Marquardt
22 months ago
1
1

Hi Paul! I am so sorry to hear of your diagnosis. PLEASE contact Patient Central at the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network at (877)272-6226 for up to date information on pancreatic cancer so that you are able to make informed decisions on your treatment etc. This is a NO COST service and they will be a part of your team. And by the way, the 5 year survival rate is actually 9% - which is still not great so the more information you can arm yourself with the better equipped you will be to beat this! Our website is www.pancan.org.

+ Read More
Sessha Batto
10 months ago

At this time there is no service or memorial planned. Instead Paul wanted a party (which perfectly expressed his personality). I am not ready for that as yet, I am aiming for early summer and will, of course, post details once they are available. My eternal thanks to every one of you for lending the financial and, more important, emotional support Paul relied on throughout a very long and very stressful year.

+ Read More
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