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Teddy Tough

$17,035 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 161 people in 24 months
Created August 21, 2017
Fundraising team
on behalf of Jordan Shemanski
"Teddy Tough" is dedicated to Jordan Shemanski’s fight against Stage III Gastric Cancer, and will serve as the central hub for updates, information and support. Jordan is a 30-year-old staff sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, currently assigned to Airborne Mobile Training Team, Weapons and Training Battalion aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., as a parachute rigger and high-risk training instructor. He is a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom. He and Natalie, his wife of six years, reside in Locust Grove, Va, along with their two-year-old son JT.

For the last three years, Jordan has experienced chronic pain from acid reflux-like symptoms, excruciating stomach pains, and a lot of unexplained weight loss. In addition to these health challenges, numerous doctor visits yielded little in the way of pinpointing the true problem, and only resulted in him receiving medication for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and acid reflux. Jordan was finally diagnosed on July 25th, 2017, with Stage III Gastric Cancer, commonly referred to as stomach cancer. It was not an easy diagnosis.

Early on, the doctors were hopeful the cancer had not spread into his abdomen, and very hopeful to cure him with chemotherapy and gastric surgery, in which they would remove most or all of his stomach. However, after the last of his tests came back from a diagnostic laparoscopy, we were told on August 17th, 2017, that the cancer had, in-fact, spread into Jordan’s abdomen. With stomach cancer being a very aggressive cancer, the prognosis was not good. Now, surgery is not being considered, as there is no longer a "cure" for him at this time. As of right now, we are holding onto the hope of Jordan being a good candidate for a medical trial at M.D Anderson, in Houston, Texas. If he is excepted as a candidate, Jordan, and his wife and son, will all be headed to Houston for as long as the medical trial takes. This has been a very scary, emotional and trying time, but Jordan and his family refuse to give up hope, and are diligently pursuing alternative avenues for a "cure.”

Once again, the purpose of this page is to provide updates, information and progress. We are extremely grateful those who have already been such a pillar of support to us, and will continue to appreciate the support as we continue this fight. Teddy Tough!
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Update from Natalie:
“Look who’s sprung from The Hospital! We are all SO happy to have Daddy back home with us! That was a very long, hard week. And as we have a very long road ahead of us, we are taking a few days to relax, settle back into our routine and enjoy each other. Brush ourselves off and get back into a better head space... because the fight continues. And we are far from giving up. We have a lot of work to do. A lot of change coming our way. But we won’t forget to enjoy each other everyday and make a bunch of great, new memories.

We want to Thank You all...for the kind, loving and heart-felt messages, calls, cards, visits, helping with JT, donations.. the list goes on! And all of your prayers! We won’t beat this without God. Your love and support mean the world to us. We wouldn’t be able to have made it this far without you! With out God... without the wonderful and brilliant team at Henry Ford.
We have so much love & Gratitude for you all!”
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Jordan had surgery on Valentine’s Day. The hope was to get some answers on why he can’t keep anything down & to fix a few issues they suspected could be causing his pain and inability to keep anything down. Unfortunately the outcome wasn’t what we all hoped for, so I’m sharing an update from Natalie, because she explains it best.

“I have waited to update everyone because I needed to wait until Jordan was fully awake and able to understand what the outcome was. I needed to let it resonate with us... with myself. We needed as Husband & Wife to have a moment, a moment to understand and catch our breath. And I didn’t have the heart or the desire. But I never will. So here it is...

Jordan’s Cancer has returned. It is all through his peritoneal and his small bowel. The tumor is like concrete through out his small intestines. That’s why he has been vomiting 40-50+ times per day. That’s why he was vomiting all his tube feeds. Once it went in, it was like hitting a brick wall and would come right back up. This kind of cancer doesn’t show on scans. So it was always missed. Until his Surgeon went in. He tried so hard to “chisel” away at it. But it was getting to the point that he was hurting Jordan and he had to stop. There was nothing more he could do to resection him or cut out the tumor. And at this time, chemo is not an option due to Jordan’s weight and overall state of his health.

His Surgeon told me Jordan is terminal. I asked what we are looking at as a time frame. He said 6 months. I said I’ll get him to a year! And he said he doesn’t doubt that for one second and he’s not writing us off either. He’s still all in with us and told us not to give up mentally. Because once we do, that’s it.

