I’m writing this in a moment of complete desperation and also with hope that things will come together. A week after celebrating our 1 year anniversary, my husband was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) at just 25 years old. He had just finished a six month training program for his company and had worked only five days in his new official position.
Tom had been feeling really tired, dizzy, weak, and not himself. He had been travelling for work, working on his final presentation, we had been house hunting to buy our first home, and there was so much going on that we just thought it was normal. After a few weeks of this continuing, I made him go to the doctor who told us while it was unusual side effects for mono perhaps that was it. He took some blood work just in case and wrote Tom off of work for a couple of days. Two days later, Tom received a phone call from the doctor instructing him to get to the emergency room straight away as his blood levels were beyond frightening.
I was on my way to orientation for a new job when Tom called me and said he needed to go to the hospital. After five minutes of trying to figure out if this was a joke, I turned around. Within two days we had the confirmation that he had Leukemia, July 25th 2012. Our entire world that seemed to finally be going somewhere with careers and a house… came to the biggest halt, word’s fail me to describe that moment. The worst feeling to come, when I had to call his parents to confirm the suspected horrible news. Little did we know what was ahead of us.
In short, the beginning looked promising. The oncologist we were assigned felt highly confident in treating Tom, said he might be back at work, cancer free in February. What actually occurred was that he couldn’t get Tom into remission. Poor Tom did five rounds of very intense chemo, that also brought along various life threatening infections such as e. coli in the blood stream, chemical meningitis, VRE, and various neutropenic fevers. November 5th, we received the news that Tom was still not in remission (when it was expected that the first round would achieve this and he’d done five). It felt like we would never get there. November 7th we were sent a different hospital where we met Dr. Carroll to talk about a bone marrow transplant, which can only be done once remission has been achieved.
Dr. Carroll achieved remission with a different chemo regimen the first time around. This was the best feeling ever. I’ll spare all of the in between details, but we’re happy to announce that after a few months, they found a bone marrow match for a donor and the date has been made for March 22nd. The hospital has asked us to move closer, which we are doing for ease and Tom’s safety after the transplant. Here’s the kicker.
Because Tom had only begun his job in January (after graduating top in his class at CSU, Chico for the business college), he has now officially exhausted his state disability funds. This was our main source of income, as I’ve been actually on a leave of absence for carpel tunnel so my worker’s comp checks (which were merely a fraction of Tom’s) are gone very soon. In order for Tom to receive a transplant, he must have a 24/7 primary caregiver as well as backup caregivers just in case. This means I cannot go back to work until he is stable enough to be on his own and we don’t know when that will be. It could be a couple of months, could be six months, and if (God forbid) things just really don’t pan out well it could be a year, etc.
We do not qualify for cash aid through the state and not being eligible to work immediately he does not qualify for unemployment. Due to only working six months after just graduating from college, he doesn’t qualify for social security disability, and due to being a permanent resident (not a citizen) he also isn’t allowed to draw on social security supplemental income. We have virtually exhausted our options. Seemingly we’ve found the only niche that no agency/organization can help. We do qualify for food stamps, but we need help to pay rent, gas to the hospital, electricity, etc.
This is really long and I do apologize about that, but we’re in need of some sincere help. At 24 and now 26, we have no savings, no retirement to pull from, we have no house to sell, nothing. It pains me to have to be at this point when only less than a year ago we were on top of the world, but we’re asking for the help of family, friends, strangers, anyone and everyone. If you could please help us out and pass this on, that would mean the world to us. Thank you, thank you, thank you… for helping to save my husband’s life.
To donate simply visit www.paypal.com
-choose transfer, click on “send someone money”
-it will bring you to a page where you enter your email address and then mine: firstname.lastname@example.org and enter your donation amount. Should be easy. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!
If you are interested in all of the details of our journey thus far or would like to follow Tom’s story through his bone marrow transplant, you can follow us here!
Day after our wedding July 2011
The handsome devil at our wedding July 16, 2011
Our visit with Kris December 2012
First stay at Sutter General, wearing his "Decimate Leukemia" shirt designed by his brother Oliver
Fun photo from our honeymoon in Wales