Regina Crofut Medical Fund

$6,685 of $3,500 goal

Raised by 79 people in 25 months
Created July 28, 2017
2005 was a year my family will never forget. It was a year that marked the beginning of a long road filled with enormous challenges, unanswered questions, and a string of medical issues that are puzzling and mysterious, even to the most well-trained and renown doctors in the country. It was the year my mom had her very first brain surgery, and unbeknownst to us at the time, it would not be her last.

Between 2005 and present day, my mom has had three brain operations. The first surgery took place in New York City, when my mom was in her late thirties. She was diagnosed with a meningioma, an umbrella term for benign tumors that arise within the brain and its surrounding structures. They typically range in size from a millimeter to a few centimeters, they tend to arise in individuals between the ages of 30 and 70 years, and they affect women more often than men. Their behavior is largely diverse and everchanging, and has a wide range of symptoms, side effects, and patient outcomes associated with it -- therefore, it is a widely researched topic in the medical community, but due to its extreme unpredictability and unusual qualities, there is still much to learn and understand about meningiomas. 

The second surgery came three short years later, in 2008. Her tumor was identified on a routine MRI scan at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and it was decided that she would have to go back to NYC for treatment. This time, though, there was more than one tumor: one had reappeared in the location of the original tumor, and another smaller tumor had sprouted in an entirely different location. The neurosurgeons removed the smaller tumor, and partially removed the second tumor -- due to the sensitivity of the location and the accumulation of scar tissue in that area from her first surgery, it was both dangerous and nearly impossible to remove all of the tissue. After a short window of time for recovery, she was given a dose of radiation to eradicate the remaining meningioma tissue. This appeared to have worked well, and she was able to go home completely tumor-free and with only a couple minor side effects from the surgery.

Fast forward to December 2016. Eight years had passed since any changes had occurred, but yet after another routine MRI, two more new tumors popped up, quickly and entirely unexpectedly. This time, they had chosen new real estate, centrally located near her most precious and vital brain structures, encroaching on her brain stem, life-sustaining cranial nerves, and the fragile membrane that separates her midbrain from her brain stem. This was an urgent matter -- if this tumor continued to grow at its current rate, she wouldn't have much time left. This time, she received treatment at Geisinger Health in Wilkes-Barre, PA, closer to her home in Troy, PA, and boasted some of the best doctors in the world, especially for her condition. Her estimated 5-hour procedure turned into a 14-hour, grueling, nightmarish operation. She was nearly declared legally deceased twice on the operating table; her tumors grew not only next to, but around the structures that control her heart rate and breathing, and as such, all of the trauma and damage from the surgery would lower her pulse and breathing rate to critically low levels, forcing the surgeons to walk away and wait for her vitals to slowly creep back up to acceptable levels. When she was in recovery and her surgeon came out to update us on her status, he informed us that this was unlike anything he had ever seen in his 30+ years of working in neurosurgery -- definitely an unsettling thought, and not what we wanted to hear. Just like the last time, it was much too dangerous to remove all of the tumor tissue completely, so a small remnant was left behind to be monitored closely and dealt with at another time. Nonetheless, my mother prevailed, and came out of the surgery with a few battle scars, but with a bright, triumphant smile. She fought through her rehabilitation, putting all of her energy into healing and making small improvements every single day. After only 16 days, she was miraculously discharged on Christmas Eve and was home in time for the holidays -- the absolute best Christmas present any of our family could receive.

This brings us to present day, and the reason for this GoFundMe page. Myself and my family members were a little hesitant to create this, but my mom was especially reluctant -- she hates to ask for anything from anyone, and anyone that knows her will tell you that my mom is much, much quicker to lend a helping hand than to accept one, being the extremely generous, stubborn, and utterly incredible and thoughtful woman that she is. But, we all have our low points and there always comes a time when we need to reach out and ask for assistance, and right now, my mom needs you.

