Small Steps Forward

Jennifer is more and more alert each day. Her radiation treatments will be finished on Wednesday. Dr. Bloom wants her to stay inpatient until then, to make sure she is ok and there is not too much swelling. Each radiation treatment can cause swelling, she already is battling extreme swelling. The seizure in the ER was because of the current swelling she has, so there is a danger in adding new radiation treatments. We will have to wait, pray, and hope for the best.

Jennifer is getting really antsy about leaving the hospital, so knowing that she will have to wait till Wednesday makes things difficult for her. I am trying to build a lot of support for her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, by sharing her story. I am hoping building this support for her will help her with the motivation, courage, and strength she needs to push through these few days and make it home to her kids!

 

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GoFundMe.com/JennifersCancerFight

http://www.gofundme.com/JennifersCancerFight

I have started a new gofundme for Jennifer. No matter what happens at this point, we are already seeing the hard road ahead of us. She will have so many things she needs now. We are going to try and do everything we can for Jennifer to not have to go to a nursing facility. We want to bring her home, as fast as we can. We need to have a medical bed at home, plus a long list of personal items, walker, wheelchair, cane etc.

The largest tumor is sitting right over top the part of the brain that controls the movement of the left side of her body. Every time she has gotten sick the left side of her body gets extremely weak. I know when she wakes up she is going to have little to no muscle control on the left side of her body.

Please help by donating, and sharing her story around social media!

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Back to the ER

We are back in the ER. Over the weekend jen was fighting extreme fatigue, exhaustion, and “chemobrain” like symptoms. Thing have progressively gotten worse. We were trying to get her an MRI at St. Anthony’s but she was throwing up constantly, unable to carry her own weight, and lethargic. We stole the wheelchair and trash can from the MRI center at the professional building connected to St Anthony’s, we rolled right over to the ER. Not sure what this random mix of symptoms means at the moment.

Yesterday we went to see Dr. Diaz. After going through the symptoms he believed her thyroid may not be working properly and that may be what all of these random symptoms are caused from. This is really disappointing for everyone. We had many months of positive updates and recovery.

Next Big Project !!!

Since Jennifer’s diagnosis, she has become very passionate about raising awareness for cancer’s that don’t get as much attention as breast cancer. All women know about breast cancer self exams and the importance of mammograms but not everyone knows the warning signs of melanoma or brain cancer.

As the days and weeks have gone on, Jennifer and I have had time to think about what we could do, how her story, her struggle, and the lessons our family is learning could be used in a way to help others. We are currently working on starting an awareness group that focuses on all forms of cancer, and the metastatic dangers.

A diagnosis of cancer is a life changing experience for anyone. When a cancer patient is told their cancer has metastasized, the news is devastating. The flood of emotions and fear become overwhelming for the patient and their loved ones. We have learned this first hand. Jennifer and I are dedicated to building an awareness groups that 1. focuses on giving hope to cancer patients who are fighting the battle of metastasized cancer 2. education the general public about the warning signs of all cancers, and 3. offering the tools, information, and resource our family has collected during our journey in battling cancer. We are hoping to be able to specific reach out to cancer patients with limited financial means. The struggle to beat cancer is hard enough, when money is also a problem the fear and hopelessness only grows.

This project is in its early stages and there is more information to come!

Last full brain radiation treatment

Today is Jennifer’s last full brain radiation treatment. At this point, she can not have any more full brain treatments. 10 is the max, anything higher than 10 can cause brain damage. So, now we have to wait for 3 weeks for her next MRI. The 3 week waiting period is given because the brain may need up to three weeks to fully shrink the lesions.

In the meantime, she is seeing Dr. Diaz. He is in charge of trying to correct and remove the melanoma cancer, in her breast. Dr. Diaz is starting her on a pill form of chemotherapy and a newly approved medication that will specifically target the mutated gene that has been the culprit behind the cancer she now has. Knowing this mutated gene is the cause of the cancers has given us hope because there is a way to try and stop it. We are not sure how these two medications will affect Jennifer on a daily basis. For now, we know that the next three weeks are a waiting game, and a new step in this process.

The cost of medication, treatments, and home healthcare are beginning to worry all of us. I have made a promise to Jennifer, she will not suffer or lose this battle because she does not have money to pay for any form of treatment, whether that is pill form or anything else.

Please keep Jennifer in your prayers. She needs them!

T-Shirt Fundraiser

T-Shirt Fundraiser!

Help support Jennifer’s Cancer Treatment Fund!

Buy yours today!

https://www.bonfirefunds.com/jennifers-warriors 

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Unisex 20.00

Ladies 20.00

Long Sleeve 25.00

Sweatshirt 40.00

 

We will be having many more T-shirt fundraisers in the future, different styles and colors!

Contact Michelle 727-623-8890 for more information!

