The battle is on: My Dad vs. Cancer

$83,700 of $400,000 goal

Raised by 592 people in 7 months
By Nikita Urs

We are a family of four. My brother, Dharam, now 23, has special needs. He has cerebral palsy, global developmental delay, seizure disorder, traumatic brain injury, Raynaud’s syndrome, requires 24 by 7 care, and has had a stroke. My father, mother, and I have cared for him for the last 23 years by ourselves, without any help.

 My name is Nikita, I am 20, and a student at UCLA,  on scholarships, working to get my B.A. in Psychology by 2019.

My dad, Ram, has had severe back pain for the last few months, (we thought it was regular back pain from carrying my brother), that had gotten progressively worse, with other symptoms manifesting. Due to our family's unique and difficult circumstances, we barely make ends meet each month, with help from family, friends, and our church.

On June 1st, 2017, my father who is only 52, was diagnosed with Stage 3 Multiple Myeloma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer. His bone marrow is packed with malignant plasma cells, which caused a multitude of lesions and minute fractures in his spine and ribcage. He is presently in a lot of pain and can no longer help care for my brother, who he is very attached to. My father has always been the rock of my family, and without him, it would be hard for any of us to function. He has a very challenging road ahead of him with many months of chemotherapy and radiation.

Because this type of cancer is aggressive, so is the treatment. To stand a fighting chance, my dad also requires high dose Chemotherapy, Radiation, and Auto Transplant in a hospital, and we are overwhelmed by how expensive the treatment can be. My dad is the most God-fearing, selfless, and hilarious man. He is my inspiration and surely a role model and mentor to many. Those that know him have had the good fortune to first handedly experience his kindness, generosity, and self-sacrificing nature. Our family really needs my father around and this diagnosis knocked the wind out of our sails.

The treatment for multiple myeloma has advanced greatly in the past ten years. Doctors are optimistic that at my father’s young age, with this treatment, he has a very good chance at remission. You can help my father access this much-needed treatment and help him battle for his life, by donating and sharing this post with others. It doesn’t matter how small or large, every donation helps. It is with heavy hearts and utmost humility, that our family is reaching out to all of you for your prayers, love, and much needed support.

All donations will go directly to Urs family to assist with uninsured medical expenses, travel and treatment, to allow our family to focus our energy on beating Cancer. Together we can!
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“Patience is not my ability to wait, but my ability to keep a good attitude while I wait.”

Sorry for the delayed post, I was eagerly awaiting the transplant team appointment closer to the 100th day, “An Anniversary of sorts”, but sadly that got postponed to the early March. And as many of you started calling and asking how Ram's progress was, here goes...

Day 88, and unwearyingly awaiting the passing of day 100 post-transplant. While a huge setback was the 2-week delayed stay at the hospital with ITP during transplant, and the next, a 10-day stint at another hospital with infections, we have been extremely fortunate to have had the luxury of being home together since then. Having said that, I would not categorize that as uneventful. Our son ended up having back to back seizures for three days, his caregiving help faltered, putting tremendous pressure on Ram and guilt on me, as it was not easy to get through without any help. I have no words to express what each of us was expecting, but I can say one thing for sure...we have more time together for now, and for that we are eternally grateful, to God, to our doctors and all of you. Ram is experiencing severe bone pain from lesions in his spine and ribs that have not healed, muscle weakness and aches, fatigue due to being anemic. He is on more medications to deal with the pain and anemia, supplements, organic fresh foods and juices. Medication cycles for Ram and Dharam, pharmacy runs, lab runs, blood pressure and temperature checks, home sanitizing, and all else has become a new norm. Ram has been positive, encouraging others through their trials, and an inspiration to Nikita and me. His perseverance and joyful demeanor have been a motivator.

On coming across my post accidentally, a long-lost friend said this to me: “Tu na jaane, aas paas hai khuda!” I don’t feel the same crushing grief I felt at first, the kind that swamped me and made me want to cry in all the wrong places. Trying to live in the moment and praising God in all our circumstances, has helped us all to overcome each day, with a grace beyond anything I can describe. Only God can give us the inner peace that surpasses all understanding. Someone shared a story – many tried climbing this very tall mountain but failed year after year, until one day someone conquered it. He was blind. When asked what the secret of his success was, all he said was that he just focused on one step at a time, till he was there. So simple and uncomplicated!

Coveting your prayers and support the rest of this month as we have a few core appointments coming up, followed by several cycles of aggressive combination chemotherapy. God has been an ever-present help in supplying all of our needs, day by day. He is our Rock in this and every storm. Then as a dear friend pointed me to 1 Peter 4 - one bounces back and glorifies God.

So, we continue fervently to not allow our circumstances to diminish/tarnish our praise and love for God. Life devoid of challenges is not a life worth living. However, we would not want the weak (emotionally and spiritually) to go through what we are, unless they are prepared to be toughened and humbled, as at the end of this journey, is a beautiful version of you. There are many families going through what we are or worse. Know one thing for certain, a positive attitude is half the battle, if you are prepared to be a vessel for God, there is going to be a lot of cleaning, polishing and shaping done before we are close to being ready. But that day will come, where your demeanor reflects Gods love and presence in our lives, not jut in the easy times, but all of the times!

