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Breast Cancer Sucks #JaimeStrong

$13,160 of $15,500 goal

Raised by 195 people in 13 months

20441146_1494987206.7793_funddescriptionMost people know by now that my awesome wife Jamie (aka: Jaime) found a lump in her breast about 2 weeks ago. Since then life has been a whirlwind of doctors appointments, mammograms, ultrasounds, MRIs, and biopsies. Unfortunately, during these tests they found another mass and have diagnosed them both as an aggressive form of invasive ductal carcinoma...Breast Cancer. Right now they believe that they are still stage 2 and have not spread to the lymph nodes, however, they cannot confirm this until further testing is done.

On top of the less than optimal diagnosis, all of these tests, procedures, and doctors appointments come with a price tag. Right now our out-of-pocket max is $5,500. Being that Jamie and I are both not long out of school, we are still rebuilding our savings and paying off a boatload of student loans. Now Jamie is staring down the barrel of a mastectomy that will take her out of one of her jobs for 1 month and the rest of them for 3. We are both working ourselves into the ground juggling 3-4 jobs each to pay the deductible in anticipation of her being out of work. This is not the best thing for her to be doing right now, and it's making it nearly impossible for me to be there for her as much as she (won't admit she) needs.

If you can help out this volunteer, EMT, Paramedic, LifeStar dispatcher, and CPR instructor duo, it would be greatly and forever appreciated.

Thank you from both of us.


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Sorry it’s been so long between updates. Things have been a little crazy lately with both of us. (I broke my arm and have been out of work for a few months.)

Big news first. Jamie just finished surgery for what we hope will be the last procedure. Due to complications she is not going to be able to go forward with the reconstruction and the tissue expanders have to come out... It’s not the outcome she was hoping for, but she is looking forward to having relief from the constant pain. Hopefully this will only be an overnight stay then three weeks of recovery with out being allowed to work. Unfortunately part of the surgery was also denied by insurance increasing our out of pocket costs.

But there is good news!!!

Jamie didn’t die three weeks ago!!!! (I swear she has more lives than a cat!) Backstory: Jamie had multiple feeding tubes to keep her nutrition and hydration up from about June to November. Due to the multiple insertions she had developed scar tissue in that area of her stomach.
Three weeks ago her intestines decided it would be a wonderful idea to wrap themselves around the scar tissue and cut off circulation to that part of her bowels. She was lucky that they caught it in time with emergency surgery. They straightened her out and her stomach has felt a million times better since!

Long term: She is still getting treatment every three weeks until November. The medication that she gets (Herceptin) exhausts her for a little over a week and gives her ridiculous sweats every other hour or so that dehydrate her. However it means that she gets two weeks of almost feeling normal between treatments, which is delightful!
That normal feeling is only “slightly” tainted by the hormone blockers she has to take for 5 years that are putting her into a forced menopause... With all of the fun side effects that go with it. (Welcome to double the hot flashes and mood swings!!)

As a testament to her determination and red headed stubbornness, she has done all of this while working full time at one of her jobs... (The only one she is allowed to do.)

Hopefully I didn’t miss anything!!!
And thank you all again for your well wishes and donations, they are definitely helping to keep her spirits up and keep us from drowning in debt.
She’s a little excited about the final 4
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The ride has not been smooth... It has been full of complications with multiple hospitalizations for fevers and infections. To date she's had 3 jtubes, a new port after the first became infected with staph, and she almost died... Jamie started chemo back up today and as long as there are no more week long stays in the hospital pushing it back, the plan going forward is: 7 more chemo treatments
(Once a week), herceptin once a month until June or July, and more surgery in February to complete the double mastectomy reconstruction, with the tissue expanders coming out and if all goes well implants going in.

Of course Jamie being Jamie, she was discharged from a week stay in the hospital and clocked back in for work the next day! :-/ She's still going a little crazy because she is only allowed to work one of her 4 or 5 jobs. She just can't sit still!

Unfortunately with all these complications the cost of prescriptions on average is over $500 every 2-3 weeks. Which insurance doesn't seem to cover much of anymore.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far. We have no words to describe how appreciative we have been between this, fundraisers, and private donations. The fight is not over, Jamie still has a long way to go, but all of your continued support has been amazing and overwhelming.
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Hello all. Second surgery update:

Some of you have followed my updates today on FB, but to recap for those of you who haven't been able to or want a little more detail:
Jamie's mastectomy went well. We got there at 05:30 and were in for a long prep. (She had at least 7 doctors on her team that were in surgery with her.... It was crazy...)
They took her into the OR at about 0900 and she was in surgery for about 5 hours with the first part being the mastectomy and biopsy of her sentinel lymph nodes. (The ones closest to the cancer.) The second part being the reconstruction.

The awesome news from the sentinel lymph nodes is that they were negative for the cancer!!! So it didn't spread into the lymph system!!!
She will still need Chemo once she has healed enough for it because the kind of cancer she has is so aggressive that just one cell of that little bugger would be enough to make it pop back up. But at least cancers highway (AKA: the lymph nodes) are clear.

As for the reconstruction portion: It took a little longer than anticipated due to previous scar tissue, but her surgeon said that it went really well. Drains were placed as well as tissue expanders then her chest was bound up like crazy to try and keep gravity from taking hold... (It is moderately successful at keeping items from shifting in flight.. )

Once she was brought upstairs to her room we found out that 7 or so doctors are awesome in an operating room, but not so much when writing orders for medication. Everything is mostly resolved now. But it was a long wait for pain meds. Thanks to the nursing staff for straightening it out!

I stayed for a while to help her eat her Jello and broth, because she can't lift her arms enough just yet. and we watched the Red Sox game! But just as the game was finishing she started to get hit with the pain really bad again. Drains were emptied, orders were adjusted, and the night crew was awesome. It was gut wrenching not to be able to help her or to even give her a huge hug but she made sure to give me a much of a squeeze as she could before I left.
So with no comfy recliner like last time for me to crash in briefly, and only the most uncomfortable chairs ever made to sit in. I made my way home with a screaming back to my comfy bed..

I am now home safe and sound after a very very long and emotional day, and I only full on ugly cried for 45min after I walked in the door!!!

Good night everyone! Here's to hoping that Jamie gets some sleep tonight so that I can draw another wayward smile out of her tomorrow. (It's really hard trying not to make her laugh though... Her chest hurts so much just with breathing that I feel bad when I crack a really good dad joke!!)

P.S. Special thanks to my pre-op buddy (J. Lew), and my waiting room buddies, Jamie's parents, and Jess W. (aka: Odie).
No more tickling for a while. :-<
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First surgery's today. (Welcome to the start of paying our premiums out of pocket!) They just took her in not too long ago, after an overnight stay and 6 bags of ringers. On the docket for today is a revision on her stomach and a feeding tube placement. (For you medical folks: Gastric sleeve revision - she has been having pain when eating for about 6 months due to air becoming trapped when eating and J-tube placement.)
Looks like the surgery should be 2 hours or so, with an estimated release date from the hospital of Friday.

Thanks again everyone for the thoughts, prayers, and donations.
Neither of us can believe the amount of people that have contacted and supported us. It is incredible.
She's such a goober.
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$13,160 of $15,500 goal

Raised by 195 people in 13 months
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JM
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Joseph Marino
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RM
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Re Matus
2 months ago
SA
$51
Sandy Aldieri
2 months ago
JS
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Jack &Corrine Stevens
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SC
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Scott Crittenden
2 months ago
$50
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EE
$10
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