Back to the hospital

Treatment number 5 was this morning. Around 2pm, a headache started and progressively got worse to the point of excruciating pain. The light sensitivity was so bad the only way to relieve the pain was with a dark towel over her eyes. Ice seemed to help the headaches a little. We made a ice hat for her head. The headache was coming in waves and simultaneously shooting pain down her arms. She became very confused and at one point could not decipher her daughter Natalie from Michelle. At that point, we decided it would be best to take her back to St. Anthony’s ER.

A new CAT Scan was done and waiting for the results was an eternity. We were very worried this new CAT Scan would should something worse. Every test result we received prior this this one was always worse than the last. So we felt the odds were against us in everything. Luckily, this scan showed no new damage or brain bleed. This result was the best we could hope for! So, the headache has to have been a reaction to the radiation, hormonal changes or something along that line.

We are hoping she can stay in the hospital until her Monday treatment. That way we can see how her body reacts to treatment #6. We are more prepared now and we understand the extreme importance in having pain medication on hand and ready for any side effect pain she may experience.

The worst part of all is the fear of the unknown. Of course, it is a worse fear for Jennifer but it is weighting on all of us.

First Day of School

Jennifer got out of the hospital today and has moved into my dad’s house with me! We have had so much help with getting the girls ready for school tomorrow, if it wasn’t for Jessica Poppell and Brittany Sorrick we couldn’t have gotten everything done! After all this, all Natalie wanted was her hair french braided for her first day. Of course I have no french braiding skills so Brittany worked it out and she looks super cute!

Jennifer has been praying so hard she could be out of the hospital in time to see her kids off to school on the first day! Well, God worked that out for her and she will be able to see them off to school! Jennifer and Natalie both have been so strong and so wonderful through all this, I am so thankful the simple little things they both wanted worked out.

We have a long road but the support from this page, the support and prayer on facebook and all of our friends and family are making this struggle a little easier on all of us!

 

Diagnosis

Jennifer first found a spot of Melanoma on her lower back in 2007. Tom noticed a mole that looked like it was getting large and odd shaped. She made an appoint with her doctor and they determined it was melanoma and needed to be removed. We were all nervous then but it was a simple procedure and removed quickly. The second time, she found a spot on her shoulder. Again, it was quickly found and removed. At the time, we did not think this would become a long term issue. We felt blessed and so thankful that we found these two spots and quickly had them removed.

This time has been different. This time there wasn’t a skin melanoma spot that we could quickly find and remove. This time, Jennifer felt a bump in her breast. We were not sure how long it had been there before it became large enough to notice. She had just had a baby, a short 6 months earlier. She focus was completely on the baby. She made an appointment with her doctor. It took almost a month to see the doctor. The doctor quickly determined a mammogram, ultrasound, and biopsy was needed. We all had to wait two painstaking weeks for the test to be done and results to come back. On Friday, July 29th, Jennifer received a call saying the bump was benign. We were all so happy, we decided it was the best birthday gift our mother, Sharon, could have ever received. That following Tuesday, at a follow up appointment with the doctor. Jennifer was told that no it was not benign, it was malignant and he was not sure why she was told otherwise. Our world was changed from that moment on.

As fate would have it, that day, about an hour after receiving the news, Jennifer began to feel numbness in her left arm and leg. She became very lightheaded and dizzy. We brought her to the ER thinking maybe she was going into some kind of shock, because of the news. The ER doctor quickly determined she was not having a stroke and admitted her because the location of the previous biopsy looked infected and sore. When he was admitted tests showed she had cellulitis in the skin around the biopsy spot. The following day she had a MRI, CAT Scan and CT scan. The doctor was worried the cancer may have spread, because the cancer in her breast was large.

After all the results came back, we received the news that would change our family forever. There are very few moments in life when you know your entire existence has forever been altered. Before receiving the test results we were very confused on how melanoma could only show under the skin. There wasn’t a skin cancer spot, like every other time. We couldn’t understand how melanoma could happen in the breast. Dr. Jones came in the room and told Jennifer the cancer has spread to her brain. Mom was on speaker phone so she could talk to Jennifer and the doctor, each time the doctor came in. I thank God every day I was sitting with Jennifer the moment she realized how serious this is. All she could do is cry, ask me what she did to deserve this and repeat over and over how she did not want to die. There was nothing I could do, besides hold her, cry with her, tell her she did nothing to deserve this and we WILL fight this together.

Since that time, all over lives are different. Jennifer is in the fight of her life. I have declined my offer to go to Jerusalem for a year. My dads house now has 7 people live there. My mom has become the spiritual adviser for the entire family, or as I like to call it “tribe.”

A few days after the diagnosis of metastasized melanoma that has spread to the brain, Jennifer began radiation treatment. After 10 treatment the doctors will determine if targeted radiation or chemo is the appropriate next step. 13924875_1216070821746083_1918320945108808144_n