Till we post another update and share prayer requests, be well, stay in the narrow walk of life and let us know how we can pray for you. It will only be our privilege and joy.
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Dear prayer warriors and supporters,

Day 66 post stem cell transplant, and done with the primary care follow up after the hospital stay, and now with the Hematology Oncology visit. Bad news, that the numbers showed few abnormalities, and Ram has been referred to a Rheumatologist. He is also experiencing fatigue due to low red blood cell count , hence Anemia. Deficiency of IGM (antibodies that first fight infection), severe bone pain in his spine and ribs, muscle weakness, low energy, vitamin deficiency, shortness of breath, are all taking residence in his body. After more lab work and the multiple myeloma panel test, the Oncologist has a plan of action. As the disease is aggressive, so is the treatment. Having done with 5 cycles of chemotherapy and the stem cell transplant, post 100 days, he will be followed up with several cycles of combination drug chemotherapy, and also bone strengthening injections, and continued lab work frequently.

The heaviness of sorrow and thoughts of permanence pervaded my very being, chilling my bones. This might be as good as it gets. We could not think beyond today, as God gives us grace sufficient for each day.
"Your strength is found at the end of my road
Your grace it reaches to the hurting
Still through the tears and the questioning why
I will stand my ground where hope can be found! - Lauren Daigle

"Thankfulness lifts you above your circumstances." We were graced by the presence of Nikita, family and friends across oceans and nearby, from the time Ram started the transplant, up until now, and it has been a huge blessing to us. It gave me opportunity to take a breather regarding Ram's and Dharam's care, and also be able to run around with work, pharmacy runs, etc. That has been a hard act to follow, and as that phase is now waning, we are praying that more help is around the corner.

No journey out of challenges is straightforward. There will be many good days and a few tough days. Today was just a tough day, a kink on the road, to be traversed and survived. I probably only held it together, because we serve a Lord that has big plans for each of our lives, building blocks for faith & strength.
" When He tests me, I will come out pure as gold".

Do continue to share the post with others and continue to pray. Thank you immensely for all your support.
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It is with great joy that I wish to share with you, that Ram finally came home from the hospital a couple of days ago. Great joy that he is no longer being massacred by needles, or subject to hospital food and smells, and that I don't have to spread myself thin, driving from place to place. He was tested and treated for a multitude of infections and finally sent home when he was fever free for a little bit.

We are all broken in different ways. It is easier said than done, to look for joy in all our circumstances, no matter how difficult they may be. But joy comes from God and brokenness is part of the world. Hence we can face many trials and still have a lot of joy. Despite the darkness of our circumstances, joy does come each morning.

Like me, you must be wondering about the delay in posting this update despite the good news. It been extremely hectic since Ram came home: trying to keep the house germ free, fresh organic food, pharmacy runs, medications, dealing with severe pain issues still, waking up at nights when he is not too well (coughing) and a host of other things that need to be attended to. "For when I am weak, then I am strong." But we serve a sovereign God and through all these challenges, we see His love and hand in everything, we go through. Faith is always built through trials and nothing is impossible when we have our Lord beside us.

Day 57 today and we are eagerly counting down days to day 100, and hoping that the next 43 days go without incidence. It's a hard truth to hear that God may not fix everything that is broken in our lives. How do we make it through each day, despite our circumstances? We are all still knee deep in it and likely will be for a long time to come. Each of us at home is struggling to get used to the new "Normal", and hoping others will see in us, how God is working in and through our lives. We know the future holds uncertainty, medically speaking and more cycles of aggressive Chemotherapy after February, likely more transplants and hopeful for that cure in the horizon! More opportunities for us to rely on Him to work in and through us, His instruments!

I need to redirect my mind to use this difficult period as an opportunity to display the fruits of His grace and thank God that I have been blessed with the opportunity to serve my family more than most others. "The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome. The hilltop hour would not be half so wonderful if there were no dark valleys to traverse." Hellen Keller.

Trusting that each one of you is celebrating your family members and friends, and each day we are blessed with, this New Year.
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Day: 51-52 post Stem Cell Transplant

He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Isaiah 40:29

Ram has been in the hospital for the last five days again. Very disheartened but not defeated. We were truly hoping he will be home from the hospital by now. Each day he tells everyone, I should be going home today, but each day he ends up having to resign himself to staying longer. It has been a very rough few days, extremely difficult on all of us, and I'm sure Ram has the doctors baffled as well. Having been treated by three sets of antibiotics, labs drawn for cultures and tests several times a day (how much blood is there in a human body? Really?), repeated x rays almost daily, he is being treated for Pneumonia, Bacterial Infection in blood stream and the temperature is constantly fluctuating. The Oncologists and doctors are not comfortable sending him home in his present condition, with temperature spiking up to 102.9 despite multiple antibiotics post stem cell transplant. We were fortunate to take Dharam up to visit him at the hospital for a little while, and that sure lifted his spirits. We are praying for a miracle here, and we know He is able!

Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Our sincere thanks to the friends who have been visiting to encourage him and sending cards and bringing meals. And to the family and friends that came across many miles to lend us a hand and help out with Dharam’s care and Ram during these tough times. And those that have stood by me and Nikita, for emotional support.

“They say it only takes a little faith, to move a mountain, well good thing, A little faith is all I have, right now. But God, when You choose, to leave mountains unmovable, oh give me the strength to be able to sing, it is well with my soul” - Mercy Me!

As the New Year has turned the corner, Ram, Dharam, Nikita & Gracie (our service dog), join me in wishing you and your families the very best, always! Just know and believe, that God has plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future, just as He has for us. Thank you, sweet friends, from the depth of our hearts. Happy 2018!
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