A few short weeks ago, her MRIs revealed two new tumors: a small one near her temporal lobe, and as expected, the remnant of tissue left behind from the December operation grew back, but is growing at an alarmingly fast rate, increasing in size six-fold in just a few measly months. It grew not only in the same place as before, but grew even closer medially toward the brainstem, and began creeping up over the membrane that separates her midbrain and upper brain -- yes, you understood that correctly: one tumor, affecting all three regions of her brain. She is now facing perhaps the most dangerous of any brain tumor operation she's had to date, and due to the slow-healing nature of the brain and the close proximity to her most recent surgery, it is a high-risk operation, albeit necessary for survival.

After some deliberation amongst our family and closest friends, and after reviewing our options from a couple different expert opinions, it has been decided that my mom will be travelling to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia in a couple of weeks to have her fourth operation, followed by an intensive six-week round of radiation to try and prevent any new growths. It's a new and unfamiliar city, but with world-class facilities and surgical teams. Our family has been given almost no time to prepare for this -- in fact, we had only just finished paying off bills from her surgery in December this past month -- and this surgery needs to happen as soon as possible. The financial burden of this situation, aside from the emotional toll it has taken on my mom and on our family, is a lot to handle for us, and we are scrambling to find every accomodation that we can in an extremely short amount of time.

Our goal is to reach $3500, to cover the cost of living for my mom while she is living in Philadelphia for six weeks undergoing her radiation regimen. Since she lives over three and a half hours from Philadelphia, it isn't feasible for her to make the commute each day for six weeks, so we are looking into apartments that are within walking distance to the TJU Cancer Center, so that my mom can avoid the stresses of driving a car in the city, and to save money on parking and gas during her stay. Aside from the cost of living for six weeks in the city, the money will help to cover costs of transportation for my family while she is away -- I myself live about 5 hours from the city, and some of our family even further than that, and we will all be making numerous trips to be with her during this difficult time. More than anything, I wish my family had more time to make arrangements and to save up funds so that we don't have to rely on the benevolence of our friends and family and complete strangers, but my mom's condition adheres to a much different schedule, and unfortunately, we have been given no other real choice in the matter.

Any donation will help -- one of my mom's favorite quotes is "Little by little, one goes far," and in this situation, that phrase couldn't ring more true. This is so difficult because we are so limited on time and resources, and it's a terrifying and stressful feat, but we as a family have so much faith that we will find a solution and that my mom will conquer this hurdle with grace, surprising us with her strength and determination as she always has. My family and I are so incredibly grateful for any support we can get, and are forever indebted to the people that help us acieve this goal and make this happen.

With all of this being said, we know that monetary donations are not feasible for everyone, but there other ways you can help! We are still on the hunt for apartments currently, and being so unfamiliar with the area and not really having any experience planning travel and accomodations like this, any assistance with finding an affordable solution within close proximity to the hospital would be immensely appreciated. We are trying to find listings through Airbnb, VRBO, and other travel sites, and additionally, we are working with TJUH liaisons to find any available housing accomodations. Additionally, we could use any recommendations or words of encouragement from anyone that has been through similar situations like my mom's -- I am hoping that through promoting this page, we will be able to find solace in knowing that others have conquered feats similar to hers, and it will give my mom the much needed confidence she needs to overcome the challenges that lie ahead. This is a huge test of my mom's faith, and now more than ever, she needs all of the love, support, and positivity she can get.

On behalf of my mother, my family, and myself, I thank you all kindly and from the bottom of our hearts for all of your continued understanding, generosity, encouragement, and for any support you provide for us.

"Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him." James 1:12
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Hey everyone!! It's been a while since anyone's posted an update on here, so I figured I would fill everyone in quickly about what's been happening the last two months.

Mom was able to get into a hospital network in Dunmore, PA, that's an affiliate of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. During the last week in October, she and my stepdad, John, moved (temporarily) to the Dunmore area and Mom began her six-week round of treatments immediately -- after the string of issues we had with Highmark and TJUH, this was a beautiful blessing! (Not that my mom isn't used to a few bumps in the road here and there, but still, she was very anxious to get the show on the road!!)

The treatments went very well, and it flew by quickly! She went in 5 days a week for 15-20 minute treatments each day, and experienced very few side effects! In fact, the doctors who administered her treatment were proud of how well she had done and were confident that she would bounce back from the few effects she was experiencing in no time at all! The "vacation" home they rented was in a beautiful gated community called "The Hideout" and was the perfect, relaxing getaway that my mom and stepdad needed while they were away. It was secluded enough to provide them with privacy and much-needed relaxation, but was only a 15 minute drive from Scranton and Dunmore, which gave them plenty of opportunities to shop, dine out, and more!!

