Deanna's Cancer Trtmnt Med Bills

$4,645 of $6,120 goal

Raised by 21 people in 21 months
Alec Haapala  EMBARRASS, MN
This is Deanna.

In April 2015, Deanna was diagnosed with a malignant urethral melanoma . She is midway through her chemo treatments and doing well, though she has her good days as well as her bad days. However, she cannot work more than one or two days a month and I am limited on my second job to about four shifts per month. Needless to say, with cancer surgeries, pet scans, chemo and radiation treatment at the Mayo Clinic and now Essentia Health, the medical bills and travel expenses are piling up. We do have insurance, so it is not devastating, but it will take a couple of years to get them all paid off.

I originally started this campaign to purchase a new adjustable bed for her, but a generous friend has offered to cover the cost of the bed, so that need is met. Glory to God. So I am repurposing the campaign to help defray the cost of the medical bills. Any amount you can gift her would be appreciated. 

I would also like to thank all those that have supported Deanna by giving her rides to chemo treatments, have made food for us, sent cards and letters and called. Your physical and prayer support is appreciated and vital to her beating this cancer.

                                                        - Alec
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Update 8
Posted by Alec Haapala
13 months ago
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Has it been five months since the last update? Wow! Those of you who follow Deanna on Facebook are up to date. For those who do not, here is the latest.

We last left Deanna recovering from her sixth and final round of chemo with radiation treatments still in the future. We went back down to the Mayo Clinic in November and stayed until Christmas Eve. While there, Deanna was treated to 25 fun filled rounds of focused radiation treatments. She handled them pretty well considering how tired the treatments can make you feel. The radiation oncologist told us to expect some pretty severe side effects in the area being treated, but by God's grace and a daily whirlpool treatment, the side effects did not get too bad. It was after we came home that the real challenge began. Radiation treatments cause the skin to breakdown and slough off; as if you had severe sunburn (except worse). Left without proper treatment, infection can set in and cause all sorts of problems. Following the directions of the radiation oncologist and her staff, we were able to treat the affected areas and everything on the outside healed up nicely within a few weeks.

We returned to Mayo in February for a follow-up PET scan and exam. NO LIGHTS!! No indication of any remaining cancer, either by machine scan or physical exam. We are so grateful to God and to all of you for your prayers and encouragement. We will do another follow-up scan in May and probably every three months after that for the first year.

The after effects of the chemo/radiation treatments are still being felt, though. She still exhausts easily and her lymph system has forgotten how to do it's job. She is in PT and OT a couple of time a week to work on getting her strength back and to get the lymph system working properly. Slowly but surely, she is seeing improvement. But it is frustratingly slow. So please keep her mentioning her before the throne in your daily prayers.

While at the Mayo, one of the technicians was leading Deanna to the weight scale. Another patient was getting on the scale at the same time. He deferred to her, but she insisted that he go first. He was weighed, and then she went on. Afterward I asked her, "Do you know who that was? Senator Norm Coleman. You can tell him, "At least someone conceded a race to you."

I would especially like to thank our friends Lisa and Tom Jackson, who graciously opened their home to us for the first part of our extended stay in Rochester. Also, to the Philoxenia House of Sts. Kosmas and Damien Greek Orthodox Church. We were able to stay in a private home by ourselves for most of our time there. We had a full kitchen and bath, living room and two bedrooms, with laundry in the basement. All that and only a few steps from the Church. Callie and Luciana and all the parishioners of Sts. Kosmas and Damien, thank you. We can never adequately repay you for the great blessing you were to us, and to all those in need who are visiting the Mayo Clinic.
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Update 7
Posted by Alec Haapala
19 months ago
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Just to bring you all up to date and thank you again for all the supportive cards, calls, meals, and prayers. The last and final round of chemo is done. Round 6 is over, but the after effects are still with us. The effects of chemo treatment are cumulative, with body getting weaker after each round. This past Sunday she felt too weak to go to Church, which is saying something as she has not missed a Sunday through this entire ordeal. The 5th round was delayed by two weeks, and the 6th by one week due to low platelette counts. To add to the misery, a blood clot developed in Deanna's left leg so she is on blood thinners for a while. Her next appointment at the Mayo Clinic is in December. She will have another PET scan and meet with the Radiation Oncologist to go over the plan for the next phase of treatment. Wouldn't it be wonderful if they said, "No sign of cancer so no radiation needed"?

Unfortunately, urethral mucosal melanoma is so rare (.02% of all cancers and .04% of melanomas) that there really are no established protocols for treatment. The best they can say is "this, rather than that, has given better results." Radiation treatments are one of the things that has given better results.
We pray that the PET scan shows "no lights", which would mean no active tumors, and that she will not have bad side effects from the radiation treatments.

The new bed has been wonderful (thanks again Jim and Katie) allowing Deanna to rest more comfortably. (Please keep Jim's wife Katie in your prayers, she is battling a recurrance of ovarian cancer).

May the Lord Jesus Christ richly bless all of you and yours with grace, mercy, and peace in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

Thanks again. -- Alec
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Update 6
Posted by Alec Haapala
20 months ago
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I thought I would update everyone on how things are going. Deann's new bed arrived a couple of weeks ago and it is wonderful. No more having the mattress slide to one side or the other; no more taping the controls together to get them to work. Thank you again, Jim and Katie.

Chemo treatment #5 has been delayed twice now due to low blood counts. The next round will be done in Hibbing, as there are no openings in Virginia. This is somewhat frustrating as it delays the end of the treatments. We are grateful that the medical staff is not willing to put Deanna's health at risk by giving chemo when her body is too weak to handle it. Our prayer is that her blood platelets will recover enough by next week to continue the treatments. It is a balancing act between losing the effectiveness of the chemo by delaying it too long and giving enough time for recovery between sessions. Thank you all for your continued kindness and prayer support.

- Alec
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Update 5
Posted by Alec Haapala
21 months ago
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Chemo treatment round 4 has begun. One thing they don't tell you when beginning treatment is the effect of the steroids on your appetite. Wow! You can eat the house down and still be hungry. Thankfully, this passes after a few days, but during this time you must be very careful with what is available to eat. Good, healthy, low carb foods.
Amazingly, and despite the doctor's prediction, Deanna's hair remains in place, which is a blessing.
A great book to read is called "I'd Rather Do Chemo Than Clean Out the Garage". Hillarious. Written by a woman who has had 18 surgeries and has been on chemo treatment since 1998. Laughter truly is the best medicine.
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$4,645 of $6,120 goal

Raised by 21 people in 21 months
Created July 14, 2015
CB
$300
Christopher Benham
13 months ago

Your friend Nina McDonald said you needed support. I hope this helps.

$50
Anonymous
13 months ago
$100
Clay and Sandy Haapala
16 months ago

Merry Christmas!

$50
Anonymous
18 months ago
$20
Anonymous
19 months ago
DM
$50
Darlene Majkich
21 months ago

Have mercy on Deanna, O Lord, according to your great mercy, I pray to You, hear me and have mercy. Amen

BH
$25
B J Hartfield
21 months ago

Prayers too.

LR
$25
Laurie Rasmussen
21 months ago

We are praying for you And your family. God bless you much.

CH
$100
Clay and Sandy Haapala
21 months ago
$1,000
David Naranjo
21 months ago

With all Best Wishes and Love!

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