A million emotions, a million questions... clearly we are angry, depressed, devastated and I woke up with the worst feeling I have ever felt. I have not left the hospital yet. However I will walk back over to the apartment soon and I will see JT and hug and kiss him and try not to cry. I will tell him to grab his “Dr Kit” that Daddy just bought him and we will walk back over to the hospital so he can “fix Daddy” Jordan is eager to see him too. After that, I don’t know. Minute by minute. A million things we have to do and say, but we need a couple days. If I don’t get back to you or answer a phone call or email, please know I see it and I see you and appreciate you. I just need time to settle into this. We both do.

As always, we Thank You all. I know this is terrible news that no one was expecting or hoping for. But the fight is not over. It never will be. Where there is life there is hope.”
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Update from Jordan’s wife, Natalie:

“Hello everyone! It’s been awhile. We are still here in Detroit, Michigan and so much has happened/happening that I don’t really know where to start these day, so please bear with me...

Last time we updated, it was just before Christmas and we were waiting on a couple of scans and there was a bit of testing going on. During that wait, we landed in the ER a couple of times. Something had to give. Jordan was hitting Rock bottom every few days and he was hanging on by a thread. Some nights being so bad that he & I were unsure he would make it to the New Year. It was BAD.

The scans had came back and one looked normal, no sign of disease. The other (PET Scan) had lit up in the bowel area. The scans were not consistent with each other and even though cancer is always going to be in the forefront of all of the doctors minds, they needed more evidence to say reoccurrence. So they tried to tap him and collect fluid from the abdomen on Christmas Eve...but there was none to be tapped/drained... that’s a good thing! Then the Holidays all hit and we had some really good moments, but to say there was a good day would be a stretch. Jordan was getting worse and worse. More tests were scheduled for after the holidays and I had asked if we could come in for hydration before the weekend. I knew if we didn’t, we would end up in the ER again by Sunday. While getting hydration in clinic, the PA that was assessing Jordan just couldn’t believe how sick he was. So malnourished, so much pain and we couldn’t even do his tube feeds at this time. She made some calls and got us admitted and got the ball rolling for TPN ( IV nutrition).

TPN is a big deal, more then one would think anyways. So much goes into it. So Jordan would be admitted for 8 days minimum. Once we got admitted, he weighted in at 101 pounds. Heartbreaking. The hospital stay had its ups and downs. However, when it was all said and done, we were SO happy with the care he was getting. The care that all of us were getting! With the progress that was made. His Surgeon is just unreal. We are so happy with him and his team. Him and Jordan seem to hit it off and you would think it’s just a couple Marines hanging out while he’s in the room with us lol. Jordan was already feeling a lot better from the TPN, we were all set to go home on TPN, his pain was much better managed, he also weighed in at 105.8 pounds and we have a plan in action. I won’t get into a lot of detail at this time, however, we are looking at Surgery about a month from now. Valentines Day.

We are still unsure if this is a reoccurrence. They suspect that, but are not sure. We will know once his Surgeon opens him up. Best case scenario is obviously no cancer. They will then put a drain in to treat his Gastroparesis. That will be in lieu of vomiting all day and night. He will just use this drain. They also suspect that they will have to take the rest of his stomach. Also at that time, they can better look for a suspected obstruction. All of these things are scenarios of what could possibly happen once they go in and open him up. There are other scenarios that can happen as well that are not so good at all. It is all depending on what they see.

In the mean time, we are trying to bulk Jordan up with TPN. His Surgeon hopes to see 10-12 pounds put back on. Jordan is still eating, non stop all day everyday lol... so hopefully we can get more then 10-12. However, everything he eats and drinks comes right back up. But he still wants to eat! All day. He’s starving all day and night. So he doesn’t deprive himself. I think I hear him raiding the kitchen right now actually- that’s a great thing! I will say he’s feeling a lot better already on the TPN. Feeling better and so much more energy then before. He was barley hanging on just a couple of weeks ago. Today I will say, was a really good day for us.

We don’t know what the future holds for us. We were told to enjoy each other and our family these next few weeks. I pray day & night for the best possible outcome, restored health, cancer free and most of all.. that Jordan will one day in the future be JT’s Hockey coach. That’s the goal! That’s the plan. Please pray for us.