Today, I am over-the-moon excited to announce that my mom's very last treatment took place this morning and she is on her way home to Troy, PA!!! We've still got a long road ahead of us, and lots more doctor appointments and examinations, but we are so thrilled and thankful to have Mom home for the holidays and she has plenty of time to settle in and get back into her routine at home. While she is sad to be leaving her little slice of paradise in Dunmore, she is even more excited to get home and start decorating for Christmas!

Now more than ever, I just want to express once again my extreme amount of gratitude for each and every person who helped us reach our campaign goal. When I set this up, I never, ever expected this kind of response, and to this day, I am completely and totally overwhelmed by the heartfelt generosity and help exhibited by my peers, my family, my friends, and so many others. NONE of this would have been possible without your love, support, and prayers, and there really are no words to express how absolutely grateful I am for you all making this possible! I also want to thank our AirBnb rental agent for providing my family with such a beautiful home to stay in during this difficult time, and for the countless visitors who came to stay with my mom and John while they were staying there.

Even though my mom and John were thrown countless curveballs on this unpredictable and hectic journey, once again and as always, my mom has come out on top and is ready to face her next challenge when it comes. Going forward, we pray that these treatments will have a positive effect and will help to prevent any new tumors and growth from occurring, and we are confident that the treatments she received gave her the best chance possible to recover fully from her illness. Her condition will continue to be monitored for any changes, and we are remaining positive and optimistic that things will keep looking up.

Once again, thank you all so very much, from the bottom of our hearts, and if you've taken the time to keep updated on everything going on with my mom, thank you for your continued support, thoughts and prayers. My family wishes you all a happy holiday season and a safe, healthy new year!

Sincerely,

Emily
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I can't wait for the day that I can post on here that this is all over. But for now the only update is Highmark has given us the final denial, which I think I said before, and we have a doctor in Thomas Jefferson who is graciously helping us find a suitable and comparable doctor. Most recent news is that I filed an insurance complaint with our state representative. They have expedited the complaint to the insurance commission and to Highmark and they are willing to fight tooth and nail to push through. I'm trying to be patient but...
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Well, this is not a very good update but Highmark has decided that they will not cover the radiation. We've fought with them for two months now. The Philadelphia doctor made several appeals and many phone calls. My husband has been working tirelessly trying to push this thru. His employer's HR department has too. Highmark covered the surgery in August and has now changed their story. At first I was mad because they have wasted two months of my life. But then I came to realize that God is playing His part and for whatever reason wants me to go elsewhere. He put the radiation doctor from Philly in my path because he has stayed involved via phone and text and has fought right along with us. Now he's going to call our list of in network radiation oncologists until he finds one that agrees to follow his treatment plan and has offered to help guide someone else. He is a very rare doctor!!! So now we wait for him to make some calls but I totally trust him to do it quick and I trust his judgment. I will post an update again when I know!! But for now, I'll just be a patient patient and smile BIG!!!
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So I had my surgery August 8th. Successful. I was supposed to go to Philly to have follow-up radiation for 6 weeks. Insurance denied it. We went to Philly yesterday only to find out it was denied. The Philly doctor told us that it has to be done in a major Cancer Center for a more precise machine. We came home with no tests done at all. I was supposed to have an MRI and a radiation mask fitting yesterday. None of that could be done so we went to Philly for nothing. If I don't have this radiation done in Philly I'll have to have it done with an in-network doctor who won't have the same equipment and it could cause damage if it's not done precisely. So now we're hiring an attorney but time is of the essence because the tumor is growing fast. But I'm still holding out for a positive answer. It's not easy because we've already spent a lot of money on trips to Philly. Now we have more expense for the attorneys we have to hire. Makes me mad. This is my life we're talking about. Stupid health insurance. So please keep praying. I don't know what else to say.
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$6,685 of $3,500 goal

Raised by 79 people in 25 months
Created July 28, 2017
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