As of now, we will be in Detroit for the next couple of months. We have settled in pretty well at an apartment right on Henry Ford Hospital Campus. Very convenient for us, especially through hospital stays and Jordan now being on TPN. Jordan’s Brother Justin & his Wife Jaimee designed these awesome shirts and started this fundraiser to help with medical expenses. We are so Thankful and appreciate that & the support more then we can ever say. Your support has made it possible for us to continue on with our fight, seeking a second opinion and for the first time in a very long time, we are getting help! Finally!
Medical expenses get pretty crazy really fast. Especially being away from home. Thank God for all of your support. The fundraiser was opened back up and I believe there is one day left!

As always, we Thank You for the love, support, prayers, help & following us on this journey. We are truly blessed. We may have been handed a really tough card in this time of our lives, but again, we couldn’t be more blessed with Family, Friends & each other along with our Son.
Thank You for being there for us, during the hardest time of our life. We can never Thank You all enough. And to our Family & dear friends that have been helping out so much since we have been here! To say we are forever grateful is an understatement
Much Love & Happy New Year”
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An update from Natalie:

Hello everyone! It has been awhile! A lot has been happening and times are extra crazy & busy right now. So I thought I would update since I am unable to keep everyone in the loop most of the time with our current status.

We are currently in Detroit, MI! We got into town yesterday. We decided to go with a second opinion at Henry Ford Cancer Center. A couple of reasons. 1. Being that we just felt we didn’t really get much out of MD Anderson during our last stay in October. We were sent home with not many answers and no solid plan or treatment. Jordan did have his feeding tube placed back in while we were there. The hope was to get his weight and nutrition up. However, that has been unsuccessful for the most part. His weight continues to drop. He is so far under weight that it is very scary. We felt in our hearts that a new set of eyes was what was needed. 2. - I need help. I need help and support and to be surrounded by family and dear friends. While I made it work in Texas, it was extremely difficult.

That being said, my Brother-in-law, Bob, pulled some major strings and got us in right away with the best of the best. Henry Fords “Rockstar” Surgical Oncologist.

Today was our consultation. Tomorrow is a couple of different scans and they ran every lab, tumor marker and nutrition panel that there is. We are most likely facing 1 of 2 different issues. Either the tumor is back, and it was missed back in October when we went to MD Anderson. They ran every scan and test and even fluid testing back in October. There was No evidence of disease, but it could have been missed. If that is the case, they won’t miss it here and we will find out within the next week or so. That would obviously be the very worst case and devastating. Or, we could be looking at Gastroparesis problems and complications. As Jordan was diagnosed with that in April of 2018, a couple months after his Gastrectomy. He is completely unable to eat or keep anything down. Even small sips of water come right back up. He is vomiting all day & all night long. He is in tremendous amounts of pain, however, that seems to be controlled a little bit better. He is at a dangerously low weight and so weak. We are only able to do his tube feeds at night, as he cannot tolerated too much of that even.

If this is a Gastroparesis issue, which it absolutely can be, we will receive treatment here. We also have our nutritionist back in VA working on switching us over to a different formula that is much healthier and he may tolerate much better.

If I could ask for all of your prayers that there is still No evidence of disease, and we can get this resolved here at Henry Ford and turn Jordan’s health around. He deserves to be healthy. He deserves to be enjoying his life with his family and friends. His quality of life is terrible and he suffers so greatly every single day. Heartbreaking doesn’t even describe what he is going through. What we are all going through.

We want to Thank You all for the outpouring of love and support. Just since being here, we have had so much help and support. My Brother & my Sister in law came to our apartment downtown the last 2 nights, tonight they brought Christmas decorations, along with groceries and household supplies. The Christmas decorations touched our hearts so much. That was amazing! We are looking forward to seeing family and friends over the holidays and joining in all of the festivities that we are able to. The family time is much needed for all of us. We are really trying to stay out of the hospital over Christmas and not be admitted until after the Holidays.

I wish that each and everyone of you has a joyful and wonderful Christmas.
Merry Christmas, all our love,
The Shemanski’s
The whole Shemanski family at Christmas
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$17,035 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 161 people in 24 months
Created August 21, 2017
Fundraising team
on behalf of Jordan Shemanski
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